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November 2022

Their ABC appoints head of Indigenous News. Who’s the head of non-Indigenous news?

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ABC News has appointed award-winning journalist Suzanne Dredge to the new role of Head, Indigenous News.

Dredge, a Wiradjuri woman, will build and lead a stand-alone Indigenous Reporting Team, with a remit to expand and amplify coverage of Indigenous Affairs across the ABC’s news teams.   

Suzanne says, “It is a privilege to lead the ABC’s Indigenous Affairs coverage at such an important time for truth-telling in our country. 


“The media plays an important role commissioning and reporting stories that contribute to our views of the world, which is why First Nations people need to be part of the storytelling and decision-making at a senior level.  


“In the ABC’s 90-year history there has been no First Nations staff member on the News Executive team. Until now. I am proud to be part of the change.”  


ABC Indigenous Affairs Editor Bridget Brennan will be a key member of the new Indigenous Reporting Team, and says, “Suzanne is one of the most gifted journalists and editorial leaders I’ve ever worked with. She’s a fearless investigator and she cares deeply about uncovering systemic injustices here in Australia, and across the globe. 


“As a Wiradjuri woman she has an innate understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and stories. This is an historic appointment and ABC Indigenous staff are so proud of her.”


ABC Director, News Justin Stevens says creating the role and the new team was a natural next step for the ABC in providing the deepest, best-informed and most multi-faceted coverage of Indigenous Affairs. 

He says, “The upcoming referendum is a crucial moment for us to get this right and Suzanne Dredge and the Indigenous Reporting Team will be pivotal.


“It creates a framework for our Indigenous journalists to guide us in how best to give Indigenous people a voice in our journalism. And it helps ensure the ABC’s coverage of Indigenous communities and issues is constructive, accurate and representative.


“This team will also provide a touch point for all Indigenous journalists, helping the ABC attract and retain the best talent in Australian media.”

Read more at: © RadioInfo Australia

Walkley Foundation withdraws 2021 award over false Andrew Laming story

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22 November, 2022

A statement from the Walkley Foundation

The Walkley Foundation has announced its decision to withdraw an award given to Peter Fegan and Rebeka Powell of Nine News 6pm in the 2021 Walkley Awards.

The award, for a series of three television news reports entitled ‘The Investigation of Andrew Laming’ won the Television/Video News Reporting category for stories broadcast on 25 March, 26 March and 27 March 2021 when Dr Andrew Laming was a Federal MP.  The award was presented on 25 February 2022, following a delay caused by COVID-19.

Dr Laming initiated defamation proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against Nine relating to the third report, broadcast on 27 March 2021, which centred around an allegation that a lewd photograph was taken of a young woman in her workplace without her knowledge or consent. 

Nine settled on confidential terms except for the following apology given to Dr Laming and contained in a court order of 14 September 2022.

Apology to Dr Laming from Nine:

 On 27 March 2021, 9News Queensland broadcast a report about Dr Laming who was at the time a member of Federal Parliament.

Serious allegations were made about Dr Laming in that report and he sued Nine because of it.

9News has now seen material which indicates that the photograph Dr Laming took was not lewd in nature.

 9News unreservedly withdraws those allegations about Dr Laming and apologises to him and his family for the hurt and harm caused by the report.

The Walkley Foundation subsequently sought materials from interested parties, and independent legal advice.

This week, the Directors of the Walkley Foundation met to consider its advice, and have accepted a recommendation that the award be withdrawn.

The Directors appreciate that parties settle defamation proceedings for any number of reasons. The Federal Court proceeding settling on confidential terms and the limited apology by Nine was not decisive by itself to justify the withdrawal of the Award, but in all the circumstances the Board resolved the award could not be maintained in respect of the third report.

The first two reports in this series contained allegations that were very serious and raised important issues of public interest, but the award could not be maintained solely upon those allegations.

Accordingly, the Directors have resolved to withdraw the award.

The Directors also note that defamation proceedings are not an exhaustive fact finding inquiry, or the Foundation’s chosen vehicle through which to assess journalistic merit.

The relevant parties have been advised. The 2021 award for Television/Video News Reporting will not be presented to either of the other finalists as the Walkley Judging Board did not select a runner-up. 

The Foundation makes no further comment on the decision to withdraw the award. 

The Walkley Foundation has previously announced that it will conduct a separate process to review the organisation’s complaints mechanism utilising the skills of a panel of independent experts.

The Walkley Foundation has been presenting awards for excellence in journalism since 1956. The Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism are presented annually to recognise and reward the best in the craft. Finalists are selected by eminent journalists and photographers and the overall winners are judged by the Walkley Judging Board which includes senior journalists from across the news media.