The Teacher’s Pet explored the 1982 disappearance of Sydney mother Lyn Dawson, bringing investigative reporting to 27 million listeners around the world. Thomas wrote and recorded an average of more than 15,000 words each week, as new informants came forward and the investigation unfolded in real time. Gibson added original music and audio production. The Teacher’s Pet is the only Australian podcast to go to number 1 in the US, the UK, Canada and New Zealand.
The judges described the podcast as “a masterclass in investigative journalism… The investigation uncovered long-lost statements and new witnesses, and prompted police to dig again for the body of Lyn Dawson.”
Having won the Gold Walkley previously in 2007, Thomas joins an elite club. The only other person to win the Gold Walkley twice in the award’s 40-year history is the legendary cartoonist Ron Tandberg, who passed away in January this year. The 2018 Gold Walkley is supported by Apple News. The winners also receive $10,000 in business class airfares thanks to Qantas.
Dean Lewins was named the Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year for a body of work spanning news and sport photography. Journalist Helen Pitt’s history of the Sydney Opera House, The House (Allen & Unwin), won the Walkley Book Award. Myanmar’s Killing Fields on SBS Dateline won the Walkley Documentary Award for Evan Williams, Eve Lucas and Georgina Davies.
And in a poignant presentation, Sean Dorney was recognised for his Outstanding Contribution to Journalism over 40 years of tireless reporting on the Asia Pacific and especially Papua New Guinea.
Chair of the Walkley Advisory Board, the recently departed Sky News CEO Angelos Frangopoulos, praised the range and depth of this year’s winners. “It’s so exciting to see innovative formats for journalism reaching huge audiences, and the diversity of our winners is a ringing endorsement of the quality of Australian journalism. With 1,329 entries this year, I want to particularly thank the judges who gave their time to carefully consider each one.”
The 63rd Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism were presented in 30 categories. Just under 600 journalists and media identities gathered at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre for the event with the support of Tourism and Events Queensland.