Journalism in more than 30 categories was recognised for excellence at the 2020 gala Quill Awards dinner on Friday March 26, with the work showcased on the night demonstrating more than ever how much Victorian media mattered in the past year.
The pandemic which stopped the world in its tracks was reflected in winning entries across categories, from Matt Golding’s cartoon about hoarding and The Age online’s multi-platform cutting-edge coverage to 60 Minutes and A Current Affair reports (both by Christine Ahern) that exposed the bungled hotel quarantine scheme and failures in a Melbourne aged care home which enabled infections to run out of control in the community. The Age’s Rachael Dexter and Justin McManus won the Innovation in Journalism Quill for documenting lives in lockdown while the tragic implications of the crisis were distilled in the winning Features Photograph, by Chris Hopkins, of reunited sisters, one terminally ill, farewelling each other through a window.
But Coronavirus was by no means the only story. In a year in which the Black Lives Matter movement swept across the Western world, the issue of systemic racism was drawn into sharp focus locally and was reflected in separate winning entries at the Quills addressing entrenched disadvantage and discrimination experienced by Indigenous footballers. An Australian Story report on the trials of Richmond’s Marlion Pickett won the inaugural Quill for Recognising Excellence in Indigenous Affairs Reporting, while reportage on the devastating racism suffered by 1970s St Kilda player Robert Muir won ABC reporter Russell Jackson both the Quill for Sports Feature and the Gold Quill for best overall category winner. The Gold Quill judges’ choice was a popular one, with Jackson receiving a standing ovation on the night following an emotional speech about his relationship with Muir, who he had met in person for the first time at the event.
Read more about the Victorian reporting that made a difference in 2020
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