Les Kennedy Award for Outstanding Crime Reporting – Dan Box (The Australian)
Paul Lockyer Award for Outstanding Regional Broadcast Reporting Joanna Woodburn (ABC TV)
Chris Watson Award for Outstanding Regional Newspaper Reporting – Andrew Pearson (Illawarra Mercury)
Rod Allen Award for Racing Writer of the Year – Ray Thomas (Daily Telegraph)
Outstanding Turf Reporting – Andrew Webster (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sean Flannery Award for Outstanding Radio Reporting – Giselle Wakatama (ABC)
Outstanding Radio Current Affairs Reporting and Audio Blog – Dan Box Eric George (The Australian)
Outstanding News Photo Rohan Kelly (Sunday Telegraph)
Outstanding Portrait Alex Ellinghausen (Sydney Morning Herald)
Outstanding Sport Photo – Brett Costello (Daily Telegraph)
Outstanding Online Video – Bill Code (BBC Online)
People’s Choice Photo – Gordon McKomiskie, (Daily telegraph)
Cliff Neville Award – Outstanding Team Player – Phil Kwok
Peter Frilingos Award for Outstanding Sports Reporting – Nick Tabakoff (Daily Telegraph)
Outstanding Travel Writing –Joe Aston (Australian Financial Review)
2016 Young Journalist of the Year Eryk Bagshaw (Sydney Morning Herald)
John Newfong Award for Outstanding Indigenous Affairs Reporting –Ben Hills (SBS)
Lifetime Achievement Award – John Smith (The Daily Telegraph)
Gary Ticehurst Award Outstanding TV News Camera Coverage Cameron Wallis (7 News)
Harry Potter Award for Outstanding Television News Reporting – Robert Ovadia and Chris Maher (7 News)
Outstanding Television Current Affairs Reporting (long form, over 30 minutes) – Caro Meldrum-Hanna, Clay Hichens, Mario Christodoulou (Four Corners ABC TV)
Outstanding Television Current Affairs Reporting (short form) Rebecca Le Tourneau, Allison Langdon (60 Minutes)
Outstanding Finance Reporting – Adele Ferguson, Mario Christodoulou, Klaus Toft Fairfax/Four Corners;
Outstanding Court Reporting – Candace Sutton (Daily Mail)
Outstanding Consumer Affairs Reporting Sarah Dingle, Joel Tozer, Jaya Balendra (Four Corners ABC TV)
Peter Ruehl Award for Outstanding Columnist – Jacqueline Maley (Sydney Morning Herald)
Outstanding Online News Breaking Ava Benny Morrison, Lisa Visentin, Nick Ralston (Sydney Morning Herald)
Outstanding Reporting on the Environment – Peter Hannam (Sydney Morning Herald)
2016 Scoop of the Year Dan Nolan (A Current Affair)
2016 Vince O’Farrell Award: Outstanding Illustration – John Shakespeare (Sydney Morning Herald)
Outstanding Investigative Reporting – Adele Ferguson, Klaus Toft, Sarah Danckert (Fairfax/ABC TV)
2016 Jim Oram Award: Outstanding Feature Writing – Trent Dalton (The Australian)
Outstanding Political Reporting David Speers (SKY News)
2016 Coca–Cola Journalist of the Year – Adele Ferguson (Fairfax/Four Corners)
LEGENDS AND THEIR LEGACIES
“It is a sad, sad day when we lose one of our own too early. So it is with Les Kennedy … legendary crime reporter Les leaves a legacy of great public service. He told our readers what was really going on.”
Greg Hywood, Fairfax CEO, August 10, 2011
“Les Kennedy’s journalistic legacy is right up there with some of the great names of Sydney crime reporting who worked in bygone eras. He was up there with the best and will be sorely missed.”
John Hartigan, News Ltd CEO, August 10, 2011
THE STORY OF THE KENNEDY AWARDS
On Friday, August 10, 2012, NSW’s finest journalists gathered to celebrate the memories of six industry legends and their legacies.
Les Kennedy, Cliff Neville, Sean Flannery, Paul Lockyer, Peter Ruehl and Gary Ticehurst were all masters of their craft – dedicated, passionate professionals who entertained, enlightened, and informed millions of Australians over the past five decades.
The idea for these awards was hatched in a pub when Les’ close friends and fellow veteran crime reporters Steve Barrett and Adam Walters combined with his former editors, friends and family in February 2012. They had a plan to preserve Les Kennedy’s memory in something far more profound than the beer-soaked sentiment of bar banter.
They realised that unlike the other states and territories New South Wales did not properly recognise journalists doing battle in one of the world’s most competitive news markets.
The committee aimed to launch the Kennedy Awards on Friday August 10, 2012, the first anniversary of Les Kennedy’s death at the age of 53. It was a tough deadline, not just because of the logistics, sponsors and media support that needed addressing and securing. This was to be a very emotional journey.
There was no looking back after the Premier agreed to present the Kennedy Award for NSW Journalist of the Year. From that point the doors flew open in a remarkably enthusiastic and passionate response from sponsors and hundreds of other colleagues.
On August 10, 2011, more than 250 people gathered at the Kauri Foreshore Hotel in Glebe to farewell the legend who was the inimitable, irrepressible Les Kennedy.
It was to be a last goodbye to Les, but he had died just eight hours earlier. And so it became an extraordinary celebration of a life lived large by one of the true characters in Australian journalism.
At Les’ impromptu wake, chain-smoking tabloid warriors rubbed shoulders with the corduroy of broadsheet aficionados, senior cops clinked glasses with lawyers and barristers representing the underworld and many young journalists — mentored by Les – were there, trying to get a firm grip on batons he had passed-on to each and every one of them, and not one schooner hit the floor! Along with the amber fluid flowed myriad tributes. Les’ farewell was a truly remarkable gathering – and the inspiration for what happened exactly 12 months later.
As word of the awards spread, close friends and colleagues of five other legends lost in the last year suggested they be honoured in this celebration of quality NSW journalism.
Veteran television producer and newspaperman Cliff Neville is remembered in the Most Outstanding Team Player Award named in his honour. It’s finally time to sing the praises of this unsung hero and magnificent team player who was the glue that held Sixty Minutes together
The “most loveable rogue to ever hold a microphone” – Sean Flannery – is honoured in the category of Most Outstanding Radio Report.
Paul Lockyer – a veteran ABC and Channel Nine journalist – a foreign correspondent who came home to his beloved bush to bring us stories about the people who are the heart of Australia. The award of Regional Reporting of the Year is appropriately named after a man who staked a serious claim to the outback as his story.
Peter Ruehl was once described by Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood as a “national institution,” and by a former editor as a columnist who “launched a 24-year love affair with Australian readers.” Peter is remembered for his wit and wisdom in the Most Outstanding Columnist Award.
Gary Ticehurst was a hero to many after he helped save lives in the 1998 Sydney-Hobart tragedy – and a dedicated helicopter pilot who provided a spectacular platform for hundreds of his ABC camera colleagues to shoot memorable aerial pictures. The award for Most Outstanding TV News Camera Coverage is named after Gary.
By July 2, 2012, the organisers of the inaugural Kennedy Awards had attracted more than 400 entries across 30 categories, judged by a distinguished panel led by former News Ltd CEO John Hartigan, long-serving Nine News director Paul Fenn and Ian Heads, OAM.
By August 10 the Kennedy Awards left the dry dock and set sail for the first time as 460 quality journalists, relatives of those we honoured and special guests filled the room in what would become one of the great nights in the history of NSW journalism.
In 2013 we did it all again and the Kennedy Awards was established as a fixture on the NSW events calendar, with the Chris Watson Award introduced to recognise excellence in NSW regional newspaper journalism.
In 2014 the Harry Potter Award for Outstanding Television News Reporting and the Jim Oram Award for Outstanding Feature Writing were added to the distinguished list of legends honoured by the industry every August.
The Kennedy Awards is organised by the Kennedy Foundation, a registered charity helping media professionals in hardship, with compassion – in confidence – and supporting other community organisations.
Click 2016 Sponsorship Packages or contact Kennedy Foundation General Manager STEVE WARNOCK via firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0424 407717
Tribute to 2016 Lifetime Achievement Winner John Smith
By Mark Day, published in The Australian
There is a view among old newspaper hounds that we had the best of it. We flourished in the golden years — the 1950s through to the end of the 80s — when newspapers and those who filled them with racy yarns were admired, not vilified.
We used to pride ourselves on getting it first and getting it right. We were full of dash and daring and people bought our products for news that told them what they didn’t know.
It’s all changed now, of course. Today’s generation has good reason to ask what yesterday’s men would know about search engine optimisation, data diving or repurposing copy for phones, tablets or Facebook.
So it’s nice to see the news men and women of today pay respect to one of the old-timers .
At Friday night’s Kennedy Awards in Sydney, the old photographer and Daily Telegraph picture editor John Smith received a lifetime achievement award.
The Kennedys, named after the late crime reporter Les Kennedy, are awards for NSWbased journalists, complementing the Quills in Victoria.
This is their fifth year and John Smith follows crime reporters Harry Potter and Phil Cornford and sportswriter Ian Heads as recipients of the lifetime achievement award.
Smithy is 87 now and a great character. He still has his rapier wit, his conversational zingers, his pet sayings such as “the editor will be pleased” and his raffish charm. I am delighted to call him a friend and I call him from time to time to see how he’s doing.
“I’m all right,” he says, “but if I knew I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself.” Amen to that.
Smithy was 16 when he commenced as a copy boy at Frank Packer’s Telegraph in 1946. He started work the same day as Phillip Knightley, who went on to head the London Sunday Times investigative team and expose Britain’s Cold War spies.
Smithy was working as the late stop copy boy one night when an escaped convict named Antonio
Martini was involved in a shootout in North Sydney.
“I stole an old Speed Graphic camera from the darkroom and went with the late stop sub to the scene where I photographed a terrified bloke in a phone box with bullet holes in it,” Smithy says. “I had four exposures and two flash bulbs, but neither worked, so my pictures were failures.
“The next day I got a telegram at home saying Mr Packer wanted to see me. I thought that would be the end of me for stealing the camera , but Mr Packer said I had done well. He said ‘Don’t waste your time with the scribblers; I’m going to move you to photographic.’”
That was 1948. Four years later Smithy was in the Korean War frontline, attached to the Australian 3 Battalion, with which his father had served in France during World War I. He documented life in the trenches for Australian newspapers.
Today press photographers can snap a picture and immediately email the shot in a matter of seconds via satphones to anywhere in the world.
“It was different then,” says Smithy. “I took a picture of wounded Aussies coming out of the front line on my Rolleiflex, then sent the film back to field headquarters, where it was then flown to Commonwealth Forces HQ in Tokyo, then on to Australia for processing. It appeared on front pages about a week after I took the shot.”
Smithy spent most of the 50s on the road. He recalls another encounter with Mr Packer after he lavished a bottle of fine champagne on a young lady after the
“I was called to his office and I thought, ‘I’m on toast here’ . Mr Packer said ‘Sit down, son,’ then talked about the Cup and the tennis for a while. Then he said: ‘What’s this taking sheilas out on my money?’ I said I fully intended to pay, of course, and he said: ‘You’re a good liar’ . That was the end of it.”
Another famous Smithy story followed a prolonged drink after covering a royal tour in Canberra with fellow snapper John Jones. The Telegraph’s picturegram truck was spotted allegedly being driven erratically through a Canberra backstreet.
Federal police pulled the truck over and demanded names. “I’m John Jones,” said Jones, to which one copper snarled: “And I suppose you’re John Smith.”
Smithy brought his rapier wit and gift for a quick quip into play. He replied: “Yes, officer.” Jones produced his press pass and one Fed said: “Hey this one is John Jones.”
And when Smithy showed his pass the other incredulous Fed said “And this one is John Smith.” Fortunately all parties were amused and they both escaped with a warning.
Smithy took on a desk job in 1970 when he became the Tele’s picture editor. When Rupert Murdoch bought the masthead in 1972 Frank Packer cried as he watched his staff leave.
“You can stay here, son,” he said to Smithy. “I have a job here for you.” Smithy replied that he felt he had to go with his team but asked if he could buy his company car.
“How much?” Packer asked. When Smithy named his price of $1200 Packer said “You’re a good poker player. I’ll think about it.” Two weeks later Smithy was asked to pay $1 for the transfer fee.
It’s trite but true: Smithy represents an era passed. We will never return to those days and unhappily it won’t be long before the notion of newspapers employing staff photographers is also consigned to the dustbin. That has already happened in many US cities.
Virtually nothing newsworthy happens today without someone, somewhere, capturing the event on a smartphone.
Their pictures or video are grist for the 24/7 television news mill and frequently make the front pages of newspapers.
These shots are not professionally staged or lit, but they carry undeniable impact.
Smithy is the first press photographer to be honoured with a Kennedy lifetime achievement award.
The editor will be pleased, but chances are he’ll be the last.