YAJA - Judging Panel

Express your interest to join our judging panel.

Dr Kate Ames

Dr Kate Ames (PhD Sydney, MLitt (Cultural Studies) CQU, B Comm (PR) QUT, GradCert TertiaryEd CQU, Cert IV Training & Assessment Australian Army) - Central Queensland University: Director, Flexible Learning and Innovation Projects

She has combined her combine professional skills in journalism and media with her academic interests as a cultural sociologist in language, culture, and community. While working as an academic since 2001, Kate has continued to practice as a photographer, film-maker, journalist, and public relations practitioner. She has 20 years' experience in the Australian Army (part-time) and counts as lifetime career highlights her experience as a photographer at 1996 Olympic Games, the opportunity to deploy on military operations, and writing a memoir about her brother Matthew, Will to Live (Penguin 2014). She is a passionate educator and was awarded a national citation for teaching quality in 2015. Her PhD from the University of Sydney in 2012 examined the way in which a sense of community is fostered through language, and she has a record of publications in storytelling, community, connection, and broadcast talk.

"I'm really excited to be working with the ArtNewsPortal and YAJA Awards to promote authentic opportunities for students. I've joined my colleague Dr Nicole Anae to represent CQUniversity on the judging panel, but finding ways to integrate real work into a student's learning journey can be difficult when students are working by distance. Promoting arts and culture in the regions at the same time as helping students find their feet as journalists and corporate writers is a total win/win for all of us."

Will to Live

Dr Nicole Anae

Senior Lecturer in Literary and Cultural Studies

Dr Nicole Anae (Dip.Teach [CSU]; B.Ed [CSU]; B.A [Hons] [UTAS 1st class]; PhD [UTAS]), graduated from Charles Sturt University with a B.Ed and Dip.T before earning her PhD through the Faculty of English, Journalism, and European Languages at the University of Tasmania. She is Senior Lecturer in Literary and Cultural Studies at Central Queensland University. Her published work — academic and creative — appears in a variety of literary journals, conference papers, refereed journals, monographs, and edited collections. She is editor of Central Queensland University’s Idiom23 Literary Magazine.

Idiom23 Literary Magazine

Kevin Brianton

Lecturer in Strategic Communication, Head of discipline, La Trobe University

Kevin has more than 30 years' experience in market research, journalism and public relations. He worked as both a consultant and as a manager in government and private industry. The majority of his career has focused on government and political issues. He has won national and state PRIA awards in community communications, issues and crisis management, events management, internal communications and comprehensive communications. Kevin was made a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia in July 2012. Along with the Communication and Media team, he won the Vice Chancellor's Sustaining Student Employability Award in 2015. He is also an expert on film history and his Hollywood Divided: The 1950 Screen Directors Guild Meeting and the Impact of the Blacklist was released in Australia in February 2017.


Mark Civitella

Mark Civitella lectures in Communication at La Trobe University

He is a communication strategy consultant and has spent over 20 years commenting on media and politics and specialises in political and issue communication. Mark also facilitates The Agency at La Trobe University, where students assist YAJA getting its message out. Mark is a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia.


Dr John Cokley PhD

Adjunct Associate Professor at Griffith University

Dr John Cokley PhD, B.Bus is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Griffith University, Australia. John was the first Journalist-in-Residence at Griffith University (2002) and the first Associate Professor in Journalism at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia (2012-2014). He is a Certified Tertiary Teacher. He worked as an editor, reporter and trainer for News Corp Australia from 1984-2006 and for the national wire service Australian Associated Press from 1984-1985 and as a trainer for the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union in Malaysia, India and Iran. John has owned and operated small businesses in Australia since 1982, among them a publishing company, a bookshop as well as his main career, journalism. He has delivered invited seminars in Indonesia, China, France, Ireland and Wales and addressed conferences in South Africa, the United States, Norfolk Island, Singapore and New Zealand.

John’s new book Shopping News: Agenda Finding, What the Audience Does Before the News was released last year by Australian Scholarly Publishing. It contains keys to the next generation of journalism and news publishing, with 16 clearly explained practical models showing how journalists and publishers can please more readers without compromising ethics or quality.


Dr Kayt Davies

Journalist and academic

Kayt Davies is a journalist and academic. She is a senior lecturer in journalism at Edith Cowan University in Perth where she teaches students to navigate the complex webs of political, science and business fields in search of questions that need to be asked. A true believer in the vital role of journalism in equitable democratic systems she encourages students to think about how journalism will be created and disseminated in the near future, as the architecture of the business model warps and flexes. Issues she grapples with through her research include how academics can teach journalism students to thrive in the Era of Big Data and how journalists and sources in oppressive and hostile situations can be kept safe

Bio @ www.ecu.edu.au

Steinar Ellingsen

Director and co-founder of Melbourne WebFest

Steinar Ellingsen is the Director and co-founder of Melbourne WebFest – Australia’s international web series festival. He is a lecturer in Communication and Media at La Trobe University, and an executive editor of upstart – the magazine for emerging journalists. Steinar is the creator of the award-winning documentary web series The Inland Sea: An Australian Odyssey, and the executive producer of Magnify Melbourne. Before relocating to Australia, he worked as a journalist and photographer in Norway, where he was nominated for a SKUP award (Norwegian investigative journalism award) as part of a reportage team from the Laagendalsposten newspaper in 2007.


Suzy Freeman-Greene

Arts and culture editor of The Conversation

Suzy Freeman-Greene is the arts and culture editor of The Conversation, which publishes arts reviews, essays and analysis pieces. From 2000-2015, she was an opinion columnist at The Age, where she has also worked as a features editor, news editor, feature writer and arts editor.

Freeman-Greene’s essays, journalism, fiction and critical writing have been published widely in places such as Meanjin, Good Weekend, Island and the Australian magazine. She reviews books for Australian Book Review and has taught journalism at the University of Melbourne.



Peter Gregory

Journalism and law have defined Peter Gregory’s professional career. He specialised in court and legal reporting in a print and online journalism career that included 18 years as The Age’s Supreme Court correspondent. Peter won a number of Victoria Law Foundation Legal Reporting Awards, and his text book, Court Reporting in Australia, is found in many university libraries. In 2016, he wrote a chapter about journalism and the Victorian Supreme Court for Judging For The People, a book commemorating the court’s 175-year history.

Peter teaches journalism at La Trobe University to undergraduate and masters students in subjects ranging from news writing and journalism research to media law and court reporting. His PhD study is focused on court suppression orders. In February 2017, he took part in a court re-enactment of the sentencing of Ronald Ryan, the last person hanged in Australia. He is scheduled to speak about court reporting at a 2017 Law Week Victoria event for the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.


Maarit Jaakkola

Lecturer in Journalism, Researcher in Media and Journalism

Dr. Maarit Jaakkola is a journalism educator at the University of Tampere, Finland, the oldest journalism education institution in the Nordic countries. She is currently working as a researcher in journalism and media at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Her PhD dealt with arts journalism and its professionalization from the 1970's onwards. Jaakkola's current research interests focus on criticism in online environment and the development of online-native arts journalism. Jaakkola is a former arts journalist and reviewer who has worked, for example, for the largest Nordic newspaper Helsingin Sanomat and the Finnish News Agency. She is editor of the Nordic media journal Nordicom Information.


Aleksandar Kocic

Lecturer in Journalism at Edinburgh Napier University

I have been a journalist for thirty years and have worked in radio, television, print and online. I spent many years working as a music journalist and also London-based arts and culture correspondent for several news outlets in my native Serbia. Since 1992, I have also worked as a journalist for BBC radio in London. Working as a journalist covering the arts helped me visit many interesting places and meet lots of fascinating people; I had the privilege to interview Brian Eno and John Peel, amongst others, and also meet David Bowie.


Jenny LAM Chor-kan

Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Journalism -Hong Kong Baptist University

Ms Lam was the news editor for TVB News’ English service. She also anchored the news for more than 20 years. She trained reporters for TVB for many years and has extensive reporting experience. She began her career in publishing. She then worked in both radio and television at the BBC before returning to Hong Kong. She was born in Hong Kong and educated in Britain. CLASSES TAUGHT: Broadcast journalism, Beat reporting and Journalism practicum. RESEARCH & TEACHING INTERESTS: Investigative journalism


Margaret (Yee Man) Ng

Assistant professor from the Department of Journalism and Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Margaret (Yee Man) Ng is an assistant professor from the Department of Journalism and Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She teaches data visualization and data journalism. Her Coursera class of data visualization will be published in Spring 2019, which covers topics including pattern discovery, clustering, text mining, and analytics for data visualization. Her creative work has largely focused on design and content creation. Before earning a Ph.D., she worked as a news artist at National Geographic Magazine and The Seattle Times and a data reporter for The Center for Public Integrity. Her interactive designs adhered to industry best practices in being responsive and mobile-first and were executed in a clean and elegant visual style. She was the recipient of 2014 White House Correspondent's Association Scholarship, which was presented by President Obama and Mrs. Obama at the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner.


Maria Schaller

Radio Producer at Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) Australia

As a Master of Journalism and Communication Studies Maria has been producing content for print and radio in Australia and Europe.


Max Schleser

Senior Lecturer at the School of Film and TV at Swinburne University

He is a filmmaker, who explores smartphones and mobile media for creative transformation and media production. His portfolio (www.schleser.nz) includes various award winning mobile, smartphone and pocket camera films which are screened at film festivals, Galleries and Museums internationally.

Max presents keynotes at international festivals exploring Mobile Media, Online Video, Digital Storytelling, Cross-Media Production and Creative Innovation. He frequently talks about the prospects and potential of smartphones for creative media production as well as community engagement. He also conceptualised and conducted numerous mobile filmmaking workshops for community groups and creative professionals.

Max co-founded MINA, the Mobile Innovation Network Australasia and curates the annual International Mobile Innovation Screening.


Dr Carmel Thomason

Dr Carmel Thomason is a senior lecturer in journalism at Staffordshire University, specialising in arts and entertainment journalism, features, health and creative non-fiction.

She is author of six books and was awarded Best Series at the 2017 Eden Book Awards for her collaboration with the Archbishop of York on the John Sentamu Stories trilogy.

Carmel is a founder panel member and reviewer for the Manchester Theatre Awards, the UK's most important theatrical prize-giving outside London.

She graduated from the University of Bristol with a first-class honours degree in Geographical Sciences. Her PhD, awarded by the University of Bristol, was funded by the ESRC and focused on cultural consumption and the role of the artisan sector in economic development. Her current research interests include the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of journalistic storytelling; narrative journalism; arts and heritage. She is part of the management team for the Heritage Lottery Funded, Philip Astley Project, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of modern day circus.


Bruce Woolley

Award-winning journalist and lecturer at UQ

Bruce Woolley has been an award-winning journalist for 33 years on three continents (Europe, North America and Australia). He started his career as a cadet with the ABC in Brisbane working for radio and television news and current affairs. He was host of a daily television program from the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games, broadcast to an estimated worldwide audience of 350 million people. Bruce was appointed Foreign Correspondent for the ABC in London in 1984 where he covered the turbulent miners' strike and IRA bombings on the British mainland and in Northern Ireland.

In 1987, he moved to Toronto to work for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) as a radio, television and digital producer and project manager. In his two decades in Canada, Bruce created a new flagship news and current affairs program called 'The World This Weekend' which won a New York Festival Award as "World's Best News Magazine of 1997". A 30-minute radio documentary called 'Voices of War' won another gold medal in New York and was selected as the best-of-the-festival Grand Award Winner in 1993.

Bruce returned to Australia in 2007 to take up a job with the ABC and was appointed lecturer at UQ in 2013.


Tym Yee

Writer, content marketer and creative arts editor

Tym Yee is a writer, content marketer and creative arts editor based in Sydney, Australia. His experience covers all types of creative non-fiction, having published award-winning work across both the arts and commercial spaces in print and digital formats. He holds a Master of Digital Communication and Culture, Bachelor of Media and Certificate IV in Design and is currently undertaking a Master of Research in his spare time, looking at podcasting as a form of intimate journalism. Tym also guest lectures at Macquarie University in the Bachelor of Marketing and Media program, writes and edits Spitpress.com and contributes to Marketing Magazine online.


Past Judging Panel Members