News

24 March 2014

The winner of this year's Quills Twitter Competition has been announced.

The competition looked for the best tweets capturing the atmosphere and excitement of the 2013 Quill Awards, held on Friday 21 March at Crown Palladium in Melbourne.

And the winner is... ABC News Sports Editor Matt Brown...


Matt wins a night for two at the Crown Metropol Hotel including breakfast and valet parking and complimentary spa access.

24 March 2014

The 2013 Student Journalist of the Year is Aliyah Stotyn from Melbourne University.

The award, presented by The Melbourne Press Club and sponsored by the Vizard Foundation, was announced at the Club's annual Quill Awards dinner on Friday, 21 March.
The judges praised Aliyah's work in "Facebook Stalking", published on Melbourne University's Citizen news website. The report warned of the risk that lies behind social media and the legal web that can ensnare people who misuse it.

Aliyah receives a $3000 prize, provided by the Vizard Foundation, and a range of work experience and mentoring opportunities at major media outlets.

The judges also highly commended RMIT student Ben Westcott for his report “Local Government Referendum” - published in The Australian - a tale about councils spending ratepayers’ money to support a political campaign.

Two other students were shortlisted for the award:

  • Emma Damiani – Monash University – “Peru Tea” - A story about the dangers to young travellers heading to Third World countries to experience local rituals and cultures, and
  • Julie Milland – University of Melbourne – “Chinese virus” - A story about a mysterious strain of a deadly virus from China, and how Australian authorities dealt with the threat.
21 March 2014

The publication of secret tapes revealing deep divisions within the state government which led to the downfall of Premier Ted Baillieu, has won Herald Sun reporter James Campbell, Victoria’s top journalism prize—the $5000 Monash University Gold Quill.

Published in the aftermath of the Victoria Police leadership crisis Campbell’s series of reports altered the course of Victorian politics. The judges noted Campbell’s work was strengthened by publication of tape excerpts on the Herald Sun website in an impressive marriage of print and digital media.

The Gold quill, selected from winners in 27 categories, was presented by Monash University Chancellor Alan Finkel at a Melbourne Press Club dinner attended by 650 people at Crown Palladium last night.

Campbell’s series also won him the Grant Hattam Award for Investigate Journalism.

The Herald Sun’s Michael Warner and Mark Robinson also shared the Best News Report in Writing Award with Chip Le Grand of The Australian.

The Age also had a good night picking up seven Quills including Best Coverage of an Issue or Event won by Richard Baker, Nick McKenzie, Caroline Wilson, Jake Niall and Samantha Lane for their coverage of the Essendon Football Club drugs scandal; the RACV Transport Quill (Josh Gordon); Best Business Story in any Medium (Adele Ferguson and Chris Vedelago) and the Keith Dunstan Award for best Columnist/Blogger (Caroline Wilson).

Nick McKenzie has now won a record 18 Quills, including two Gold Quills. Richard Baker has now won an impressive 11 Quills, one Gold.

The Best Feature in Writing went to Jo Chandler of The Global Mail.

The Best Sports Feature in any Medium was won by Chip Le Grand of The Australian for his coverage of Essendon Coach James Hird’s enforced year of exile.

Suburban newspapers were also strongly represented with the Port Phillip, Caulfield and Bayside Leader Newspapers picking up the Best Suburban Report in Writing Quill.

Ashlynne McGhee of ABC was named Young Journalist of the Year for a portfolio of work including live crosses and investigative journalism.

21 March 2014

Veteran football writer Caroline Wilson of The Age has won the Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year Award, the richest prize in journalism, for her outstanding coverage of the Essendon Football Club’s drugs scandal.
 
Bestowing the $20,000 award the judges praised the clear eyed way Wilson both reported on the story of the drugs scandal and analysed the impact of the events on the players who had been injected with substances that could compromise their health and careers.
 
“The scandal produced intense and passionate views about who and what was right and wrong. Amidst this and some extraordinary personal abuse Wilson kept true to a journalist’s greatest task, an obligation to readers to best inform on how events were unfolding and what the implications might be”, the judges said.
 
The judges were Laura Tingle (Chair), Laurie Oakes and Jill Baker. The Australian Journalist of the Year Award commemorates Graham Perkin, the legendary editor of The Age who died in 1975. The award is sponsored by Swinburne University and administered by the Melbourne Press Club. The Age provides the prize money. The award was presented at the Club's annual Quill Awards dinner at Crown Palladium last night.
 
The other entries shortlisted for the 2013 award were :

  • James Campbell of the Herald Sun for the secret tapes bombshell which led to the downfall of Premier Ted Baillieu
  • Amanda Hodge of The Australia for her coverage of the crisis in Pakistan and gang rapes in India.


The judges are asked to look for journalism that is memorable and excellent. They are asked to reward work that is consistent with the journalism practiced by Graham Perkin.

21 March 2014

The Melbourne Press Club has joined the global campaign in support of Australian journalist Peter Greste who has been detained in Egypt for almost three months on discredited charges of spreading false news and belonging to a terrorist group.

Guests at the Club's annual Quill Awards dinner on Friday, March 21, are being urged to unite in tweeting calls for the immediate release of Greste and his Al Jazeerah colleagues Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed.

A poster circulated ahead of the dinner declaring "Journalism is not a crime" condemns the decision by Egyptian authorities to imprison the trio for simply doing their job as professional, independent journalists. Click here to download a copy of the poster.

Despite reports that Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, has promised to  “spare no effort” to quickly resolve the case, Greste and his colleagues still face the threat of a seven-year jail sentence.

They are due to reappear in an Egyptian court on Monday, March 24.

11 March 2014

By LINDSAY MURDOCH in Bangkok
Special for the Melbourne Press Club

Former senior Age editor and News Corp journalist Alan Morison says he has been overwhelmed by support he has received over a defamation lawsuit launched by the Royal Thai Navy, including from supporters in Melbourne.

The case that is seen as a threat to freedom of the media in Thailand has been raised by Human Rights Watch at the Pentagon, where the United States defence establishment was urged to advise the Royal Thai Navy to abandon charges against Alan and his colleague Chutima Sidasathian.

“People have been coming out of the woodwork both internationally and locally…media groups, rights groups…people from everywhere have jumped to our support,” Alan told the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Thailand on the evening of March 5.

A scheduled meeting with a public prosecutor - the first official step in the unprecedented lawsuit - has been delayed until April.

The navy’s decision to pursue Alan and Chutima under Thailand’s criminal defamation laws and Computer Crimes Act has prompted widespread criticism, including from the United Nations.

“These are sweeping laws and their use against these terrific journalists will have a profoundly negative impact on media freedom in Thailand,” said Jonathon Head, president of the correspondent’s club and the BBC’s correspondent in Bangkok.

If the case proceeds, the journalists who write and publish the ground-breaking Phuketwan news website from the Thai resort island of Phuket may be jailed.

Alan and Chutima have declared they will stand on the principle of media freedom and not post bail if the case proceeds and it is offered by a judge.

“We are prepared to go to jail. This a bad law,” Chutima told the correspondent’s club.

Alan said he is still “scratching my head” trying to work out the motivation of the Royal Thai Navy in launching the action that could see him and Chutima, his partner, face a maximum five years jail and fines if convicted under the Computer Crimes Act and up to two years jail if convicted on criminal defamation charges.

The charges relate to a story published in Phukewan in July 2013 that quoted a Reuters newsagency investigation alleging that some members of the Thai military were involved in smuggling Muslim Rohingya boatpeople from Burma, which is also called Myanmar.

The story did not mention the Royal Thai Navy and pointed out those responsible were probably renegades.

Phuketan, which Alan founded in 2008, has won widespread praise and several journalist awards for its coverage of the plight of the Rohingya, who have been described by the UN as among the world’s most persecuted people.

Alan told the correspondent’s club there is no doubt that Rohingya who have fled persecution in Burma are dying in secret camps run by smugglers near the Thai-Malaysia border.

“The nightmare goes on without enough light being shed on who is responsible,” he said.

Alan said it will be “difficult to defend the charges ourselves for a story that was written by Reuters journalists.”

No action has yet been taken against Reuters, a multi-national company which has not commented on the action against Alan and Chutima or offered any support for them.

The company has transferred from Bangkok one of the authors of the report.

The other lives in Kuala Lumpur.

“We hope they will react in the interests of media freedom if and when they are charged,” Alan said.

If Alan and Chutima are jailed they will be sent to Phuket’s overcrowded jail that was built to hold 700 prisoners but now has almost 2,500 inmates.

Conditions there are harsh.

Alan sold his apartment in Melbourne to set-up Phuketwan which provides local and foreign news coverage for Phuket where an average 20,000 Australians holiday each month.

The lawsuit against Alan and Chutima is one of about 1600 defamation cases that were launched in Thailand in 2013, many of them by powerful interests.

Court records show that of the defamation cases that proceed to trial in Thailand an average 96 percent lead to convictions, one of the world’s highest rates for the crime.

11 March 2014

By Rachel Buchanan.

On Monday 3 March, I launched Melbourne's newest newspaper, Melbourne Sirius. I gave out 525 copies of Sirius – one for every defunct newspaper made in the city between 1838 and now – outside newspaper buildings past and present.

Melbourne Sirius appeared at a historic moment; eight days after the publication of the last broadsheet version of The Age and two days after the launch of The Saturday Paper, a new weekly newspaper published by Morry Schwartz. Even more significant, perhaps, is the closure of The Age's print plant at Tullamarine at the end of March. After that, The Age will be printed at Ballarat.

The paper invites readers to stop and contemplate what this moment might mean for them and for their city. It asks you to read slowly. What other moments are suggested by the long list of dead newspapers and the radical variety in the lifespan, purpose and tone of each of these papers?

Sirius exists only as a paper object. There is no website to scan, no button to click, no link to share. The newspaper has been funded by a 2013-14 creative fellowship at the State Library of Victoria. I am the publisher, editor, researcher, writer, photographer, sub-editor and proof-reader. Please excuse any typos.

Typographer Stephen Banham (Letterbox) designed the paper and his colleague Heather Walker worked on the hundreds of mastheads I photographed, turning muddy digital files into sharp, clean ones.

Banham's stunning red and white starburst front and back cover references the old masthead stamps that were once used to indicate different editions: city extra, city final, stumps. Red was also the preferred ink colour for the 'Stop Press' boxes that used to contain late-breaking news.

Inside is my illustrated obituary of newspapers. Aside from listing the birth and death dates of 525 dead newspapers, Sirius also includes a four-page centrespread of mastheads photographs. The mastheads are laid out alphabetically. The first is The Abstainer (the Official Organ of the Grand Lodge of Victoria), a bi-weekly made in Melbourne from May 1889 until May 1890. The last is Zundnadeln Blatter fur die heitere und ernste Welt (Paper for the serene and serious world). Only two issues of this small German-language paper were made, in March and May 1873 and it is cared for in the State Library's rare newspapers collection.

Sirius has one more special feature: footnotes. It may be the first footnoted newspaper in the world but I want to assure readers that the footnotes are really just small colour stories. There are even some jokes.

The paper was printed by Arena in Fitzroy. Every aspect of Sirius pays homage to the beauty of newspapers and the mongrel creativity, ingenuity, passion and guts of the people who have manufactured them in Melbourne for the past 176 years.

I worked with some of these people while I was on staff at The Age (1993 – 2002) and over the past 10 years when I have been a regular contributor, writing columns, op-ed pieces, reviews and features for the paper. In 2012 and 2013, I reported on the serious economic, social and cultural implications of the collapse in newspaper manufacturing. You can read all about that in Stop Press: The Last Days of Newspapers (Scribe, 2013).

My dual careers as newspaper journalist and historian brought me to this rather mad and unexpected moment of launching my own newspaper. I roped in two of my kids as paper girls for the day. Their sweet voices matched the clarion calls of the paper boys that once stood on so many Melbourne street corners.

 

9 March 2014

The Melbourne Press Club has announced the shortlist of candidates in key categories in the annual Quill Awards for journalism.

Four finalists have been named in eight of the 27 Quill Award categories.

All the winners - and the winner of the prestigious Gold Quill - will be announced at the annual Quills dinner, at Crown Palladium, on Friday, 21 March.

The Quills are supported by the Press Club's principal sponsor, Monash University, which also provides the $5000 Gold Quill prize.

The deadline for bookings for the Quills dinner has been extended to Friday, 14 March.

Click here to download the shortlist

3 March 2014

Three entries have been selected on the short list for the 2013 Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year Award.

They are:

  • Caroline Wilson, of The Age, for her coverage of the Essendon Football Club drugs scandal
  • Amanda Hodge, of The Australian, for coverage of Pakistan and gang rape in India
  • James Campbell, of the Herald Sun, for his coverage of the tapes scandal that led to the demise of Victorian Premier, Ted Baillieu

The 38th annual Perkin Award, with a $20,000 prize, is the richest journalism award in Australia.  It is awarded to a single piece of work or a portfolio that is excellent and memorable.  It is named after the legendary editor of The Age who died suddenly in 1975 at the age of 45.

Judges for the 2013 award are Laura Tingle, Laurie Oakes and Jill Baker.  The winner will be announced at the Melbourne Press Club Quill Awards Dinner in Melbourne on 21 March. Click here to book.

The award is administered independently by the Melbourne Press Club and supported by Swinburne University.  The cash prize is supplied by The Age.

Enquiries:  Michael Smith  0411 055 306

Three entries have been selected on the short list for the 2013 Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year Award.

 

They are:

  • Caroline Wilson, of The Age, for her coverage of the Essendon Football Club drugs scandal

  • Amanda Hodge, of The Australian, for coverage of Pakistan and gang rape in India

  • James Campbell, of the Herald Sun, for his coverage of the tapes scandal that led to the demise of Victorian Premier, Ted Baillieu

 

The 38th annual Perkin Award, with a $20,000 prize, is the richest journalism award in Australia. It is awarded to a single piece of work or a portfolio that is excellent and memorable. It is named after the legendary editor of The Age who died suddenly in 1975 at the age of 45.

 

Judges for the 2013 award are Laura Tingle, Laurie Oakes and Jill Baker. The winner will be announced at the Melbourne Press Club Quill Awards Dinner in Melbourne on 21 March. Bookings at www.melbournepressclub.com

 

The award is administered independently by the Melbourne Press Club and supported by Swinburne University. The cash prize is supplied by The Age.

 

 

Enquiries: Michael Smith 0411 055 306Three entries have been selected on the short list for the 2013 Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year Award.

They are:
Caroline Wilson, of The Age, for her coverage of the Essendon Football Club drugs scandal
Amanda Hodge, of The Australian, for coverage of Pakistan and gang rape in India
James Campbell, of the Herald Sun, for his coverage of the tapes scandal that led to the demise of Victorian Premier, Ted Baillieu

The 38th annual Perkin Award, with a $20,000 prize, is the richest journalism award in Australia.  It is awarded to a single piece of work or a portfolio that is excellent and memorable.  It is named after the legendary editor of The Age who died suddenly in 1975 at the age of 45.

Judges for the 2013 award are Laura Tingle, Laurie Oakes and Jill Baker.  The winner will be announced at the Melbourne Press Club Quill Awards Dinner in Melbourne on 21 March. Bookings at www.melbournepressclub.com

The award is administered independently by the Melbourne Press Club and supported by Swinburne University.  The cash prize is supplied by The Age.


Enquiries:  Michael Smith  0411 055 306

26 February 2014

ABC Breakfast presenter Michael Rowland is the new president of the Melbourne Press Club.

The Club's committee unanimously elected Michael at a meeting on Wednesday, 26 February.

He succeeds Mark Baker who has stepped down after three years as president to become the Club's inaugural chief executive officer.

"It is an honour to be chosen to lead the Melbourne Press Club which, 41 years after its establishment, is undergoing a period of major growth, "Michael said.

The committee also conferred Life Membership of the Club on Mark Baker and Minter Ellison partner Peter Bartlett, who was a vice president and committee member for 13 years.