Fairfax and ABC report takes out top Walkley

Fairfax and ABC report takes out top WalkleyFairfax Media reporter and Gold Walkley winner Adele Ferguson

Australian newspapers featured prominently in a line-up of the country’s best journalists at the Walkley Awards in Sydney on Thursday night, with a joint investigation between Fairfax Media reporter Adele Ferguson and ABC’s Four Corners team into negligence by banks winning the 2014 Gold Walkley award.

“Banking Bad” was the product of two years of research by Ms Ferguson, who uncovered a huge scale of unethical practices including poor advice which saw victims lose their life savings.

Together with the ABC’s Mario Christodoulou and Deb Masters, they coaxed the whistleblowers to appear on camera for Four Corners. The episode also won the Walkley for TV Weekly Current Affairs and was a finalist in the Investigative and Business categories.

The report spurred Senate committees to hold bankers accountable, another enquiry into the corporate regulator’s effectiveness, and the Commonwealth Bank to overhaul its practices.

Al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste, who is currently imprisoned in Egypt, was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Journalism award, “in honour of his journalism and his defiant defence of its universal purpose”. It was collected by his brother Andrew.

The Best Print/Text Journalism category was taken out by The Australian’s Paul Maley and Greg Bearup, who uncovered the story behind Khaled Sharrouf’s shocking photo of his son holding the severed head of a Syrian soldier and in turn gave a face to Australian jihadis fighting with the Islamic State – enduring death threats and confronting images along the way.

The Business Journalism award was taken out by a team from The Australian Financial Review. Nabila Ahmed, Sue Mitchell and James Mitchell exposed failings in corporate governance on the board of David Jones, prompting the resignation of three directors.

Andrew Quilty – who we profiled earlier this year – won the Nikon Walkley Press Photographer of the Year and Nikon Walkley Photo of the Year for his shot of a small girl in an Afghani hospital, enveloped completely in foil blankets to treat her extensive burns.

Headline Journalism was won by The Daily Telegraph editor for gems such as “Cardinal Spin”, “The Grapes of BOF” and “Palmersnorus”, The West Australian editor-in-chief Bob Cronin won the Leadership award, and NT News journalist Ben Smee took out the Community and Regional Affairs category for a portfolio of investigational pieces uncovering corruption in local politicians, a local magistrate and the Northern Territory Labor government.

For a full list of winners head to the Walkley Foundation website.

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