The Walkley awards were begun by a prominent oil baron. How do we reconcile their history and future?

Sun, 24 Dec 2023 20:01:37 +1100

Andrew Pam <xanni [at]>

Andrew Pam

"In May this year, Belinda Noble, former journalist and the founder of Comms
Declare, an organisation representing media professionals who won’t promote the
expansion of fossil fuels, wrote on Ampol’s sponsorship of the nation’s premier
journalism prizes, the Walkley Awards.

Three months later, Walkley Award-winning cartoonist Jon Kudelka announced he
would boycott the 2023 Walkleys because of this sponsorship. He was soon joined
by scores of other cartoonists, who linked the issue to the omission of a
dedicated award for climate-focused journalism.

The controversies for the 2023 awards didn’t end there. On September 2,
journalist Osman Faruqi wrote about the racist views expressed by the founder
of the awards, oil baron Sir William (Bill) Walkley. The Walkley Foundation
issued an apology for these views that day.

This week, the winners of the 67th Walkleys will be announced, so it is timely
to discuss how we reconcile our present attitudes and knowledge with historical
realities – and how resistant is our media to being seduced by powerful

       *** Xanni ***
--               Andrew Pam                 Chief Scientist, Xanadu            Partner, Glass Wings               Manager, Serious Cybernetics

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