Monash University alumni win prestigious Walkley Awards

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ABC team Jesse Cox Rachael Brown and Jeremy Story Carter

Monash University alumni have again proven their impact on Australian journalism after News Corp’s Annika Smethurst and ABC digital producer Jeremy Story Carter won prestigious Walkley Awards.

Annika, who is News Corp’s national political editor (Sunday newspapers) claimed her second Walkley Scoop of the Year for her revelations on former health minister Sussan Ley’s travel expenses.

Annika made her mark in the national press gallery in 2015 after her forensic trawl of MP’s expense claims led her to Speaker of the House of Representatives Bronwyn Bishop’s charter flight to Geelong for a Liberal Party charity fundraiser. 

The story, which ultimately led to the downfall of the Abbott government, landed her the 2015 Walkley Scoop of the Year. 

Annika, who graduated from Monash’s journalism program with honours in 2010, said she was thrilled to win her second Walkley Scoop of the Year as it was “completely unexpected”.

“I thought it was a really tough field as the other finalists Josh, Rich and Ben from The Age and blogger William Summers broke cracking yarns in the past year,” Annika said.

“I am extremely lucky to have supportive editors and colleagues at News Corp that have given me the opportunity to chase these yarns.”

Jeremy’s ABC team entry, Trace, won the Innovation Walkley category after it was shortlisted for three Walkley categories – the other two being Investigative Journalism and Radio/Audio feature.

Jeremy, who graduated from Monash’s journalism program after the 2010 academic year, worked closely with ABC presenter and investigative reporter Rachael Brown. Executive producer Jesse Cox also contributed significantly to the project.

“It’s a great thrill. I was proud to work on Trace and for it to receive a Walkley for Innovation was a brilliant conclusion to what’s been a great project to be involved with,” Jeremy said. 

“There were so many inspiring journalists and remarkable pieces of work nominated, so it was pretty humbling to even have your name mentioned in that mix.” 

Jeremy said Trace involved a lot of hard work from the ABC team, but working with someone like Rachael Brown was a “real privilege”. 

“As much as I believe Trace was innovative in the way we approached story gathering and telling across different platforms, I also think it’s the sort of thing we at the ABC should be doing more of, more often,” Jeremy said.

“Hopefully it serves as some sort of template for other projects going forward.”

The Guardian journalist and Monash alumna Calla Wahlquist was a finalist in the Walkley category, Indigenous Affairs, for her in-depth stories about the deaths of Indigenous Australians Elijah Doughty, Ms Dhu and Jayden Bennell.