Entries to the Victorian Homelessness Media Awards will be judged on their originality, the quality of journalism, the responsiveness to current news and issues, ethical and respectful portrayals of people experiencing homelessness, the ability to enhance understanding of the structural causes of homelessness and, if relevant, the explanation of the solutions.
Judges will also consider the entry’s efforts to break stereotypes, destigmatise and humanise homelessness and, where relevant, create awareness of how homelessness intersects with other social issues such as gender, mental health, affordable housing, the justice system and family violence.
For more information on what constitutes respectful and ethical reporting on homelessness, see the Media guidelines for reporting on homelessness.
Meet the Judges
To ensure the Awards program are independent and highly-regarded, we’ve taken great care to hand-pick a diverse and representative group of judges from a range of media outlets, organisations and walks of life. The judging panels is heavily weighted with senior, working journalists from a range of news outlets. Each Awards’ category will have its own judging panel, comprised of three senior working journalists, one community leader / homelessness expert and one person has real-life experience of homelessness. Incorporating the views of judges who have been homeless is critical to the objectives of the Awards. The Victorian Homelessness Media Awards are overseen by the Council to Homeless Persons, but the judging is entirely independent. The judges’ decision is final. We’ll be introducing the 20 judges progressively over the coming months. Subscribe to the VHMA newsletter for updates!
Lorena Allam is Indigenous affairs editor at Guardian Australia, and 2018 Walkley award winner for innovation in journalism. For 30 years she has worked as a journalist, broadcaster and manager at the ABC and in a range of public policy roles. Lorena is a proud descendant of the Yuwalaraay and Gamilaraay first nations.
Rob Curtain is a media and communications consultant. He is former National News Director for the Fairfax Radio Network and News Director at 3AW, and was a radio journalist for more than 35 years. Rob has worked in commercial radio news and programs in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, has worked in corporate affairs and communications with General Motors-Holden’s, and was Communications Manager for V/Line. Rob also lectures in journalism at Deakin University.
Tom Elliott is the host of 3AW’s Drive program. Tom Elliott is the host of 3AW’s Drive program. He’s an experienced broadcaster, an opinion leader on issues of business, politics and social policy. Tom is also a former opinion columnist for Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper and appears regularly on the Seven Network’s Sunrise program and ABC TV’s Agony Uncles series.
Shelley is the Deputy Chief of Staff and former Weekend Editor at the Herald Sun. She is a highly respected Melbourne journalist and a skilled editor, and has written for a number of Victorian and non-Victorian mastheads.
Norman Hermant is the ABC’s national Social Affairs Correspondent with a wealth of experience across print, digital and broadcast media. He has moved seamlessly between specialist rounds throughout his career, and understands the demands of a busy newsroom. He was a foreign correspondent for ABC, which saw him based in Moscow for three years.
Amy Hetherington is editor of The Big Issue. She has spent two decades in magazine publishing and content licensing. She has held senior editorial roles across several women’s magazines at Bauer Media and Pacific Publications, working as an editor, sub-editor, reporter, photo editor and columnist.
Andrew Rennie is the Editor in Chief for Australia’s largest group of community newspapers, Leader Community News, which sees him at the helm of 26 mastheads and 65 social media channels. He has an innate nose for news, and a keen interest in the power of storytelling to engage readers. He was previously Leader’s Chief of Staff, managing editorial teams across two newsrooms.
Ian Royall is a senior reporter and the trainee program co-ordinator at the Herald Sun. Ian joined the paper 21 years ago and has worked on the city, education, consumer and aviation rounds, as well as being deputy chief of staff. He started his career 30 years ago at the Toowoomba Chronicle and also worked in England, covering news and sport.
Wendy Tuohy is a Melbourne journalist with a wealth of experience in Melbourne media, both in print and on air. She’s currently a senior columnist and digital lifestyle editor at The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, and was previously at the Herald Sun. Wendy is a champion for social justice, diversity and women’s issues.
People who’ve experienced homelessness
Nigel has a wealth of experience in community theatre, having written, produced and acted in a number of plays. His family moved around a lot as a child, as his then step-father was a Minister, and he’s lived in the US, UK and all over Australia. In his 20s and 30s, Nigel worked as a chef, sometimes in remote locations, including a six-month stint in the Nullabor. While he was experiencing homelessness, Nigel managed to complete a double Diploma in Community Development and Community Services. Nigel is a homelessness advocate, an active member of CHP’s Peer Education and Support Program and last year worked as a Democratic Ambassador for the Victorian Electoral Commission.
Annie has been the Chair of the LEAG (Lived Experience Advisory Group) with Launch Housing for the past three years. She has been involved in the sector since losing her business and home. Annie has contributed to research on older women and homelessness. She has been interviewed a number of times on her experience of homelessness.
Community leaders & homelessness experts
Major Brendan Nottle
Major Brendan Nottle is the Salvation Army’s Commanding Officer leading the Melbourne Project 614 which seeks out those living on society’s fringe and helps them ease their way back in. He is a Salvos veteran of 22 years. Brendan is a former Melburnian of the Year in recognition of his compassionate and tireless efforts to help homeless and disadvantaged people. His comment is regularly sought by the media. He has written a number of opinion pieces for the Herald Sun and The Age, and is a regular guest on 3AW and ABC 774.
Jenny Smith is the CEO at Council to Homeless Persons. Jenny’s professional life has been dedicated to the public sector. She began her career as a social worker and family therapist. She has since completed a Master’s degree in social work and a Master’s qualification in public policy and management. She is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Jenny is passionate about applying her skills and experience to ending homelessness.
Bevan Warner is the CEO of Launch Housing, a Victorian secular community agency whose mission is to end homelessness. Bevan was previously the Managing Director at Victorian Legal Aid, having worked his way through a variety of roles in the organisation over 10 years. Bevan describes himself as intensely curious and drawn to people and the problems they are trying to solve.