Scout Wallen wins 2022 Journalism Student of the Year



The 2022 Ossie Award winners, showcasing Australia’s best student journalism, were announced at the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia conference in Perth.

Links to the stories and judges’ comments are below, where publicly available.

A young woman smiling
University of Queensland’s Scout Wallen is JERAA’s 2022 APC Journalism Student of the Year, Image: supplied

The Australian Press Council Prize for Journalism Student of the Year ($750 prize)

Winner –   Scout Wallen, University of Queensland

Scout Wallen stood out from a remarkably strong pack, for her drive and determination to find original stories and tell them in compelling ways. The judges were impressed by the scope and quality of her reporting across multiple platforms, and her strong academic record, including several Dean’s Commendations for excellence.

Judges: Members of the Australian Press Council


Highly commended –

  • Isaac Irons, University of Queensland
  • Meghan Dansie, University of Melbourne
  • Both students displayed strong portfolios of highly professional work across a range of platforms.


The Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas Award for Scoop of the Year by an undergraduate or postgraduate student ($200 prize)

Winner – Grace Baldwin, Monash University, Bailey Smith’s first interview: ‘I went days without getting out of bed’

Bailey Smith’s first interview is a genuine, proper scoop. Grace Baldwin was the first journalist to get Bailey on tape after he went to ground following publicly aired mental health concerns and drug allegations, and she did a thoroughly good job. Her method showed persistence and it’s clear she worked hard to establish trust with Bailey to land this original interview, showing strong use of reporting craft. The vision and audio were solid – technical craft skills that take some mastering.

Judges: Andrea Ho and Andrew Griffiths, Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas

Highly commended –

  • Van Anh Pham, Western Sydney University: The terror of war on children. Van Anh deploys good shoe-leather reporting and works her original sources to track down talent, earning this piece a High Commendation. Van Anh’s depiction of her subjects is compassionate and empathetic, and gives the reader a holistic sense of the lives they live today. The focus on the other children seen around Kim Phuc in the infamous photo is a welcome angle.
  • Thomas Monaghan, RMIT: The Rise of the Creator. Thomas has delivered a genuinely interesting and insightful feature containing thoughtful and original content on the intersecting topics of digital communities, the adult entertainment industry, through an LGBTQI+ lens. Thomas has cast a spotlight into a non-mainstream issue, which certainly earns this piece a high commendation.


Best text-based story by an undergraduate or postgraduate student – 750 words or less ($200)

Winner – Zoe Malliaris, Swinburne University of Technology: Sports gambling ‘out-of-control’: Clubs unite to reduce impact on young men

Zoe Malliaris’ piece on sports gambling among young males was strengthened by her case study and strong quotations and data.

Judge: Bruce McKenzie, ABC North Coast

Highly Commended ­–


Best text-based story by an undergraduate student – over 750 words ($200)

Winner – Sara Garrity, University of Canberra: Expanding Canberra: today’s solution, tmrw’s problem

Her balanced, thoughtful and well-written piece on building on bushfire-prone land humanised and clarified an important policy issue in which there are no easy answers.

Judge – Myriam Robin, Australian Financial Review

Highly commended –

  • Sam Baker, University of Newcastle: Dark Side of the Mountain. Baker’s extensively researched retrospective into the disappearance and likely murder of a young woman sensitively handled an extremely difficult topic.
  • Luke Robbins, University of Western Sydney: Paradise Lost: Inequality in Australian Alps. Robbins’ examination of the growing difficulties for middle-class and poor families accessing publicly-owned national parks was an interesting piece that ably shone an uncomfortable light on a cherished Australian myth.


A group of people stand together outside at night.
Isaac Irons with The Australian investigating reporter Hedley Thomas and Shandee’s mother. Image: The Australian

The Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas Award for best text-based Story by a postgraduate student – over 750 words ($200)

Winner –  Isaac Irons, University of Queensland: Shandee’s Story: I re-enacted a killer’s footsteps – and proved the ‘impossible’

Isaac Iron’s deceptively simple feature distils a complex, sprawling and sensitive investigation, providing a compelling and memorable answer to one of its key questions in the process. It was confidently executed, elegantly written, and not a word longer than it needed to be.

Judge – Myriam Robin, Australian Financial Review.

Highly Commended ­–


Best audio story (short-form) by an undergraduate or postgraduate student ($200)

Winner –  Sanjana Jose, UNSW Sydney: What minor parties bring to the table

This piece ticked a lot of boxes when it comes to a great piece of current affairs radio. The script easily hooked the audience in with a good use of vox pops and audio.  The audio grabs from interview subjects were well chosen and provided a plenty of information while also keeping the audience’s attention. It was a well presented piece of audio which set out to answer a clear question and left the audience with a better understanding of the topic.

Judge: Madeleine Genner, ABC Radio Current Affairs

Highly commended ­–

  • Claudia McDonnell, UNSW Sydney: Welcoming Poles channel war anxiety for good. This audio piece told a powerful story of the refugee experience. While it largely relied on one interview, it was well told and easily captured the audience’s attention given the raw emotions on display in the interview.
  • Su Yen Tan, Monash University – The White Flag Movement in Malaysia. This piece looked at an issue that had not been widely discussed in mainstream Australian media. It provided new information and interesting insights about how groups in Malaysia were dealing with the pandemic.


Best audio story (long-form) by an undergraduate or postgraduate student ($200)

Winner –  Meghan Dansie, University of Melbourne: Gone Girl

Meghan Dansie’s search for the first woman to graduate from Melbourne University is a confident and creative piece of audio journalism. In Gone Girl, Megan follows the thread of the story in a compelling way, posing interesting questions and interrogating larger ideas about who is remembered in history and why, and how those messages continue to affect the lives of women today.

Judge: Ruby Jones, Schwartz Media

Highly commended –

  • Mustafa Nuristani, Xinyue Huang, Xiaowei Chang, University of Melbourne: The Plant with Many Names is a unique idea that is told in an absorbing and thoughtful manner. It’s a thoroughly researched investigation with excellent tone, scripting, interviewing and sound design.
  • Sanjana Jose, Madison Howarth, Vivienne Crowle, and Jacob Sukkienik, UNSW Sydney: Let’s Talk Racism: Why we need disruptive solutions. This series interrogates its subject matter in a sharp, smart, and engaging way. The hosts have great range, and each episode is well conceived of, with astute interviews.


Best video story (short-form) by an undergraduate or postgraduate student  ($200)

A news reporter presents to the camera
University of Queensland Scout Wallen reporting on rental struggles in the Illawarra.

Winner –  Scout Wallen, University of Queensland: Rental Struggles

Scout has shown initiative in taking her own difficulties in the rental market and creating a story from it. That’s the basis for many strong local stories: asking how many other people are experiencing this problem? There is thoughtfulness and maturity in her scripting and presentation. Not many students on work attachment can say they’ve had a lead story on local news. And from her CV, Scout is clearly making the most of every opportunity.

Judge: Brett McLeod, Nine News

Highly commended –


Best video story (long-form) by an undergraduate or postgraduate student ($200)

Winner –  Aston Brown, UTS: Sydney Graffiti – Love, Hate and Addiction

Winning over those who literally work in the shadows is no mean feat. Hearing the graffiti artists speak candidly about the addiction of what they do was very illuminating, and a new perspective on what we normally hear. And the addition of those who volunteer to clean up the painting really rounds this out well. A lot of hard slog has gone into making this, which is very commendable. This is a very valuable contribution to a debate that will always inspire passions.

Judge: Brett McLeod, Nine

Highly commended –

  • Jazmyn Gillies, UTS: Hope Behind Bars. Her piece on prisons and those who found salvation in Christianity was extremely skilful in its presentation.
  • Wren Gillet, Monash University: Being Elliot. This documentary about Elliot Coleman and Elliott Barrington about their experience as transgender men gave a delightful and candid insight to their worlds.


John Newfong Prize for reporting on Indigenous affairs ($200)

Winner –  Monique Mita, Griffith University: Fight to Prevent the Whale on the Hill

This podcast episode demonstrated Monique Mita’s understanding and grasp of all facets of audio storytelling, from the high production values of the final recording, through to the journalists’ own thorough research, writing and delivery of an otherwise overlooked news story. What was most pleasing to see was that Mita’s journalistic practice had the best interests of community at the centre of the work. It amplified their concerns and their voices, and it was clear to me that Mita took the time to develop genuine, trusting relationships within community, and was guided by community in producing the final work.

Judge – Jack Latimore, The Age

Highly commended –


Best Data Journalism by an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Student (individual or group) (Adobe Creative Cloud 12-month Subscription)

Winner – Grace Stranger, UTS: GPs bear the brunt as rural Australia falls behind on healthcare

Stranger’s entry stood out as her data visualisations worked seamlessly to help readers understand the scale of the healthcare crisis in regional Australia. I was impressed by her storytelling sense to pick data metrics that would provide maximum impact such as working hours of GPs, impacts on patients and which regions were underserved. Her technical ability also shone through in creating charts and maps in Flourish utilising colour and open-source map files that were interactive so audiences could adjust to their location. A lesson in how data journalism can enrich important public interest stories.

Judge: Mridula Amin, Google News Initiative

Highly commended –

  • Huangshenyi (Anny) Guan, University of Queensland – Guan’s work was a visually appealing investigation into how online shopping during COVID-19 has created huge demand in shipping parcels. This business story was enriched by pictorially showing an increase in packages per person per year, contents of deliveries and survey results – giving audiences a sense of the pressures facing delivery workers. The illustrated visualisations could easily work as standalone graphics for off-platform on social media sites which speaks to Guan’s creative talent as a journalist.


Best Visual Journalism by an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Student (all media, individual or group) ($200 prize)

Winner – UNSW Sydney: Andrena Kandiah, Laura Schofield, Surya Urs, and MDIA 2013 videographers (Nicole Tabuena; Vivienne Crowle; Jacob Lucas; Angeline Suriaatmaja; Clare Pinkerton; Kevin Tran; A.J. Abbasi; Alex Fiebig; Alexander Lu; Clement Sun; Austin McDonald; Yujie Zhang; Daniel Lim; Minlun Zhu; Tom Daley; Anaya Vora; Vanessa Ghaza): VR/360: ‘Sky pirates’ are a very human problem

I’ve seen many attempts at using VR in journalism over the last few years and this has to be up there among the most immersive and engaging. The footage shot by students was used to great effect, the soundscape was beautiful and the reporting itself was interesting, timely and engaging and the use of VR/360 video felt earnt and justified. I particularly liked the use of headlines displayed in the white VR landscape to demonstrate the overpowering amount of hate there was towards these gulls within the community.

Judge: Matilda Boseley, The Guardian

Highly commended –


Best publication (GBP100 book voucher, sponsored by Intellect Books)

Winner –  MOJO News Election 2022: Vas Shipp, Wren Gillett, Jonathan Hawes, Gabriela Rahardja, Conor Fowler, Monash University.

For extraordinary breadth and depth of coverage of the 2022 federal election, outstanding production values, organisation and breaking new ground in student journalism.

Judge: Saffron Howden, Crinkling News


A Singaporean drag queen dresses for a performance.
Filment Ho, Monash University, wins 2022 Best Photojournalism (single image) for their photo

Reuters Award for Best Photojournalism (Single image) by an undergraduate or postgraduate student

Winner – Filment Ho, Monash University: Life’s a drag: navigating through struggles in the pandemic

Filment Ho’s image provides an intimate look, taking the viewer into a world unseen, the simple reportage style composition and stark colour contrast make the image pop and brings impact to the image content.

Judge: Chris McGrath, Getty Images

Highly commended –

  • Dylan Gane, Edith Cowan University, Ambassa: Gane’s photograph is highly commended for its use of light and composition.


Reuters Award for Best Photojournalism (Photo essay) by an undergraduate or postgraduate student

Winner –  Emily Leventhal, UTS: Hard Rock Haven’s Long Goodbye: A Look Back on the Legend of Frankie’s Pizza.

Emily’s photo essay, Frankie’s Pizza, showed a thoughtful approach to visual storytelling and successfully informed the viewer through a flowing narrative, giving insights to the important parts of the story. The story itself, was chosen well, as a story that could create interesting and high impact images, that would grab the viewers’ attention, while documenting and sharing an important social issue.

Judge: Chris McGrath, Getty Images


fans watch a band play at a music venue
Emily Leventhal’s photo essay on the closing of hard rock music venue Frankie’s Pizza has won Best Photojournalism (Photo Essay) Award.


The Private Media Award for Diversity awarded to a student from an underrepresented group ($200 prize)

Winner – Erin Visagie, RMIT: Everybody to the front

The winner’s colourful, well-written and engaging multi-media article, Everybody to the front, culminated in a polished and layered final product. The story did more than showcase and celebrate diversity through the lens of fashion – it went further and spoke to designers, creatives and advocates to explore what the sector can do to better promote and value CALD communities and makers in Australia. The judge was especially impressed by the considered use of text, audio, photojournalism and pull quotes to present a complete feature package. Erin Visagie’s submission was a standout project in a field of thoughtful and interesting pieces, showing the author’s many strengths in storytelling and capacity to elevate the voices of others. She has a bright future in journalism ahead.

Judge: Melissa Coade, The Mandarin

Highly commended –


The Crikey Award for Investigative journalism by an undergraduate or postgraduate student (individual, any medium) ($200 prize)

Winner –  James Fitzgerald-Sice, UTS: Click, collect and regret: how scammers made a lazy $8k out of a $189 fridge

A comprehensive and thoroughly-researched article. The topic is timely, newsworthy and relevant as scammers continue to increase their prevalence online and affect so many. But what made gave James’ story an edge over his competitors was the inclusion of a case study. It’ imperative investigation journalism shows the human face of the story.

Judge: Alison Sandy, Seven Network

Highly Commended –


The Crikey Journalism Award for Investigative Journalism by a Penultimate-Year Student (An internship with Crikey in winter)

Winner – Isabella Corbett, Curtin University: Syphilis surge highlights health inequity

Thoughtful and analytical, Isabella Corbett’s syphilis investigation takes a shocking statistic several steps further to explore the many drivers of health inequity. Well written, well researched and highlighting Indigenous perspectives from prominent experts, Corbett showed deep engagement with the issue and broached a difficult topic with objectivity and sensitivity.

Judge: Amber Schultz, Crikey

Highly commended –


Best investigative journalism by an undergraduate or postgraduate student (group)

Winner –  Isaac Irons, University of Queensland in collaboration with journalists from The Australian: Shandee’s Story

The writing is just so compelling on an already fascinating story and brought to life the chilling nature of what happened to Shandee. Isaac Irons did justice to one of Australia’s best pieces of investigative journalism for 2022.

Judge: Alison Sandy, Seven Network

Highly commended – Emilia Roux, Charles Mclean and Sienna Martyn, UTS: Doctor shopping: how insurers are ‘gaming’ workers comp. Their research was thorough and the writing evoked much emotion.


Mindframe (individual, any medium, undergraduate) for reporting on a mental health or suicide related issue responsibly, accurately and sensitively ($200 prize)

Winner –  Lucy Waldron,  Griffith University: How Communication Holds a lot of Power Towards Our Bodies

An informative and empowering piece that all would benefit from reading. Lucy sensitively portrays a topic in How Communication Holds a lot of Power Towards Our Bodies that is often stigmatised in a way that is engaging to the reader whilst still providing accurate and balanced information. Those identifying as female no doubt would find this extremely relatable, however for parents of our future generations, it would be wise to take heed and learn how our words and actions are perceived by our children. A difficult task executed well.

Judges: Josh Matheson and Jill Lees, Mindframe


Mindframe (individual, any medium, postgraduate) for reporting on a mental health or suicide related issue responsibly, accurately and sensitively ($200 prize)

Winner –  Brooke Young, UTS: You bet your life: surviving gambling addiction

An engaging piece of work with a truly preventative angle, You bet your life: surviving gambling addiction shines a light on an important and often overlooked risk factor of suicide. Very personable, displaying excellent interviewing skills allowing Paul, Anna and John to openly discuss their experiences of mental ill-health and suicidal ideation. The awareness raising and call for change is fantastic, with a great selection of speakers to support it. A captivating piece on a topic that desperately needs more of Australia’s attention. The inclusion of help-seeking details will allow those who listen to be able to reach out if they find themselves in a similar situation.

Judges: Josh Matheson and Jill Lees, Mindframe

Highly Commended – Ann Ho – Swinburne University of Technology: Doomscrolling: a journey through a global pandemic brings a unique view to an important contemporary issue, it does well to raise awareness and includes a good balance of sources. One of the main positive aspects of this article is the well-balanced nature of defining quite a negative phenomenon but wrapping it up with positivity and constructive advice to those who find themselves doomscrolling in future.


An illustration of a young woman in a reflective mood.
Chloe Henry and Ella Cigognini’s Tinder Made Me Toxic won the Our Watch undergrad prize.

Our Watch (individual, any medium, undergraduate) for a story which represents best-practice reporting of violence against women ($200 prize)

Winner –  Chloe Henry and Ella Cignonini, RMIT: Tinder Made Me Toxic

This feature article was a compelling read. It does a good job interrogating technology-facilitated abuse, and how dating apps fail to protect women from harassment and abuse online. Tinder made me toxic drew on the personal experiences of women who had tried online dating, and explored the ways in which online dating culture can perpetuate outdated and toxic attitudes about women around their role in society. It consulted and referenced a wide range of studies and surveys on this area. This is not an easy topic to tackle, but it was done with nuance and creativity.  As per best practice, the article includes support service contact numbers, and uses appropriate images.

Judges: Nour Haydar and Lin Evlin

Highly commended –

  • Mary-Kate Hannagan, Griffith University: The Bigger Picture: coercive control, systems reform and the path to criminalisation. The producer of this podcast demonstrates a deep understanding of coercive control, and the policing and legal system failures that victims of domestic violence in Queensland confront. She does a thorough job explaining to listeners the arguments for and against criminalising coercive control, and acknowledges the concerns raised by Indigenous women about the potential for First Nations women to be misidentified as perpetrators. The podcast provides a broad range of expert views and explores the drivers of violence against women.


Our Watch (individual, any medium, postgraduate) for a story which represents best-practice reporting of violence against women ($200 prize)

Winner –  Daniel Holmes, University of Sydney: DFV prevention advocates skeptical of coercive control laws

Dan Holmes’ article on coercive control was well written and researched. It did a thorough job explaining coercive control and the misconceptions that exist while also exploring the hesitations around criminalising such behaviour. He used expert voices and acknowledged the structural barriers that women from marginalised communities confront.

Judges: Nour Haydar and Lin Evlin


Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma – Asia Pacific Award for reporting on the impact of violence, crime, disaster and other traumatic events ($200 prize)

Winner –  Sarah Liversidge, RMIT: Women’s trauma, the body and the failure of language

Sarah Liversidge’s story captures the deep and complicated impact of trauma and also makes an effort to widen public understanding of trauma, post trauma recovery and growth. It also acknowledges the complex dynamics of the lived experience of the journalist, especially when engaging with trauma sensitive issues.

Judge: Amantha Perera of the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma – Asia Pacific.


A man sits in his electric buggy on a farm.
Charlie Heal on his farm in central Victoria features in Caroline Harnett’s winning article on climate change reporting. Image: Caroline Hartnett

Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub Award ($200)

Winner –  Caroline Hartnett, University of Melbourne: Rich soil: is regenerative farming an answer to the climate crisis?

In Rich soil: is regenerative farming an answer to the climate crisis?, Caroline offered a diversity of perspectives on the topic of regenerative farming, and engaged with all sides of the debate critically and respectfully. Caroline wrote a compelling story that effectively explained the connection between climate change and how we can utilise farming techniques to sustainably transform how we produce food and other goods. Through her writing and use of interviews, she humanised the problem and told a story that was both informative and engaging. Finally, Caroline concluded her piece nicely by ending on a positive note that spotlighted the brilliant work Australian farmers are doing to minimise their impact on the planet while adapting to the impacts of climate change.

Judge: Ella Healy, Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub

Highly commended –Kaya Martin, RMIT: Waste with Taste was a pleasure to read and very well put together. Kaya used a variety of communication mediums by blending text with photography and film.


The Australian Press Council Undergraduate Prize for an essay on the topic of media ethics ($200 prize)

Winner – Katelyn Milligan, UTS

A well-researched essay that added to our understanding of the ethical relationship between journalists and the PR industry. The article took existing work and expanded into new areas within Australia, helping illuminate the sharp differences in the ways independent online news services handle news releases, compared to the legacy newspapers.

Judges: Members of the Australian Press Council


The Australian Press Council Postgraduate Prize for an essay on the topic of media ethics ($200 prize)

Winner – Jonathan Hawes, Monash University

A thoughtful, well-articulated and well organised essay that tackled a difficult topic that every journalist faces. The article carefully unpacked the ethical dilemmas around who journalists should talk to, drawing on political and legal theory to set out clear principles. It is something many journalists would do well to read.

Judges: Members of the Australian Press Council

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