I first picked up The Walkley Magazine as a final year journalism student at QUT in 2006. I still remember the purple Jon Kudelka cover (with neanderthals cartooning on a cave wall), which arrived in the mailbox of my Brisbane sharehouse as part of my student MEAA membership. It was a tantalising peek into the processes and thoughts of real journalists, and as rarefied as that world seemed, it felt thrilling to be part of the club in a small way.
A couple of months later I made my first trip to Sydney to intern at the Walkley Foundation. To my delight, the yearbook issue of the Magazine was in production while I was there, with Jane Worthington steering a tight ship. I proofread pages, searched for cartoons and in the proudest moment of my short media career I convinced Jane to use my coverline “so hot right now” with Robin Cowcher’s blazing cover illustration on climate change.
Little did I know I’d spend much of the next ten years doing the same thing.
The Walkley Magazine has been a constant in my life, as it has for many MEAA members and journalists. Founding editor Jacqui Park wrote beautifully last issue about how the magazine came to life and what it means for the media in Australia and New Zealand to have this unique forum, and under her I learned so much.
This is a time of change for us at the Walkleys. Like so many in our industry, we’re thinking hard about our mission and role in journalism, how we can nurture and encourage the best reporting and ensure it is valued for a strong future.
We’re also conscious that with public trust in journalism at a low point around the world, we have an important role to play in rebuilding that trust. One way to do that is through transparency and championing good work. Sharing the stories of how journalism is made, the challenges journalists overcome,and the impact that great journalism can have helps educate all Australians on the essential role of our craft in their democracy and society.
The Walkleys are a platform for the industry to come together and share knowledge and ideas. That platform will continue online, alongside stories that go behind the making of great journalism. Our long term project is a full digital archive of past Walkley winning stories, and we’re working on other regular features and podcasts that go behind the scenes of killer yarns.
While the Walkley Magazine won’t be slipping into mailboxes any more, stories will continue to roll out online here on Medium. Make sure you’ve signed up for our email newsletter and follow along on social media to stay up to date with new stories.
That online offering will include more of the Walkleys Journalism Explored essay series, which makes it debut in these pages with thoughtful, analytical pieces from Richard Ackland, Amelia Lester and Michael Green. We thank the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund for their support on this project.
As we mark the end of a print era, I want to pay tribute to the many people who have made The Walkley Magazine what it is over the years.
From the beginning, our publisher Victoria Horden has kept our pages crisp, colourful and delivered on time, with grace and calm even while we test her on deadlines. I know Victoria has gone above and beyond with the Walkley Mag because she’s passionate about its importance to our readers.
Those pages have looked so fabulous because of the tireless work of our designer Louise Summerton. She has absorbed more about our Walkley winners and stories than probably anyone in the world. And we’ve shared delight in the brilliant cartoons, artwork and images we’ve been able to build layouts around.
A crew of amazing editorial brains have steered the ship that Jacqui built. Jane Worthington, Jonathan Este, Sam Bungey, Jenny Tabakoff, Flynn Murphy, Alison Larsen, Mike Dobbie, Kate Golden, Lauren Dixon, Helen Sullivan, Kate Prendergast and many more. Stellar sub-editors including Jo McKinnon and Kate Bice have kept our copy clean and sharp. MEAA’s Melissa McAllister has crunched the numbers to manage the mailouts for members. Peter Bartlett from Minter Ellison has helped us with legal advice. Photo editors and image librarians have helped us source wonderful visuals. And hundreds of contributors have given their time, their words, their shots and scribbles. Thank you all.
I know every person I’ve mentioned above has, like me, found it an utter privilege to have a hand in publishing the very best Australian cartoonists, artists, photographers, writers and journalists. I reckon it might be the best job in the world — and we’ll keep doing that work in new platforms. Stick with us, and thanks for reading.