Kennedy Awards 2017: Chris O’Keefe named Journalist of the Year

2017 NRMA Kennedy Awards for Excellence in Journalism winners

Nine News reporter Chris O’Keefe has been crowned the 2017 Coca-Cola Journalist of the Year at the 6th Annual NRMA Kennedy Awards for Excellence in Journalism.

O’Keefe’s raft of stories that clinched the coveted Gold Spirax trophy included the story also judged Scoop of the Year – his exclusive revelation of how gross negligence at Bankstown Hospital led to the death of a newborn baby and left another infant suffering severe brain damage after a nitrous oxide gas mix-up.

O’Keefe, who also took out the Harry Potter Award for Outstanding Television News Reporting, Scoop of the Year and Outstanding Political Journalism awards, is the first commercial television journalist to win the $25,000 Coca-Cola Journalist of the Year Award, the richest in Australian media.

His catalogue of work was judged ahead of previous Kennedy journalists of the year – two-time winner Adele Ferguson of Fairfax and the ABC’s Caro Meldrum-Hanna.

Adding to O’Keefe’s swag for Nine, cinematographer Adam Bovino took out the Gary Ticehurst Award for Outstanding TV News Camera Coverage and’s Emily McPherson won the Kennedy Award for Outstanding Online News Breaking.

Seven’s Michael Usher, who hosted the Friday night event, took out the award for Outstanding TV Current Affairs, while 7 News Sydney’s Shaun Besgrove was awarded the Cliff Neville Award for Outstanding Team Player.

Lucy Langtry of Prime7 Local News and cameraman Rod Smith won the Paul Lockyer Award for Outstanding Regional Broadcast Journalism with their coverage of the devastating Northern Rivers floods.

Ita Buttrose was presented with the 2017 Kennedy Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement.

News Corp journalists and photographers took out 10 awards including Racing Writer of the Year, Outstanding Turf Reporting, Outstanding News Photo, Outstanding Portrait, Outstanding Sports Photo, Outstanding Online Video, Outstanding Travel Writing, People’s Choice Award for Outstanding photography, Outstanding Columnist and Outstanding Court Reporting.

Fairfax was again a major winner, collecting seven individual awards – the $5,000 Powerade Young Journalist of the Year (Jack Morphet of The Daily Advertiser), Outstanding Regional Newspaper Reporting, Outstanding Radio Current Affairs and Audio Blog, Outstanding Sport Reporting, Outstanding Finance Reporting, Outstanding Illustration and Outstanding Feature Writing.

The ABC collected five individual awards – Outstanding Indigenous Affairs Reporting, Outstanding Nightly TV Current Affairs, Outstanding Consumer Affairs Reporting, Outstanding Reporting on the Environment and Outstanding Investigative Reporting.

NITV and BuzzFeed News were breakthrough winners in the Outstanding Crime Reporting category while prolific Kennedy Awards winner Natalie Peters of 2GB took out the Sean Flannery Award for Outstanding Radio Reporting.

Winners: 2017 NRMA Kennedy Awards for Excellence in Journalism

Announced at the Grand Ballroom, Royal Randwick, Friday August 11.

2017 Coca-Cola Kennedy Journalist of the Year: Chris O’Keefe (Nine News)
Les Kennedy Award for Outstanding Crime Reporting: Allan Clarke (NITV and BuzzFeed News)
Paul Lockyer Award for Outstanding Regional Broadcast Reporting: Lucy Langtry, Rod Smith (Prime 7 North Coast)
Chris Watson Award for Outstanding Regional Newspaper Reporting: Jack Morphet (The Daily Advertiser)
Rod Allen Award Racing Writer of the Year: Ray Thomas (The Daily Telegraph)
Outstanding Turf Reporting: Greg Bearup (The Australian)
Sean Flannery Award for Outstanding Radio Reporting: Natalie Peters (2GB)
Outstanding Radio Current Affairs and Audio Blog: “Phoebe’s Fall” (Fairfax Media)
Cliff Neville Award – Team Player: Shaun Besgrove (7 News Sydney)
Peter Frilingos Award – Outstanding Sport Reporting: Chris Barrett, Adam Collins (The Sydney Morning Herald)
2017 Young Journalist of the Year: Jack Morphet (The Daily Advertiser)
2017 Participation Award: Crinkling News
Outstanding Travel Writing: Catherine Marshall (The Weekend Australian)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Ita Buttrose
John Newfong Award – Outstanding Indigenous Affairs Reporting: Caro Meldrum-Hanna, Mary Fallon, Elise Worthington (Four Corners)
Gary Ticehurst Award – Outstanding Television News Camera Coverage: Adam Bovino (Nine News)
Harry Potter Award – Outstanding Television News Reporting: Chris O’Keefe (Nine News)
Outstanding TV Current Affairs: Michael Usher (7 News)
Outstanding Nightly TV Current Affairs: James Thomas, Lesley Robinson (ABC 7.30)
Peter Ruehl Award – Outstanding Columnist: Rick Morton (The Weekend Australian)
Outstanding Finance Reporting: Michael Smith, Angus Grigg, Lisa Murray (The Australian Financial Review)
Outstanding Consumer Affairs Reporting: Sophie Scott, Meredith Griffiths (ABC 7.30)
Outstanding Online News Breaking: Emily McPherson (
Outstanding Court Reporting: Emma Partridge (The Daily Telegraph)
Outstanding Reporting on the Environment: Caro Meldrum-Hanna, Jaya Balendra, Alex McDonald (Four Corners)
The Rebecca Wilson Award – Scoop of the Year: Chris O’Keefe (Nine News)
The Vince O’Farrell Award – Outstanding Illustration: Cathy Wilcox (The Sydney Morning Herald)
Outstanding Investigative Reporting: Caro Meldrum-Hanna, Mary Fallon, Elise Worthington (Four Corners)
Jim Oram Award – Outstanding Features Writing: Stephanie Wood (The Good Weekend)
Outstanding Political Journalist: Chris O’Keefe (Nine News)
Coca-Cola Journalist of the Year: Chris O’Keefe (Nine News)


Outstanding News Photo: Toby Zerna (The Daily Telegraph)
Outstanding Portrait: Phil Hillyard (The Daily Telegraph)
Outstanding Sports Photo: Phil Hillyard (The Daily Telegraph)
Outstanding Online Video: Nathan Edwards, Sarah Blake, Toby Zerna (The Daily Telegraph)
People’s Choice Award: Dylan Robinson (The Daily Telegraph)

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