‘Ruperter’ Sharri Markson of the Murdoch tabloid scandal-sheet the Daily Bellylaugh has, with Kate McClymont (Sydney Morning Herald) and Nick McKenzie (The Age), received the 2018 Kennedy Award for Australian Journalist of the Year1, with Markson’s award supposedly for ‘breaking’ the story of Barnaby Joyce carrying on an affair with his staffer Vikki Campion2. However, the story was broken long before Markson’s effort; firstly by True Crime News Weekly2,3, and then by Independent Australia2,4,5.
The attitude to the smaller outlets by the big corporate media is exemplified by the phraseology in a Nine ‘Red Ink’ piece. With regard to the Independent Australia, they said “it’s run by managing editor David Donovan, who from his LinkedIn account seem (sic) to have more experience in finance than journalism”. Maybe if the author of that sentence, Miranda Ward, had had more experience in journalism, she would understand the difference between singular and plural forms of verbs. They also quote a reply to Donovan from the ABC, which explained that it was the photographic evidence that the Daily Bellylaugh obtained that, with other evidence, showed Joyce was the father, and that the earlier stories ‘lacked cut-through’. Then, Ward calls the reporting in the Independent Australia and True Crime News Weekly reckless and that they “have forgotten the fundamental roles of a journalist – if you can even hold that somewhat tarnished title – your blogs are filled with unsubstantiated allegations, rumours and innuendo”2. This is laughable coming from a person who is writing in support of the Daily Bellylaugh, whose reporting of stories is often scurrilous, and lying by omission, and like many stories in Murdoch rags, are solely designed as part of the ‘Kill Bill’ strategy to damage Bill Shorten6.
It seems the Kennedy Awards are only for members of the club, and if you are not part of the club, you don’t exist. In fact, the Kennedy Awards seem to be mostly a Sydney-centred awards system, with just two newspapers, the Daily Telegraph and the Sydney Morning Herald picking up 36 of the 60 newspaper awards1.
Of the 41 judges, 16 are employed or were employed by Murdoch ‘newspapers’ and 5 are currently or were employed by the Sydney Morning Herald1, so it is unsurprising that the vast majority of awards went to Murdoch’s Daily Telegraph or the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Walkley Awards, the premier awards system for journalism has a much less restricted purview, with awards being spread around the nation and in 2017 actually had a blogger, William Summers, as a finalist. It was he who was the first to publish the evidence that Barnaby Joyce was probably a New Zealand citizen7,8. This makes the Kennedy Awards look a bit archaic, as well as being Sydney centred.