7NEWS Walkley win
7NEWS Walkley win (image - Seven)

7NEWS wins Walkley Awards for outstanding coverage of Frontline Ukraine

Chris Reason takes out top TV reporting prize

The Seven Network’s 7NEWS has tonight been recognised for excellence in journalism, winning a prestigious Walkley Award for its outstanding coverage of the war in Ukraine.

The frontline reports about the devastating Russian incursion won the All Media category for coverage of a major news event or issue; while 7NEWS’ chief reporter Chris Reason also took out the award for best TV/video news reporting.

A reporting team of Reason, Geof Parry, Hugh Whitfeld and Sarah Greenhalgh, working alongside camera operators Simon Hydzik, James Cannon and Paul Walker were praised by the Walkley Foundation for their impact, accuracy and deepening the audience’s understanding of the Putin-led blitz on its European neighbour and the world.

In paying tribute, Craig McPherson, Seven’s director of news and public affairs said: “Broadcast News is like no other form of journalism. With the world cloaked in chaos and change, more than ever Australians turn to TV news for instant information and immediate understanding. The 7NEWS team’s coverage from the very start of the Ukrainian conflict showed just how essential the visual medium we work in has become.”

He added: “This award is wonderful recognition of the work of so many of our people who for months combined 24/7 to keep Australia informed as the great unknown was playing out before our eyes.”

On Chris Reason’s win, he said: “no award is more deserved. Every day in and around Kyiv, Chris would start with a blank sheet and by 6pm news time he had crafted minutes of captivating moments that gave a blow by blow account of 24 hours in the heart of a war zone. In between, he’d be LIVE whenever and wherever needed. His reporting not only laid bare what was happening, he made us feel what was happening through the eyes of those with everything to lose, the people of Ukraine. A master storyteller.”

Reason said: “7News is so proud to have received these awards. From the frontline team to the dozens of people who worked tirelessly to pull this award-winning coverage together back in Australia. Television news is a team effort – it takes editors, producers, camera crews, graphics units, chiefs of staff, techs, presenters and reporters. And it takes back-up from management. 7News was inside Ukraine, on the frontlines, for a longer continuous stretch than any other media organisation. That takes a massive financial commitment – and I applaud Seven management for having the faith to back our teams on the ground for so long. Finally, we pay our greatest tribute to the people of Ukraine has come together – and stepped up. Their resilience and resolve have been beyond belief. And it is turning the course of the war. We salute them. It’s been an honour to tell their stories. Slava Ukraina!!”

Geof Parry said: “the Walkley awards are the highest recognition in journalism. Its awarding to 7NEWS is an acknowledgement of the strength of our coverage in Ukraine. Truly a team effort. Reporters, camera operators and also the producers and editors back in Australia who pull it together. What means the most to me is the backing we had from our network bosses; in particular, Craig McPherson and Ray Kuka. They backed us in for the months our team spent in Ukraine. Anything we needed, they got it for us. And they always cared for our welfare. It was a team effort from top to bottom.”

Sarah Greenhalgh said: “it’s been an honour to be part of a true team effort. Seven was committed to this story even before the invasion and we were on the ground covering the frantic diplomatic efforts to avert conflict.

“The suffering of Ukrainians isn’t over. As the Walkley awards are being presented tonight, more missiles are raining down on Ukrainian cities. It’s vital we keep telling their stories.”

Hugh Whitfeld also recognised the strength of the team effort: “our reporters and camera operations on the ground in Ukraine, working alongside our brave Ukrainian producer and driver, plus our security team, with added support of producers and editors in Perth and Sydney, all working together to ensure that Australian viewers were kept well informed about a horrific war that effects the whole world. Seven was there well before much of the world took notice of Putin’s mad intentions. Seven was there when the bombs came down on Kyiv. Seven was there when Russia pulled out of places like Bucha, Irpin and Borodyanka … among the first journalists in the world to uncover the horrors of Moscow’s regime. The war isn’t over. And neither is our commitment to informing Australians.”

The gala industry dinner at Sydney’s ICC, was co-hosted by 7News presenter Ann Sanders and ABC’s Joe O’Brien.

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