News Awards: Sharri Markson wins again, Daily Tele and Paul Kelly too

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The Daily Telegraph was the standout performer at the News Corp Australia 2018 News Awards.

• The Daily Telegraph wins News Brand of the Year, Photograph of the Year and Photographer of the Year
• Sharri Markson of The Daily Telegraph wins Sir Keith Murdoch Award for Excellence in Journalism
• Scoop of the Year goes to Ellen Whinnett of News360 for her story exposing the secret life of Clive Mensink

The Daily Telegraph was the standout performer at the News Corp Australia 2018 News Awards last night, collecting four awards, including two of the most prestigious – News Brand of the Year and the Sir Keith Murdoch Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Attended by 300 guests including visiting News Corp executives, Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch, the gala event in Sydney recognised and celebrated the creativity, tenacity and passion of News Corp Australia’s writers, designers, photographers, editors and innovators across the company, including FOX SPORTS and Sky News.

Michael Miller, executive chairman of News Corp Australasia, said: “We should all be very proud of our achievements as a company – proud of the role we play in Australian life and we must always passionately defend who we are and what we stand for.

Campbell Reid, Tonya Miller, Michael Miller, Penny Fowler, Patrick Delany

“This year, we have seen a resurgence in the value of trusted media brands. Our journalism is stronger than ever. The stories of this year – those that exposed hypocrisy, demanded justice, campaigned for a fair go, or rejoiced in triumphs on and off the field – have contributed to a seismic shift in public faith and confidence in what we do.

“There is a palpable momentum, and optimism, about the role of real journalism, the journalism we provide day-in day-out, which is more relevant, more influential and more valued than ever before. We set the agenda and others follow, we take risks, push boundaries and challenge conventions in a way that no-one else can, or does.

“Thank you and congratulations to all of our winners and finalists,” Mr Miller said.

The Sir Keith Murdoch Award was presented by Lachlan Murdoch to Sharri Markson, National Political Editor, for the story she broke and the consequences she pursued with the Barnaby Joyce affair with his former staffer, Vikki Campion.

Lachlan Murdoch said: “Through your bold, take-no-prisoners reporting you broke ripper stories day after day, and shook and shook and shook the political landscape.”

Will Glasgow and Christine Lacy, Margin Call columnists at The Australian, received the Keith McDonald Award for Business Journalist of the Year; and Scoop of the Year went to Ellen Whinnett of News360 for her story exposing the secret life of Clive Mensink.

Innovation in Storytelling was won by The Australian’s record-breaking podcast The Teacher’s Pet, which has just hit 10 million downloads. It has also become a phenomenon – episodes have occupied the Number 1 spot on the US, UK, Canadian and Australian iTunes podcast charts and it has triggered the reestablishment of a police task force to investigate the disappearance of mother Lyn Dawson.

Three journalists were awarded Young Journalist of the Year – Richard Ferguson of The Australian, Chloe Lyons from Sunshine Coast Daily, and James O’Doherty from Sky News. They have each won a three-month international reporting stint in London at News UK.

delicious. won Magazine/Lifestyle Brand of the Year, Shelley Strachan of The Gympie Times won for Achievements in Regional Journalism and the Herald Sun’s Leo Schlink took out achievements in Sports Journalism for exposing one of the biggest racing scandals in our history.

delcious. editor Kerrie McCallum

The NT News received Headline of the Year for adding levity to the cricket scandal with ‘Why I’ve Got Some Sticky Near My Dicky’ among other winners.

Among the News Corp editors, journalists, cartoonists and photographers, were executives from Foxtel, FOX SPORTS, Sky News, REA, Harper Collins and MCN, including Siobhan McKenna, Patrick Delany, Pete Campbell, Angelos Frangopoulous, Tracey Fellows, James Kellow and Mark Frain.

Michael Miller called out Patrick Delany and Pete Campbell during his welcome speech, for their success in securing the broadcast cricket rights – an absolute game changer for Australia’s national sport and for News Corp.

“Our ambitions for cricket are exponential, and in collaboration with our mastheads, in print and online, we’re in for a very exciting summer.”

“Next year,” said Miller, “The 2019 News Awards will be reimagined, to fully incorporate and celebrate our extended family of Foxtel and FOX SPORTS. And as Patrick Delany would say, ‘It will be a News Awards like never before.’”

Winners of the 2018 News Awards

Young Journalists of the Year

Chloe Lyons, Sunshine Coast Daily

It began with Chloe asking a simple question of why three restaurants in Nambour appeared to be open for business, but never opened their doors. From there it grew into an investigation into the activities of an intriguing shadowy ghost corporation involved in suspected visa scams. Curiosity may have killed the cat but it’s never killed a journalist, as Chloe’s observation rapidly turned in to a scoop.

James O’Doherty, Sky News

As Sky News’ lone voice in New Zealand, James – while appearing not old enough to own a driver’s licence – tells stories otherwise not seen in Australia. He was the first to report that Australia’s then Deputy PM was in fact a New Zealander. He also landed an interview with PM Jacinda Ardern the day she announced her pregnancy, and that former NZ PM John Keys was receiving an Honorary Companion of the Order of Australia.

Richard Ferguson, The Australian

At a very young age Richard has been handed custody of some of The Australian’s most read, and high risk columns – Strewth, Cut & Paste and My Way. And as a reporter he embedded himself inside the story of African-linked youth violence in Melbourne, kicking off The Australian’s important State of Disorder series, and a national debate about lawlessness on the streets of the Victorian capital.

Innovation in Storytelling

The Teacher’s Pet, The Australian

What sets The Teacher’s Pet apart from other podcasts is that it is not simply retelling a crime story with a set conclusion, it is unfolding as it relies on new information from listeners. It has also become a phenomenon – episodes have occupied the Number 1 spot on the US, UK, Canadian and Australian iTunes podcast charts; there has been over 10 million downloads; and it has triggered the reestablishment of a police task force to investigate the disappearance of mother Lyn Dawson. Stay tuned.

Achievements in Specialist Journalism

James Weir,

Everybody has their own definition of what’s news but for millions of Australians what’s news is what happened on last night’s reality TV shows. And James has personally created a new genre that is often more popular than the shows themselves. His Married at First Sight recaps– a show he likens to “handing your iPhone to a drunk stranger at 3am and giving them complete authority over your dating apps” – were read by more than 3.5 million readers.

Achievements in Human Interest Journalism

Mike Sheahan – Open Mike on FOX FOOTY: Merv Keane segment Mike’s experience reflects his humanity and legacy. It allows him to tell stories that others simply wouldn’t share with anyone else.

Achievements in Opinion and Commentary

Paul Kelly, The Australian

Paul is one of Australia’s most authoritative and respected columnists and journalists. As editor-at-large of The Australian newspaper and commentator on Sky News, he commentates with telling clarity, borne out of experience, about Australian politics, public policy and international affairs. When Paul voices an opinion, people listen – from the halls of Parliament to homes across the country.

Photograph of the Year

John Grainger, The Daily Telegraph

After a tip-off to where Vikki Campion was staying in Canberra, John waited a day and got nothing. But the following day, after a four-hour wait, Vikki emerged. “Vikki saw me and knew the game was up,” says John, “She didn’t say a thing”.

Photographer of the Year

John Grainger, The Daily Telegraph

Few photojournalists deliver front page images as often as John Grainger, which requires patience, persistence and perspiration in equal measure. And like a lot of news photographers his skill set is wide and varied, from front page scoops such as a grieving Vivian Vo to a pregnant Vikki Campion; to lifestyle images of a pre-dawn diver; race horses exercising in Botany Bay and some Bronte mates encountering a giant swell.

Achievements in News Reporting

James Campbell, Matthew Johnston and Alex White, Herald Sun

The initial reports about the Victorian ALP rorting the system was met with indifference. Office budgets were used to pay campaign workers to help Labor win the 2014 state poll. But Premier Daniel Andrews and his colleagues pleaded innocence. However, the newspaper’s dogged political team continued to report on the scandal. And a few weeks ago some Labor campaigners were arrested. Four years on Labor is going to a November election with members under police investigation.

Achievements in Design and Art

Hayley Incoll, delicious.

At the helm of creative for the delicious. brand, Hayley uses styling and design to unify the delicious brand in to a singular, identifiable “look” – from photography through to print layout and digital posting. Food magazines are highly competitive but Hayley has ensured that consistency of look, quality execution and images of “delicious” food cuts through on every occasion.

Keith McDonald Award (Business Journalist of the Year)

Will Glasgow and Christine LacyMargin Call – The Australian

The Margin Call column written by Will Glasgow and Christine Lacy has quickly established itself as a must-read column in the business world. Not only does it shine a light on the lighter side of business around the nation with irreverence and cheek but unlike some other business columns it relies on real information and not just gossip and character assassination.

Achievements in Community Journalism

Celeste Villani – Messenger Community News

The relationship between local newspaper and local council is always very close because the council makes the decisions that affect the community. But when the council becomes the story it takes an enormous amount of courage – particularly from a young journalist – to take it on. It’s David taking on Goliath and Celeste pulled it off by keeping the pressure on the lavish credit card spending of South Australia’s Onkaparinga Council.

Magazine/Lifestyle Brand of the Year


In look, feel and content it is not only delicious but also luxurious and sumptuous, and is poised to expand in to delicious TV later this year. Delicious TV, along with Sky, is transforming the News Corp Australia building in Holt Street into Australia’s best media environment, and delicious is a major player. It became Australia’s No 1 premium food/lifestyle brand in 2018, overtaking Good Food for first time, while the new Eat Out now boasts 685,000 page views per month.

Achievements in Regional Journalism

Shelley Strachan – The Gympie Times

The key role of a regional editor and their newspaper is to be their community’s biggest advocate. In the face of delay and obfuscation along a stretch of road that was killing Australians with tragic monotony the editor recruited her paper, her community, her local MP to force through the funding. Her achievements were duly acknowledged in Parliament House.

Achievements in Sports Journalism

Leo Schlink – Herald Sun

In Australian sport there are few bigger stories than a genuine racing scandal. The notion that the fix is on at the track is one of the most compelling stories and also one of the hardest to get. The extraordinary closed shop that is the racing industry ensures that. It’s a tribute to Leo that he broke the biggest scandal in racing since the Fine Cotton Affair, that led to the unprecedented disqualification of eight racing identities.

Bill Leak Cartoonist of the Year

Jon Kudelka – The Australian

As well as a great year of cartooning, a special selection of Jon’s cartoons tell the story – together with the absurdity and turmoil – that an affair between a Deputy PM and his staff member (and former Chief-of-Staff at The Daily Telegraph) can produce. All led to a bizarre “bonking ban” from the Prime Minister that Jon encapsulated perfectly.

Achievements in Campaigns

Save Our ChildrenNT News and Sky News

Confronted by an appalling crime and social tragedy literally thousands of miles away from most Australians, the NT News, working in partnership with Sky News ensured that a story that could not have reached mainstream Australia’s attention became a scandal we couldn’t avoid. The outrageous – and some say unfair – headline “Simply Does Not Care” – forced the Prime Minister to agree to come and confront the problem.

Scoop of the Year

Ellen Whinnett – Exposing the secret life of Clive Mensink – News360

When the political and financial failure of Australia’s Donald Trump – aka Clive Palmer – fell apart and his sidekick nephew disappeared with the money, even the AFP had given up on finding him. But facing personal danger from thugs and gangsters Ellen found and came face-to-face with runaway company boss Clive Mensink in Bulgaria. The story, borne out of tenacity, became national and international news.

Headlines of the Year

NT News – Why I’ve Got Some Sticky Near My Dicky|GINGER MEGS|Abduckted

The NT News added levity to the cricket scandal with ‘Why I’ve Got Some Sticky Near My Dicky’; their response to the royal wedding could not have been more Australian with “GINGER MEGS”; and when aliens were blamed for stealing some prized fowl, they had to be “Abduckted”.

News Brand of the Year

The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph has seen record growth in subscription and audience numbers driven by memorable front covers, and producing outstanding storytelling such as theEight Minutes podcast Opinion-maker Miranda Devine broke new ground with her internet radio show, Miranda Live; there was powerful advocacy through Project Sydney that saw hundreds of millions of dollars committed in a common cause to grow Sydney’s west; and once again, The Daily Telegraph owned NRL through its stable of news breakers and commentators.

Sir Keith Murdoch Award

Sharri Markson – The Daily Telegraph

Sharri’s telling of the story of Barnaby Joyce’s relationship – and his partner’s pregnancy – exemplifies the reassertion of real journalism over rumour. Here was a story that Sharri and The Daily Telegraph had the courage to publish when legions of people – including senior journalists who had deliberately chosen not to pursue the story – told the country that everyone knew the story. They did not. She not only broke the story but pursued the consequences of it, and it cost the Deputy Prime Minister his job.

Top Photo: Rupert Murdoch & Lachlan Murdoch

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