28th Quill Awards for Excellence in Victorian Journalism 2022: All the winners

Winners of Gold Quill, Scoop of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Podcasting, Radio and more

The Quill Awards is the annual celebration of excellence in Victorian journalism. This year featured a record number of entries across 31 categories, reflecting the breadth, depth and excellence of the state’s journalism during 2022.

Gold Quill Awards winner

Bridget Brennan, Brooke Fryer, Suzanne Dredge and Stephanie Zillman, Four Corners, ABC News for “How Many More?”

A moving, deeply researched and compelling story about the femicide crisis among First Nations women has won the prestigious Gold Quill at the Melbourne Press Club’s 28th Quill awards.
Gold Quill judges praised the ABC Four Corners and ABC News reportage from Bridget Brennan, Brooke Fryer, Suzanne Dredge and Stephanie Zillman for its depth of research and sensitive storytelling.
Judges highlighted how the reporting led to a national conversation and changes in the way domestic violence prevention and treatment is handled.
The program, entitled “How many more?’’ also won the Quill for Excellence in Indigenous Affairs Reporting, sponsored by the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owners Corporations.
At the centre of the story was extensive research which put names and faces to hundreds of women who have either gone missing, been murdered or killed in suspicious circumstances since 2000.

Quill Awards Gold Quill: Four Corners, ABC News

Citation: The judges were deeply moved and impressed by the depth of research, access to strong Aboriginal women and sensitivity of the story telling about a troubling crisis of our time.
“How Many More?’’ placed the horrific reality of femicide being experienced by Aboriginal women into the national spotlight by putting faces to the names of more than 300 women who have gone missing, been murdered or killed since 2000.
The meticulous research, months of interviews and powerful storytelling led to a national conversation and changes in the way domestic violence prevention and treatment is handled.

Other Quill Awards winners and judges comments

The MPC Lifetime Achievement Award

Jon Faine AM, former ABC Melbourne radio broadcaster.
For decades-long career spent setting the daily news agenda, holding the powerful to account and telling our stories.

Jon Faine

MPC Student Journalist of The Year

Thomas Monaghan, RMIT University
Thomas has produced a fresh, highly original news feature looking into the lives of gay males in the adult entertainment world.
The piece is underpinned by strong research and storytelling, free of judgement, putting those interviewed front-and-centre of the narrative, and exploring why some young male Australian sex workers have decided to freelance as online content creators – walking away from studios and distributors.

Thomas Monaghan

Young Journalist of The Year sponsored by the Wilnic Family Trust

Sarah Booth, Herald Sun
Sarah submitted a high-quality body of work, showing she consistently breaks big stories that set the agenda in health reporting. Gaining the trust of the trauma surgeon who saved the Premier’s life to discuss the parlous state of the Alfred Hospital’s funding was just one story, along with an interview with a victim of the White Island volcano blast. Overall, Sarah’s work amounted to an impressive portfolio for a young journalist.

Highly commended: Grace Baldwin, Herald Sun

Quill Awards: Artwork

Matthew Davidson, The Age, “Jack’s Story”
The Quill Awards judges were impressed by Matt Davidson’s sensitive and careful approach to a young gay male sexual assault story. With its relaxed illustrative style and subtle use of colour, the work dealt with this complex issue in the form of an online, scrollable graphic novel, pitched directly to its younger audience. The overwhelming response to Jack’s Story proves that there are new ways to tell stories, and engage new audiences to read them.

Highly commended: Richard Giliberto, The Age, “Stormy Weather’’

Best Breaking News or Live Coverage

Nine News Melbourne, Nine News Melbourne, “Maribyrnong Flood Special Coverage”
All media outlets did a good job conveying the scale of the floods that deluged parts of Victoria and Melbourne’s Maribyrnong River in October, but one newsroom stood out – the Nine News Melbourne coverage was comprehensive and captured the drama of the flooding as it unfolded. Across 14 hours the Nine team delivered images, maps, graphics and compelling information from reporters on the spot in Maribyrnong, Rochester, Seymour and Wycheproof. This was journalism with impact, immediacy, initiative and high engagement for the audience.

Highly commended: Sarah Jane Bell, Ethan St Ellen and Roland Pagels, Sunrise, 7NEWS, “Maribyrnong Floods’’

Business News/Feature, sponsored by McGrathNicol

Adele Ferguson and Chris Gillett, The Age and 7.30, “Medicare: A Basket Case”
The story and its revelations about fraud, systemic billing errors and over-servicing led to multiple investigations into the governance that sits at the heart of the nation’s healthcare system. Importantly the story package has started a national debate into how the healthcare system operates. And this is something that all good journalism should aspire to. The story made a complex topic accessible to a broad audience by delivering a highly engaging and creative piece of visual journalism built on strong and incisive storytelling.

Highly commended: Jarni Blakkarly, CHOICE, “Facial recognition in retail investigation”


Matt Golding, The Age, “Indigenous Voice to Parliament”
Matt Golding’s cartoon was not only timely following Prime Minister’s Anthony Albanese’s announcement about the Voice to Parliament referendum but also sensitively summed up the challenge of the task ahead. In doing so, Matt communicated the deep history of the struggle of First Nations’ peoples for recognition, with a strong graphic composition that used the colours of the Indigenous flag and sensitively captured the likeness of politicians Linda Burney and Patrick Dodson engaged in what Golding characterises as a Sisyphean task. A cartoon for our times.

Highly commended: Andrew Dyson, The Age, “Off-leash Area’’

Best Coverage of an Issue

Anthony Dowsley, Herald Sun, “The Verdict”
Anthony Dowsley’s 10-year investigation into the conviction of Jason Roberts for the 1998 Silk-Miller police murders led to the Court of Appeal quashing the guilty verdict and ordering a retrial. Roberts was acquitted at that retrial and freed after 22 years in jail. Dowsley’s discovery of a police statement that was hidden from the original trial exposed potential police corruption and was crucial in convincing the second jury to acquit Roberts. IBAC initially dismissed the statement as a ruse, but further Dowsley articles prompted IBAC to backflip. Dowsley’s coverage has also prompted a probe into the original police investigation and alleged corruption by some Silk-Miller task force detectives.

Highly commended: Adele Ferguson and Chris Gillett, The Age and 7.30, “Medicare Exposed’’ and Anthony Galloway, Michelle Griffin and Kate Geraghty, The Age, “The Invasion of Ukraine’’

Reporting on Disability Issues, sponsored by the Victorian Government

Ruby Jones, Georgia Cranko, Elle Marsh, and Erik Jensen, 7am, “The killing of Ann Marie Smith”
This is a powerful work of journalism exploring the horrendous, systemic disability care failures that led to the extraordinary neglect and subsequent death of Ann Marie Smith.
The 7am Podcast drew on the reporting of Georgia Cranko – who lives with cerebral palsy, the same condition as Ann Marie Smith – to take listeners into the emotional reality of the story and the treatment of disabled people more broadly.
It’s a meaningful and insightful piece of storytelling, that centred on an experience rarely heard from in journalism – especially audio journalism.

Highly commended: Claudia Forsberg, ABC Victoria and ABC Ballarat, “Accessible Taxis Reportage’’ and Jewel Topsfield, The Age, “The autism advantage – why businesses are hiring autistic people’’

Quill Awards winners

Quill Awards Keith Dunstan Quill for Commentary

Sean Kelly, The Age, “Endings and beginnings”
First-class writing on topics that matter, Sean Kelly’s columns are reflective and persuasive. In this primary example he used an event saturating the media at the time – the death of the Queen – in an original way to hold a mirror to society and ask us to consider the way we live. He mounted a nuanced argument using respectful yet sharp commentary. His work is moving, intelligent and heartfelt.

Highly commended: Jonathan Horn, Guardian Australia “Commentary on Sporting Controversies’’ and Peter Martin, The Conversation Australia, “Why unemployment is set to stay below 5% for years to come’’

Feature Writing

Erin Somerville (she/her), ABC News, “Raising Giants”
This is an important and superbly presented story about the dangerous work of collecting seeds of Victoria’s ash forests which have been – and could be again – devastated by bushfires. Erin investigated the critical work that tries to ensure the survival of these forest giants and the threat fires posed to our native ecosystems. Her well-written story on this under-scrutinised subject – at a time when climate change and natural disasters and their impact are much discussed – was fresh and well-executed.

Highly commended: Miki Perkins, Good Weekend magazine, “The Torres Strait Islander elders lawyering up to stop their homes from sinking’’ and Cameron Stewart, Weekend Australian magazine, “Bad Betty’’

Innovation in Journalism, sponsored by Ryman Healthcare

Jewel Topsfield, Matt Davidson, Sophie Aubrey, Margaret Gordon, The Age: “Jack’s Story’’
The story is compelling and authentic, told in a way that is innovative while remaining respectful. It is also the result of teamwork that combines experience and freshness, resulting in an output that enhances the accessibility of the story to those who might not have listened to the previous iteration of it.

Highly commended: The Visual Stories Team, The Age, “Anatomy of the Lismore disaster’’

Grant Hattam Quill for Investigative Journalism, sponsored by HWT

Stephanie Convery, Emma Kemp, and Melissa Davey, Guardian Australia, “The gaping hole in sport’s concussion policies”
This was exemplary investigative journalism. When the AFL announced that a prominent concussion expert had stepped down over plagiarism claims three journalists from the Guardian started to dig. The result was a consequential story that helped to trigger further inquiries and an apology from the AFL to players impacted by his research.

Highly commended: Josie Taylor and Matilda Marozzi, ABC News, “Victoria Police officers weaponizing database to target women’’

Excellence in Indigenous Affairs Reporting, sponsored by the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owners Corporations

Bridget Brennan, Brooke Fryer, Suzanne Dredge, and Stephanie Zillman, Four Corners, ABC News, “How Many More?”
“How Many More?’’ is unapologetic in its presentation of the horrific reality of femicide being experienced by First Nations women in Australia.
The Four Corners team utilised high impact production to tell harrowing stories, made all the more powerful by Aboriginal women telling those stories about their own communities.
The team undertook an extraordinary amount of research to name and put faces to hundreds of women who have either gone missing, been murdered or killed in suspicious circumstances since 2000.
Of particular note is the cultural care afforded the production of “How Many More?’’ It is journalism of this calibre that can bring about change so often called for, but so rarely realised.

Highly commended: Louise Milligan, Naomi Selvaratnam and Lauren Day, Four Corners, “Heart Failure”

Multicultural Affairs and Media, in partnership with Gandel Foundation

Achol Arok and Daniel Ziffer, ABC News, “So-called ‘African gangs’ dominated headlines at the last Victorian election, and trust issues remain”
This report stood out for its depth, seamlessly combining cultural knowledge with political nous. Achol Arok – in her third report for ABC news – collaborated with Daniel Ziffer to skilfully unpack the damaging consequences of one of the more controversial political narratives of our times. Importantly, their thoughtful reporting ensured that empowered, diverse Australian voices from multicultural communities could be centred in mainstream media in the weeks leading up to the 2022 Victorian election.

Highly commended: Noor M Ramazan and Christopher Hopkins, Guardian Australia, “Now my children can grow up in peace”

News Photograph

Darren Howe, Bendigo Advertiser, “Angels On My Shoulders”
When floods impacted Victoria, photographer Darren Howe found himself the only media covering a potential disaster outside of Bendigo where overnight campers had become trapped by raging floodwaters. Battling rain, and water spray from the rescue chopper that constantly wet his lens, Darren managed to capture the key moment in the rescue, with the camper abandoning his inundated 4WD, beside a turbulent river. It was a great exclusive set of news pictures.

Highly commended: Jason Edwards, Herald Sun, “The Bulldozer’’ and Darrian Traynor, Getty Images, “A dark day’’

News Report in Writing

Paul Sakkal, The Age

Operation Daintree: Daniel Andrews under direct investigation in new IBAC probe
The Age’s exclusive report revealed for the first time the extraordinary fact that premier Daniel Andrews had been personally investigated in a secret anti-corruption commission probe over grants to a Labor-linked union. The story was of high public interest and was published in the weeks before the state election in the face of intense legal and political pressure from the government and IBAC. The Age fought and lost a Supreme Court case over publishing the contents of a draft report, but Paul built the story nonetheless based on detailed and careful reporting of facts obtained outside the report. The judges commended Paul for his determination in the face of significant obstacles to bring a story of clear public interest to light as voters were going to the polls.

Highly commended: Aisha Dow and Nick McKenzie, The Age, “Triple-0 scandal: wasted time, wasted lives’’ and Chris Vedelago and James Dowling, The Age, “Coles, Woolworths recycling scheme collapses after secret stockpiles revealed’’


Richard Baker, Kate Cole-Adams, Julia Carr-Catzel and, Kyle Hopkins, The Age, “The Confession”
Gripping and compelling – the kind of podcast that entertains, enlightens and provokes the listener to question, as the journalist did, how this situation could have happened within the Victorian justice system. This podcast is a demonstration of choosing the right medium to tell a story: much of the audio content was obtained using traditional investigative journalism techniques and contacts. The interviews were descriptive and provocative – supported by creative audio production woven into an exceptional narrative. The creators went to admirable lengths to bring the material to life in the most appropriate setting possible to maximise audience engagement.

Highly commended: Jewel Topsfield, Sophie Aubrey and Margaret Gordon, The Age, “Enough’’

Radio Current Affairs

Amy Bainbridge, Loretta Florance, and Kirstie Wellauer, ABC AM, “Sorry Business”
This expose from the ABC’s Consumer Affairs Reporter Amy Bainbridge, producer Loretta Florance and Indigenous Affairs producer Kirstie Wellauer revealed the regulatory failures that caused almost 15,000 Indigenous Australians to lose tens of millions of dollars in insurance contributions.
The team produced a compelling and skilfully constructed piece, giving a voice to those who felt misled and deceived.
The story prompted a federal government investigation, a $7 million package for victims, and an ASIC inquiry.

Highly commended: Matilda Marozzi and the Background Briefing team, ABC Radio National, “Is getting quality care at medicinal cannabis clinics just pot luck?’’

Radio News

Matilda Marozzi, ABC New “Robyn died after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. Her family speaks for the first time.’’
This exclusive report by Matilda demonstrates deft handling of a potentially sensational topic. It was the first time Australians had heard the story of a person who’d died because of a Covid vaccination.

Regional and Rural Journalism, sponsored by TAC

Harrison Tippet, Geelong Advertiser, “Institutional abuse: A city’s scars laid bare”
Harrison Tippet’s piece on institutional abuse is an admirable and brave example of investigative journalism executed in a sensitive yet impactful manner. It was a thoroughly-researched and very well-written feature about re-pursuing abuse survivors’ claims. It was an original idea for a story with ongoing relevance for the community the publication serves. Harrison’s story was empathetic, resulted in positive outcomes and led to more than a dozen other survivors coming forward to launch legal action.

Highly commended: Bonnie Barkmeyer, WIN News Victoria, “Central Victorian Flood Emergency’’ and Fiona Myers, The Weekly Times, “FMD Time Bomb’’

Excellence in Science, Medical and Health Reporting, sponsored by the University of Melbourne

Pallavi Singhal, Nick O’Malley, Daniel Carter, and Mark Stehle, The Age, “Silent Killer”
This was a high impact piece on a big issue which covered the science and the implications of global warming, from national to local levels. It combined a range of data, projections and climate mapping to highlight the profound threat extreme heat poses and revealed that deaths from such heat outweighed those from natural disasters. It was a significant piece presented in an engaging and innovative format.

Highly commended: Melissa Davey, Guardian Australia, “Generation Vape’’ ; Tania Ewing, Cosmos Magazine, ‘The clinical trial that learnt on the go’’ and Amalyah Hart, Cosmos Magazine, “Model or monster?’’

Features Photograph

Alex Coppel, Herald Sun, “Underwater Babies”
Defying the technical challenges of photographing underwater inside a dark indoor pool, Underwater Babies manages to capture a rare moment in time during babies’ swimming lessons. For Alex, it was a photo shoot where he had to balance his desire to help the babies in the water with wanting to get the best image. The end result is a Nirvana album cover crossed with Avatar that the judges applauded not just for the effort but also for the inspiration behind it

Highly commended: Christopher Hopkins, Guardian Australia, “Heaven is the place where there is no harm’’; and Eddie Jim, The Age, “Graduation’’

Quill Awards: Scoop of the Year

Annika Smethurst and Paul Sakkal, The Age, “Victorian Liberals’ donor scandal”
The judges were unanimous in recognising the impact of this scoop on the prospects of the Liberal Opposition winning government in the lead-up to the state election. The story of Opposition Leader Matthew Guy’s chief of staff asking a wealthy donor to make more than $100,000 in payments to his private marketing business set in train a series of events that crippled the Liberals’ growing momentum leading in to the state poll. The story’s knock-on impact left the Liberal campaign team fragmented and the party’s election strategy in disarray.

Highly commended: Mark Buttler, Anthony Dowsley and Aneeka Simonis, Herald Sun, “Jailhouse mastermind sting’’

Annika Smethurst and Paul Sakkal

Quill Awards: Sports Feature

Konrad Marshall, Good Weekend magazine, “Being Ben Simmons”
Konrad’s feature on controversial Australian basketball star Ben Simmons was deeply researched and carefully considered. The feature went inside Simmon’s struggles both on and off the basketball court after gaining exclusive access to the reclusive player, his family and inner circle. Through the trust Konrad was able to establish over four years communicating with the family, he was able to give us new insight into Simmon’s life, delving into the topical issue of the mental health of our champion athletes. A beautifully written piece.

Highly commended: Jon Ralph, Herald Sun, “I ended up in an injecting room’’ and Ben Schneiders, Carla Jaeger and Lachlan Abbott, The Age, “A cultural mess: Behind the A-League pitch invasion’’

Quill Awards: Sports News

Sam Landsberger, Herald Sun, “Dons’ holy fail”
It was devilishly difficult for the judges to pick a winner from a group of standout entries. It was Sam Landsberger’s exclusive that takes the prize, because it goes to the basics of good news journalism – going beyond the press release, digging around, and doing it all first. The story of Essendon’s appointment of former bank executive Andrew Thorburn to its CEO role seemed to be reasonably straightforward until Sam revealed that the new CEO was also associated with the controversial City on a Hill church. The revelations not only propelled Essendon into renewed turmoil, but also reignited a national debate around issues that go far beyond sport: the place of religious beliefs in our community, and the right to privacy that those in leadership may enjoy.

Highly commended: Mark Robinson, Herald Sun, “Like the Russian Mafia’’ and Michael Warner, Herald Sun, “Demons’ secret hell’’

Quill Awards: Sports Photograph

Michael Willson, AFL.com.au, “Buddy Beauty”
“Buddy beauty” is the epitome of a great sports picture – equally at home on the front or back page!
Swans superstar Lance ‘Buddy Franklin’ was shooting for his 1000 goal career milestone, probably the ‘stand-out’ individual highlight of the 2022 AFL season.
As Michael says: “I captured ‘the kick’ and then just ran.”
Amid the crush of fans surrounding the champion, Michael held his camera aloft and held his breath. With a little bit of good luck and despite the crush, Michael kept his feet and captured an amazing image of joy, chaos and of course, Buddy.

Highly commended: Jake Nowakowski, Herald Sun, “Kambosos Jr vs Haney’’

Quill Awards: TV Camera Work (Creative)

Travis Nemtsas, Nine News, “Beach Artist”
Travis’s approach to this shoot was as thoughtful as the subject itself. He applied creativity and exceptional camera work to bring the story of an after dark beach artist to life. He cleverly used different cameras and natural light to set the scene, highlighting the isolated location and immersing viewers in the story. He skilfully overcame the challenge of keeping the sand artist’s identity anonymous and displayed an advanced understanding of natural lighting techniques throughout the overnight shoot. Travis created this work alone, without a journalist, taking it upon himself to interview his subject about his creative process. This is a stunning and impactful piece of work.

Quill Awards: TV Camera Work (Shot of the Year)

Malcom Corp, Nine News Melbourne, “Wild Rampage”
Malcom’s extraordinary aerial footage of a police pursuit of an armed, erratic driver, are like scenes from a Hollywood movie. With little information to go on, he tracked the driver from the air and steadily captured the chase from a high altitude, for long periods of time. He ensured he was in the right position at every opportunity, constantly tracking the car during the chase. The footage gave viewers dramatic insight into the breaking news event, showing the car driving on the wrong side of the road, going off road and eventually crashing into a fence. Malcom also captured the dramatic moment the driver was tackled and arrested by members of the special operations group. The pooled footage led all news bulletins that night.

Highly commended: Grant Stevenson, 7NEWS Melbourne, “Chase terror’’

Quill Awards: TV/Video Feature

Richard Willingham, Kirsten Robb, and Sarah Curnow, 7.30, “Victims of sexual violence forced to wait in bloodied and soiled clothes due to crisis in Forensic Care”
This story lifted the lid on a silent crisis faced by sexual assault victims trying to navigate a broken system. Their story shocked Victorians – revealing how rape victims can be left waiting 24 hours for a forensic examination – and forced to keep wearing the clothes they were attacked in.
It was a powerful story, amplified by the lived experience of a victim who trusted Richard to tell her story. The story led to a chronically under-resourced Institute of Forensic Medicine receiving a vital funding boost.

Highly commended: Christine Ahern and Thea Dikeos, 60 Minutes, “Dying for help’’

Quill Awards: TV/Video News

Carrie-Anne Greenbank, Nine News, “Ukraine War”
When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Nine’s Carrie Anne Greenbank was the only Australian TV journalist reporting live from Kyiv as missiles started striking the outskirts of the capital and air raid sirens rang out.
With camera operator Jessica Miocevich, Greenbank pushed to remain in Kyiv as panic set in and most international media fled. She secured critical supplies, including a generator, live link access, sleeping bags and ration packs so they could continue broadcasting as the capital came under attack.
The Channel Nine correspondent reported in dangerous and unpredictable conditions including air raids. She had no driver or fixer, and had to navigate checkpoints and curfews to access locations – all while closely monitoring the growing threat of Russian troops.

Highly commended: Christine Ahern, Today Show, “Aged care captives”

Coverage of Women in Sport, sponsored by the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation

Jeremy Story Carter, ABC National Regional Reporting Team, “Is this Australia’s coolest footy team?”
Jeremy’s work evocatively celebrates the extraordinary tenacity of a new generation of young women regional footballers who believed in their right to take their place in the local league, and in doing so changing 60 years of male-dominated history. Jeremy demonstrated how the footballers championed a new inclusive culture while garnering international recognition with a rock band as a sponsor.

Highly commended: Mark Robinson, Herald Sun, “To hell and back”

See also: Melbourne Press Club National Awards: Journalist of the Year revealed

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