Kennedy awards: Guardian Australia’s Lorena Allam wins award for Indigenous reporting

Published by The Guardian Australia
10 August 2019

Guardian Australia’s Indigenous affairs editor, Lorena Allam, has won the John Newfong award for outstanding Indigenous affairs reporting at this year’s Kennedy awards.

In her time in the role, Allam worked on Guardian Australia’s collaborative series with the University of Newcastle’s colonial massacres research team, The Killing Times, which found there were at least 270 frontier massacres over 140 years as part of a state-sanctioned and organised attempt to eradicate Aboriginal people.

Allam was also part of Guardian Australia’s collaborative Deaths inside project, which tracked Indigenous deaths in custody since 2008 and won the innovation award at the 63rd Walkley awards for excellence in journalism and was also nominated in the Indigenous category. The project showed that, since the royal commission released its 339 recommendations in 1991, there have been 407 Indigenous deaths in custody.

She also spearheaded Breathless: The Death of David Dungay Jr podcast, which examined the death of the Indigenous man in Sydney’s Long Bay jail after a disagreement about a packet of biscuits, and reported on HTLV-1, a devastating virus afflicting remote Indigenous communities, which has no current cure and no effective treatment for the virus.

Guardian Australia’s David Marr, Melissa Davey and Miles Martignoni were shortlisted for the Kennedy awards’ outstanding podcast category for The Reckoning, which covered the child abuse royal commission and ultimately Cardinal George Pell’s trial and conviction for historic crimes.

ABC reporter Anne Connolly, whose investigations into nursing homes helped spark the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, won the Kennedy prize for journalist of the year.

Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop, Lesley Robinson and Suzanne Dredge from Four Corners won the Les Kennedy award for outstanding crime reporting while Jamie Pandaram from the Daily Telegraph won the award for outstanding sport reporting. Channel Nine newsreader Brian Henderson won the lifetime achievement award.

After the awards, Allam said: “It’s such an honour to receive an award named for John Newfong, a trailblazing journalist, activist and lifelong advocate for First Nations people.

“It’s a testament to the fact that Indigenous stories matter – they are at the heart of this nation – and a testament to the success of Guardian Australia’s commitment to reporting on Indigenous affairs.

“Thanks to the Balnaves Foundation for helping us make it happen.”

The Kennedy awards is named after Les Kennedy, a much-loved Daily Telegraph and Sydney Morning Herald crime reporter with impeccable police contacts, who died in August 2011 at the age of 53. His friends and colleagues set up the awards to honour his legacy.

By Guardian Staff