Veteran crime reporter John Silvester was Guest Speaker at the Quill Awards dinner. He spoke about the changing nature of crime reporting, and ended by paying tribute to his mate - this year's Lifetime Achievement Award winner Geoff Wilkinson.
Congratulations to Nine Network commentator and Herald Sun/Daily Telegraph columnist Laurie Oakes, winner of the 2010 Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year Award.
Oakes won the coveted prize for his outstanding reporting on the federal election. Chair of the award's judging panel Les Carlyon said Oakes was "an inspiration to journalists everywhere".
He became only the fourth journalist to win the Perkin Award and the Gold Walkley in the same year. The Perkin and the Walkley are considered the top two prizes in Australian journalism. The others to score the double were Pamela Williams of the Australian Financial Review (1998), Andrew Rule when he was at The Age (2001) and Gary Hughes of The Australian (2009).
Oakes received a $20,000 prize and a plaque at the Melbourne Press Club Quill awards dinner at Crown Palladium in Melbourne on April 1 2011.
Three other journalists were short‐listed for the award. They were Herald Sun Deputy Editor Jill Baker (for a personal account of her battle with cancer immediately after the death of her husband), Anthony Klan of The Australian (for more than 80 articles exposing flaws in the Federal Government’s “Building the Education Revolution” scheme) and Barrie Cassidy of ABC television for coverage of the federal election.
The Perkin commemorates the legendary editor of The Age who died prematurely at age 45 in 1975.
The judges for the 2010 award were Les Carlyon, Jana Wendt and Paul Kelly.
Carlyon, the chair of the judging panel, said: “Laurie Oakes last year did something few journalists ever do. He broke two stories that not only changed the course of a federal election campaign but also lingered until its end ... and perhaps even until this day. He was, as he so often has been in the past, the classic news‐breaker, an inspiration to journalists everywhere. His exclusive stories in 2010, the interviews he conducted during the campaign, his columns for the Herald Sun and the Daily Telegraph and his book On The Record, which appeared just after the election campaign – all these met the defining criteria for this award. And these criteria are that the journalism should be both memorable and excellent.”
A collection of Oakes' best journalism from 2010 is featured below.
Question to Julia Gillard at the National Press Club
Prime Minister Julia Gillard refused to answer Oakes' question on whether Kevin Rudd attempted to make a last minute deal with her to remain Prime Minister.
Columns in the Herald Sun and the Daily Telegraph
Laurie Oakes' political commentary columns appear in the Herald Sun and the Daily Telegraph every Saturday. Notable columns from 2010 include his analysis of Prime Minister Julia Gillard's federal election chances after knifing Kevin Rudd, his appraisal of her ill-fated citizens assembly and his commentary on the former Prime Minister's decision to campaign for her during the election.
Henrietta Cook, of Fairfax Community Network, has received the Young Journalist of the Year Award for her story on the two Ivanhoe Girls Grammar students banned from attending their school formal as partners.
Henrietta Cook speech
Henrietta entered a single story, that began with a simple question at a workshop for teachers and ended with front-page news in Australia and coverage around the world.
Henrietta was at a teachers’ workshop for the Victorian government’s pre-election initiative to tackle homophobia in schools. When she asked if there were any cases where same-sex couples had been an issue at school formals, the co-ordinator mentioned Ivanhoe Girls Grammar but gave no more details. Henrietta used Facebook to track down the students. She won the confidence of the girls and their parents to write a story that ran on the front page of The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. It created headlines around the world and the ensuing debate almost certainly changed attitudes in schools.
For asking the right question to the right person at the right time, for determination and tenacity and for her portrayal of a sensitive issue in a powerful but sympathetic way, the judges congratulate the 2010 Young Journalist of the Year, Henrietta Cook.
Geoff Wilkinson of the Herald Sun won the Melbourne Press Club Lifetime Achievement Award for a 40-year career that has included outstanding crime reporting, analysis of Victoria’s justice system and for being a key player in establishing the Crimestoppers program in Victoria while he was Victoria Police’s first media director.