INVESTIGATIVE journalist Ross Coulthart and guru producer Nick Farrow have won the Gold Walkley for this year for exposing a doctor’s alleged malpractice in the New South Wales town of Bega.
The award is the most prestigious in Australian journalism.
They undertook the investigation while working for the Sunday Program, a program recently axed by Channel 9.
You may remember, back in June, Nick Farrow working with Adam Shand, made the only feature so far on Australian TV questioning whether we really have a climate crisis. This cover story for Sunday was entitled ‘Questioning Science’ and screened on June 29, 2008.
In 2006 Ross Coulthart with Nick Farrow critically examined many of the popular claims about the Murray River and found them wanting. That cover story which confirmed many of my findings was screened on May 26, 2006 and entitled ‘Australia’s Salinity Crisis: What Crisis’.
Margaret Simons writing in yesterday’s Crikey.com.au commented:
“There is something profoundly sad and disturbing about an industry forced to give its highest awards to things that no longer exist, or are in decline. That’s what happened last Thursday night at the annual Walkley Awards …
The highest award for the evening, the Gold Walkley, went to Channel Nine’s Sunday program, for a piece by Ross Coulthart and Nick Farrow about the “Butcher of Bega” — a doctor accused of abusing and mutilating the women in his care. The same piece won both the award for Television Current Affairs Reporting, and the award for Investigative Reporting. Yet the program — a frequent winner of Walkley Awards — no longer exists.”
There is some good news though. Ross Coulthart and Nick Farrow are now at Channel Seven and working on a new public affairs program ‘Sunday Night’ to be unveiled late in January 2009.
Congratulations to both Ross and Nick on the award, and also the new jobs.