All newspaper final for Perkin award

The short list for the 2013 Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year award has been announced, with a diverse selection of reporting represented in the work of the three finalists.

All three finalists are reporters working for newspapers – Caroline Wilson (The Age) for coverage of the Essendon Football Club drugs scandal; Amanda Hodge (The Australian) for her reporting on gang rape in India and pre-election violence in Pakistan; and James Campbell (Herald Sun) who broke the secret payments scandal that culminated in the resignation of former Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu.

The Perkin award is open to journalists working in print, TV and radio. It also can be won by an editor or producer, a photographer, cartoonist or artist.

Mark Baker, CEO of the Melbourne Press Club, which administers the award, said that there were 13 entries for this year’s award “in an outstanding field”.

“There’s an understanding, in terms of the process of nomination, that it really needs to be an outstanding individual effort to win this prize,” he said.

“I think that has a selective impact, in that I think people understand that you don’t frivolously enter, you need to have a strong case if you’re going to be considered for this prize.”

The judges for the 2013 award are Jill Baker, Laurie Oakes and Laura Tingle. They are responsible for both selecting a three person short list from the initial submissions and then deciding on a winner for the award.

“To be clear about the mechanics, the award is administered by the Melbourne Press Club, but we take no role in the judging process. The three judges are entirely independent,” Mr Baker said.

Caroline Wilson’s editor said of her work: “Her writing, and her commentary work in broadcast media, showed outstanding courage. I do not believe any sports reporter in recent times has been subjected to the abuse and criticism that Caroline was forced to endure last year.

“Always Caro abided by a meticulous, committed approach to checking all sides of a story, and maintaining trusted and reliable sources.”

Of her Amanda Hodge’s piece No Place Called Home, which was part of her entry, her editor wrote: “[the piece] was the culmination of more than four years reporting the Hazara struggle, and a realised that few Australians truly understand their situation.

“Hodge’s body of work is extensive and captures the enormous volatility and tragedies of the region.”

James Campbell’s editor said that he “changed the course of Victorian politics in 2013”.

“Revealing secret payments had been arranged for adviser Tristan Weston, the reports triggered a convulsive week of drama in Spring Street that saw the fall of Mr Baillieu and his replacement with Denis Napthine.”

The Perkin award comes with a $20,000 prize. The award will be presented at the Melbourne Press Club Quill Awards Dinner in Melbourne on March 21.

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