COMMENDED: Fiona Myers – The Weekly Times – “Water wisdom”

An easy to read piece about a topical, and at times complex, issue, providing practical and relatable information for others to learn from.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Kate Dowler – The Weekly Times – “Jigsaw solution”

Dowler’s well-honed writing skills and incorporation of science-based and statistical data stood out.

WINNER: Sue Neales – The Weekly Times – “Charles in charge”

A quality piece of writing coupled with strong images and eloquent prose.  An almost fable-like introduction made the reader want to know more instantly.



COMMENDED: Tim Lee – ABC Landline – “The good oil”

Lee’s wide-ranging entry shows that safflower oil as a strong contender in the race to find net zero carbon cycle alternatives to petroleum is a good news story for farmers, scientists and consumers.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Jeanette Severs – Dairy News – “Dairy of excellence”

Severs story on the factors that led the Blackshaw family to leave the dairy industry would have sparked discussions among other farmers who are thinking about their future plans.

WINNER: Sue Neales – The Weekly Times – “Big Mac”

Neales’ profile on Liz O’Leary, who heads the Macquarie Agriculture’s multi-billion dollar portfolio, is an insight to both the business and the woman in charge. It is packed with information and enlivened by details.



COMMENDED: Harrison Tippet – Geelong Advertiser – “A place to call home”

Tippet highlights a personal experience of homelessness, with care and attention to detail.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Sue Smethurst – The Australian Women’s Weekly – “They’ll bury me in my yellows”

This story highlights diversity and takes an experience of a Gippsland fire brigade around the world.

WINNER: Charmayne Allison – Shepparton News – “Last boy standing”

Allison secured the trust of her subject, a man who lost two brothers to suicide. She tells his story with sympathy, in a way that moves her audience.



COMMENDED: Sean Wales – ABC Wimmera – “Johnny Mullagh”

An insightful feature into the story of Johnny Mullagh, important for a national audience.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Tyrone Dalton – ABC Central Victoria – “Fanny Finch remembered”

Fascinating exploration of a piece of history buried with time. Compellingly told.     

WINNER: Jess Davis – ABC Background Briefing – “A country hospital fears it won’t cope”

A phenomenal insight into the challenges, focus and spirit of people working to protect their communities during the coronavirus pandemic.  It explored challenges for rural health broadly but also allowed for touching personal insight. 



COMMENDED: Jess Davis and Andy Burns – ABC News – “As rivers and dams dry up”

A well-researched and written article details how large corporations are buying up groundwater titles, making what could be a very technical and complicated story easy to understand.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Fiona Pepper, ABC, ‘When a space visitor came to country Victoria’

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the meteorite landing, Pepper’s story of the Murchison meteorite landing involves careful research and demonstrates the value of great online layout.

WINNER:  Greg Dundas – Geelong Advertiser – Pyramid Building Society collapse

A fascinating story and one whose hurt remains raw. Dundas manages to explain the financial and legal aspects of the Pyramid Building Society collapse in a way that is digestible, as well as highlighting the voices and emotion of those who were impacted.



COMMENDED: Jarrod Whittaker – ABC Gippsland – “90-year-old graduate”
A lovely positive piece, very well shot and scripted that gives voice and brings attention to an older person, something that’s important to reflect our community accurately.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Tim Lee – ABC Landline – ‘Holy Path’

Lee’s story gives a voice to diversity and shows great tenacity by the reporter to build a narrative and to follow a process over a lengthy period

WINNER: Jess Davis – ABC Landline – “Facing the future”

This is a very well shot and well told piece that tells a deeper story about the impact of the fires on farming families and businesses.



COMMENDED: Mim Cook – ABC Gippsland – “Sisters share AFLW dream”

A deeply local story that journeyed into these young AFL enthusiasts’ community and onto the field with them.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Adam Hill – Hamilton Spectator – “Return on Radar”

Sharp reporting to notice that jockey Melissa Julius had stopped racing and strong work to find out why and allow her to explain in her words how her mental health issues made her seek a break and refresh.

WINNER: Sian Gard and Beth Gibson – ABC Central Victoria – “Balloon football brings out competitive side”

This was an original topic, shot and narrated with clear vision and words. The interviewing showed a great degree of care. The celebration pictures at the end was outstanding and uplifting.



COMMENDED: Shana Morgan – Border Mail –“Love vote”

A national and international story that resonated across Australia but more so for a regional Victoria, demonstrating how a small community could lead the way for change.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Shannon Twomey and Chantelle Francis – The Weekly Times – “Web link exposed”

This entry not only relies on great storytelling, exposing a serious conflict of interest, but demonstrates that it pays to be persistent when you know you are right.

WINNER: Natalie Kotsios – The Weekly Times – “Banks go for the gun”

This well-written and intriguing report is an example of the how the media can and must stand up for those whose voice can get lost in bureaucracy.



COMMENDED: Leonie Thorne – ABC Mildura-Swan Hill –“Fijian farm workers in Victoria may be human trafficking victims”

This story represents excellent collaboration to bring to light concern around human trafficking in regional Victoria.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Kellie Lazzaro – ABC Gippsland – “Samantha Fraser murder committal”

Lazzaro’s coverage of the committal hearing of Adrian Basham demonstrates highly developed court reporting skills as she clearly and compellingly tracked the events associated with the death of Samantha Fraser.

WINNER: Mim Cook – ABC Gippsland – “Summer fires”

Cook delivered outstanding coverage of the devastating summer fires. Professional and powerful, Cook’s composed handling of a story, as it navigated through fire fronts, superbly integrated the voices of those directly affected.



COMMENDED: Alexandria Tzatzimakis, Carrie-Anne Greenbank, Chris Kohler, Toby Just, Billy Friend and Sally Hayles, – Nine Local News – East Gippsland fires

The Nine News team should be applauded for overcoming significant practical challenges to deliver comprehensive and meaningful live bushfires coverage as the East Gippsland fires still raged.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Kellie Lazzaro and Andy Burns – ABC Gippsland – Lyrica

Lazzaro gives a masterclass in breaking a strong local story and elevating it to the national level.

WINNER: Charlotte King and Andy Burns – ABC Ballarat – Doctor resigns over patient safety

This comprehensive and powerful story employed new information and compelling storytelling to highlight an issue of significant concern to country communities. The inclusion of details about previously unreported medical incidents and breaking the news of a regional obstetrician’s resignation, made the story a genuine exclusive.



COMMENDED: Chanel Zagon – Geelong Advertiser – “Parking price hike”

Zagon noticed a budgeting error that would have a significant impact on Geelong workers paying for parking. This story is about accountability and keeping those in authority honest.

COMMENDED: Natalie Croxon – Bendigo Advertiser- “Ring girls”

Identifying and asking questions about an issue can become ‘news’ itself and that’s exactly what Croxon achieved with this story.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Cherie von Hörchner, Christopher Testa, Kai Feng and Andy Burns – ABC Mildura Swan Hill – “Mildura flying school allegedly funded with embezzled Chinese loans”

A well-researched and indepth story based on a feeling ‘that something wasn’t right’. The team also showed it’s essential to fully research and fact check before publishing.

WINNER: Daniel Miles – ABC South West Victoria – “Deportation threat to family just weeks out from daughter’s VCE due to father’s kidney diagnosis”

One of the great ‘privileges’ for a journalist is telling a story for those whose voices need a platform to be heard. Miles achieved this with his heartfelt story featuring the plight of the Manikam family.



COMMENDED: Rodney Braithwaite – Shepparton News

A striking shot that clearly shows how close to Euroa this fire came and the entire hill being ablaze adds greatly to this shot.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Darren Howe – Bendigo Advertiser

There is no mistaking the grief and sadness in this picture. The painting the gentleman is carrying is obviously part of this sad story.

WINNER: Mark Jesser – Border Mail

Photographers regularly spend time sitting outside various legal establishments and there are many challenges associated with getting the shot. Jesser has done a fine job in a tight spot.



COMMENDED: Megan Fisher – Shepparton News

One of a number of fine ‘reaction’ pictures. We liked the way the eye is drawn to the centre of a pack of obviously elated payers.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Adam Trafford – Ballarat Courier

We were struck by the steely ‘comin’ to get ya’ look of determination on the subject’s face. The out-of-focus foreground provides a colourful frame for an extremely intense stare.

WINNER: Kate Healy – Ballarat Courier

A wonderfully miserable picture of a thoroughly miserable day. This shot needs no explanation and speaks volumes as it beautifully tells the story.



COMMENDED: Adam Trafford – Ballarat Courier

A nice, happy pic that points well to the accompanying story

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Adam Trafford – Ballarat Courier

A very nice piece of portrait photography.  Well-lit and excellent use of shadow. You can feel the quiet sadness of the subject as he reflects on his troubles.

WINNER: Darren Howe – Bendigo Advertiser

A moving shot. The obviously helpless patient and her husband and the pictures on the wall hinting at an earlier life match the gloomy shadowy mood of the lighting. But you get the feeling of quiet strength from the husband



COMMENDED: Madeline Palmer – WIN News

Palmer thrived with the timeliness of her reporting, investigating issues which impacted her community with a matter of urgency. Her ability to localise state and national issues for her local audience was outstanding. 


The clarity and diversity of Sean’s reporting is commendable. His ability to interpret and report news and current affairs is of public interest to his local audience.

WINNER: Riordan Davis, ABC Gippsland

Davis possesses all the attributes of an outstanding journalist, with their reporting monitoring power, influence and big business through their investigative piece of seismic testing. They provided a diverse range of informative content about matters of importance, proving they were in tune to elements which made great reporting, such as timeliness, exclusivity, prominence, relevance and scale.



WINNER: Rodney Braithwaite – Shepparton News

Braithwaite exhibited a very high standard of work across all categories, showing creativity and thought which proved he is obviously at home in many situations.



COMMENDED: Brooke Littlewood – Sunraysia Daily

Littlewood has stayed true to telling important stories for her community, of drought and family violence, in an incredibly challenging year.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Charmayne Allison – Riverine Herald and Shepparton News

Allison’s care and compassion is evident in her reporting. She has a tell-all style that starts healthy conversations in the communities she covers about mental health.

WINNER: Greg Dundas – Geelong Advertiser

Dundas, year in year out, works hard to tell stories of value to the Geelong community. This year he becomes the Maykbe Diva of regional journalism with his third-successive journalist of the year win.



COMMENDED: The Geelong Advertiser

Always a strong contender for this award and special recognition goes to their campaign on teen suicide in the COVID 19 era, a difficult subject that they recognised early, demanding authorities to do the same and forced action to be taken. 180 years strong, The Addie’s contribution to the Geelong community is undeniable


In the biggest news year in memory, and possibly in its 150-year history, the Weekly Times continued to provide high quality journalism covering all the major issues. What stood out this year was the culmination of their long-term campaign to see regulation finally toughened to address the horrendous toll taken nationally by quad bike roll overs.

WINNER: ABC Gippsland

ABC Gippsland’s entry showed just why local radio is so important. The 2020 fire season will be remembered as brutal and long. As an emergency broadcaster, ABC Gippsland’s constant reporting throughout the long campaign provided information that helped maintain community safety under extreme conditions. Their journalists showed a deep commitment to providing news on all available platforms, a great example of modern reporting.