Professional development for journalists

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    Your safety and wellbeing 

    Improved reporting on violence against women is vital to creating change. It also raises important safety and wellbeing concerns for the journalists and editors involved. 

    Your safety 

    Some journalists with high-profile roles reporting on violence against women experience backlash, including threats and online trolling, as well as physical violence. This video looks at increasing safety for journalists who report on violence against women. 

    Vicarious trauma 

    Journalists who are routinely exposed to stories of violence and abuse may experience vicarious trauma. Vicarious trauma is the cumulative effect of working with trauma, which can affect many aspects of a person’s life. It may consist of short-term reactions, or longer-term effects that continue long after the work has finished.  

    The video below has advice for dealing with vicarious trauma.  

    Resources about safety, stress and trauma for journalists 

    This tip sheet from the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma provides advice for managing stress and trauma on investigative projects. 

    GenVic has designed the guide called Don’t Read the Comments: Enhancing Online Safety for Women Working in the Media to assist media companies to protect their journalists, particularly women journalists, from online hate. 

    Finally, 1800RESPECT offers help to learn how to recognise, prevent and manage work-induced stress and trauma

    Our Watch Award 

    The Our Watch Award for excellence in reporting on violence against women and children improves the quality of reporting on by building awareness of gender inequality as a key driver of this violence. 

    Our Watch has been recognising and rewarding excellence in reporting on violence against women and children since 2015, initially through the Our Watch Awards which were administered by the Walkley Foundation. Since 2019 onwards the Our Watch Award has been presented as a part of the Walkley Mid-Year Celebration. 

    2023 winner 

    The 2023 Our Watch Award winner is Richard Willingham

    Richard has been ABC’s senior Victorian Political Reporter since 2017. He was previously a political reporter at The Age. As well as political reporting, Richard often works on investigative projects as well as being a regular political analyst on ABC digital and on ABC radio. 

    Victims of violent crime forced to wait for forensic examinations in Victoria due to ‘dire’ shortage of doctors 

    Shortage of doctors causing victims of violent sexual crime to wait for forensic examinations 

    Victims of violent crime forced to wait for forensic examinations in Victoria 

    Past winners 

    2022 Our Watch Award winners. 

    2021 Our Watch Award winners. 

    2020 Our Watch Award winners

    2019 Our Watch Award winners. 

    Find out more 

    Visit the Walkley Foundation website for more information on the Award, including how to apply and winners from previous years. 

    Our Watch Fellowship 

    The Our Watch Fellowship Program is delivered in partnership with the Walkley Foundation. This prestigious leadership opportunity for outstanding journalists offers Fellows the opportunity to learn best-practice reporting on violence against women, sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace and build on their knowledge on gender inequality. 

    Through a series of retreats, Fellows: 

    • deepen their knowledge of violence against women and its prevention 
    • build their capacity to report on and understand sexual harassment and violence against women in the workplace 
    • engage in conversations with peers, veteran and award-winning journalists, and violence against women experts on the challenges and opportunities for advancing journalism on this topic 
    • develop skills in understanding and reporting on the complexities of sexual harassment and violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women with disabilities, migrant and refugee women and women who experience multiple forms of discrimination 
    • discuss trauma-informed approaches to interviewing 
    • understand common challenges, pitfalls and stumbling blocks to best-practice reporting, and develop practical techniques for producing more nuanced stories 
    • build skills to support colleagues and newsrooms to engage in best-practice reporting 
    • support Our Watch to deliver a learning session in their own newsroom on best-practice reporting of violence against women to share the learnings of the Fellowship with colleagues. 

    Read about previous Our Watch Fellows: Fellows from 2019, Fellows from 2021 or the Fellows from 2022 here. 

    Training for journalists 

    Our Watch delivers training to newsrooms to support them to report accurately, safely and respectfully on violence against women. 

    The ‘Doing Better Journalism: Effective Reporting on Violence Against Women’ packages were developed in consultation with journalists, Dart Centre Asia-Pacific, the Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne and the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria

    The training packages run for one hour or two hours and can be delivered digitally. 

    How do I access the training? 

    To access the training, contact Our Watch.

    Side view of a line of sitting people listening to a presentation in a room with dimmed lights.

    The media can challenge gender inequality and disrespect towards women in its reporting and as an industry.

    Young woman holding a toddler looking out a window in a bright room. Both their backs are towards the camera.

    Survivors play a critical role in the change needed to end violence against women and their children.