helen mccabe for web.jpg

Archbishop Philip Wilson announced the winners of the 2014 Archbishop's Media Citations on Thursday, July 24. Below is a full list of winners and judges comments.

Click here to see story in August 2014 edition of The Southern Cross newspaper.



For an outstanding contribution to journalism and the community
Helen McCabe, Editor, The Australian Women’s Weekly.

Since assuming the role of Editor-in-Chief of the Australian Women’s Weekly in August 2009, Helen has driven a wholesale transformation of this iconic title. She has positioned it as an agenda-setting magazine with a real social conscience and a monthly readership of 2.4 million women.

Helen is acutely aware of the responsibility she holds and the influence she wields over Australian women. Subsequently she has focused on big issues that many other publications avoid and being one of the only magazines that still publish long-form journalism, her writers are given the freedom to explore the subjects in detail. This means that the reader is informed which leads to real enlightenment.

In the past 12 months the magazine has tackled subjects such as rape, paedophilia, death, eating disorders and body image, modern feminism, disability, cyber bullying, anxiety and depression, IVF and fertility, suicide, family relationships (the best and worst!), drugs in sport, divorce, obesity and politics. She hasn’t ignored the other elements of the magazine either (the cooking, the craft, the fashion) acknowledging that having an interest in all things is reflective of what it means to be a modern woman.

Under Helen’s direction, the Australian Women’s Weekly has championed causes that will bring about social change. Most recently the magazine got behind the hard to discuss subject of domestic violence writing up first-hand accounts, actively seeking out an interview with actress Rachel Taylor – a high profile victim.

Helen also started a campaign in the magazine to highlight the appalling adoption rates in Australia. This campaign was used to lobby government for a more workable solution to the 1000’s of Australian families wishing to adopt but unable to due to red-tape.

From a community perspective, she established the Women of the Future scholarship program in recognition of the fact that for many women the cost of an education is too high, while, for others, starting a small business is too hard especially when there are children to feed and a family to support. Helen is also the chairperson of the Federal Government’s Positive Body Image Awards, a board member of the National Adoption Awareness Week and an ambassador of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation.

She has maintained the magazine’s long standing commitment to women in regional Australia – a subject she knows quite a bit about being originally from Hamley Bridge. Her family still reside there and she’s a regular visitor back to her home state.

The magazine is held in such high respect in publishing and reader circles and it is largely due to the work of Helen McCabe. She uses her “power” for good in a world that’s driven largely by commercial constraints that could easily see an Editor walk down the easy and more popular path, ie, more sales.

Instead, she stands up for what she believes in. She conducts herself with honesty and integrity and she never shies away from a big issue. Just like Mary MacKillop...


PRINT – best series of articles

Craig Cook, The Advertiser  –  Captive in North Korea

Beginning with an exclusive online report on a South Australian man detained in North Korea for allegedly distributing religious material, this series of articles on John Short was comprehensive and well-written. Craig showed a great deal of persistence in tracking down John’s wife and as the story went around the world, Craig was able to continue to break news and eventually secure an exclusive interview with Short after his release. Craig demonstrated tenacity and tact in his approach to a perilous situation.

Amelia Broadstock, Messenger Community News – Nurses call for parking safety in North Adelaide

Amelia showed persistence and good journalistic skills to find a number of different angles to the issue of parking restrictions around Adelaide Oval. Her ability to win the trust of contacts and keep this issue in the public eye, to the extent that it became a Federal and State election issue, is to be commended.


PRINT - Best news story

Andrew Dowdell, The Advertiser – Dad vows to deliver Lewis’ Law

This story, which followed the first in-depth interview with Mark McPherson, the father of murdered teenager Lewis McPherson, was a strong news story, as evidenced by the front page placement of the pointer of the longer, feature-style piece on page 4. This reflected the huge outcry of emotion provoked by the murder and subsequent court case. Andrew captured the torment of a grieving father but also shifted some of the hysteria around the case to give readers a more thoughtful and insightful account of the tragedy and the issue of unlicensed guns.

PRINT – best feature

The judges were impressed with the range of subjects covered by entrants in the features section this year. Writers submitted valuable and enlightening stories on youth suicide, the homeless, volunteers working in prisons, philanthropy, street kids, rare diseases and more. Each, in its own way, helped inform and broaden the minds of readers.

There were, however, two absolute standouts in terms of journalistic quality.

Verity Edwards, The Australian – Dancing to the Light

The winner this year is Verity Edwards of The Australian for her superb magazine piece “Dancing to the Light” about the widely pilloried former Liberal Senator, Mary Jo Fisher.

Fisher lost her career, her dignity and was ridiculed for her decision to dance in the Senate and for her shoplifting crimes. She had never defended herself or admitted that she was suffering from depression and bi-polar mood disorder. Nor had she – or any of those close to her – previously spoken publicly about her life, her career and her struggle with mental illness.

Verity’s story could not have failed to alter many people’s perceptions.

For a host of reasons, not least of which was the quality of the writing, the judges deemed “Dancing to the light” an exceptional piece of journalism.

Mark Dapin, The Advertiser Weekend Magazine

Firstly, a commendation goes Sydney-based freelance journalist Mark Dapin, who visits SA from time to time to write for The Advertiser’s SA Weekend. Deputy Editor Roy Eccleston wisely submitted Mark’s extremely well-written story “Rolling with it” about disabled couple Damien and Tamara Porter’s life with their three healthy, happy and in-inverted-commas “normal” children.

Damien and Tamara let Mark into their rather chaotic home and told their moving story. They were disarming, warm, inspiring and funny – and Mark captured their story beautifully, without pathos.

Commendation (regional/community) – We received a number of entries in this category and it was pleasing to see some new publications such as Aspire SA and SA Kids. The judging panel decided to award a commendation to:

Alice Dempster, The Victor Harbor Times, Aiming for the stars

Alice’s story was very well written, incorporating interesting quotes from a variety of people to give readers a deep understanding of the challenges facing young Hunta Lucas, who has cerebral palsy. She conveyed the determination of Hunta to achieve, and the role of technology and support networks in helping him to succeed.


TELEVISION – Best News Item

News Category – Commendation
Mike Smithson, Seven News – Holden Horribilus

A series of comprehensive and well-structured stories covering Holden's decision to stop making cars in Australia. Consistently balanced reporting on a story with major impact on the South Australian community.


FEATURE Category

Karen Ashford, SBS  – Cultural Exchange

A genuinely interesting story examining the efforts of tribes in Tanzania to retain their cultural integrity in the face of developing tourism and other challenges…and what can be learned from the experience of Australia's aborigines. Extra credit to Karen for filming the story herself and overcoming language and cultural barriers.



Best series of interviews – citation
Tony Ryan PBA FM, Salisbury

Tony’s entries showed us just how powerful the medium of radio is when it comes to telling great stories. His subject matter wasn’t easy – male suicide in rural Australia and also palliative care for children at Bear Cottage in Sydney – one of only two children’s hospices in Australia.

His interviews were well researched and his lovely manner encouraged the subjects to reveal their story with a candour rarely heard on radio. He got to the heart of two very difficult issues and it was compelling listening. With a steady hand and a compassionate ear he allowed a mother to speak about the loss of her child through illness ……..and there wasn’t a dry eye in the judging room……. Well done Tony, keep up the good work.

Best coverage of a news event – citation
Caroline Winter, ABC Adelaide – Holden closure

Caroline tackled the story of the day with enthusiasm and originality. She hit the ground running producing live crosses and preparing pre-recorded stories focusing on the perspective of the workers in a limited time frame. ABC listeners heard a different and more human side to the closure of the car manufacturing industry in South Australia. Going to the workers (drowning their sorrows at the Old Spot Hotel just near the Holden Plant) she was able to tell the story with great detail, compassion and originality. Often it’s the people who are forgotten about when we discuss industry and manufacturing but Caroline put them front and centre of the story. Listeners would have had a far greater understanding of the real issues of this event and its social impact due to this coverage. Well done Caroline – a job well done.



Best news photography – citation
Tricia Watkinson, The Advertiser  – Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre

This photo displays a clear understanding of visual language. Through masterful use of lighting and rich colour, Tricia has captured an image that immediately draws the viewer’s eye to the tone and emotion of the subjects’ faces and to the story they have to tell.

Faced with a challenging brief, Tricia was able to make the most of her situation and knew that the best light required to capture this image would be at sun rise, early in the morning.

Through the patience, understanding and trust communicated between Tricia and the often-shy Arabana people, an image was created that truly represents the cultural importance of this event for indigenous people.

Best feature photography – citation
Sarah Reed, The Advertiser – Sporting Heroes

Sarah compiled a series of photos depicting sporting heroes and their positive involvement and contribution to the community.

From Taylor Walker’s charity work with Leukaemia to Australian Cycling hero Simon Gerranns and his involvement with the CFS volunteers, and local up and coming basketballer Josh Bond and his battle with cancer – one common message stands out and that is one of the positive role models.

Sarah has captured a series of intimate group portraits that represent, hope, faith and community spirit.