Monash journalism graduates & staff win three Quills

Melbourne Press Club’s 2016 Student of the Year Tess Ikonomou.

Monash University students, graduates and staff have stamped their authority on Australian journalism to claim three Quill awards and three high commendations in the coveted 2016 Melbourne Press Club awards.

Monash journalism graduate and ABC journalist Tess Ikonomou was awarded Student of the Year for her news story, Monash University academic denied permanent residency because of autistic son.  

Less than a month later,  Dr Biswajit Banik and his family was granted residency after the assistant minister for immigration intervened. 

Tess tracked the family’s plight and broke the follow-up story in The Age. 

Tess was shocked to win the Student of the Year award because of the high journalistic standard in her category.


Speaking at the Melbourne Palladium at Crown Casino on March 17, Tess was humbled to accept the award before Australia’s finest journalists and industry leaders.

“I’m overwhelmed and can’t quite believe I have been named student journalist of the year for 2016,” Tess said. 

“I’d like to thank the Melbourne Press Club for honouring me with this award. 

“I’m thankful for my supportive family, friends, and tutors.”

Master of Journalism student Carol Saffer was high commended in the Student of the Year category.

Carol wrote an investigative story, How a South Yarra dinner party and Harold Holt saved a Jewish boy from Hitler, which was published in The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald (online).

Carol’s investigation is a fascinating historical narrative about a Jewish family’s escape to Australia before Nazi Germany controlled Austria.


 Recently appointed Monash academic and award-winning journalist Associate Professor Margaret Simons won the competitive feature writing category for her piece, Duterte’s Dirty War, published in The Monthly.

Assoc Professor Simons has won many awards in journalism, including prestigious Walkley and Quill awards.

She has been an educator of journalists for about 25 years.

Associate Professor Simons will join Monash’s School of Media, Film and Journalism in July this year.  

She is currently the Director of the Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne, a position she has held since 2011.


Monash journalism alumnus and The Age reporter Beau Donelly, who was shortlisted in two Quill categories,  won Victorian Government Quill for Reporting on Disability Issues for his piece Anthony’s Decision to Die in The Sunday Age.

Beau was highly commended in the News Report in Writing category for Foster care scandal, which reported on the failure of Victoria’s child protection agency to safeguard confidential information.

Herald Sun journalist Monique Hore.

Monash graduate and News Corp journalist Monique Hore was highly commended in the Young Journalist of the Year category.

Monique is now the education reporter of the Herald Sun. She enjoyed success in the 2014 Quill awards, winning the Best Coverage of An Issue Or Event.

Hore partnered with one of Australia’s best reporters, Herald Sun senior journalist Ruth Lamperd, to expose the disturbing reality of asbestos contamination around Sunshine’s “factory of death”.

Monash alumnus and ABC radio journalist Danny Tran was a finalist in the Quill’s Radio News category for his investigative entry, Ballarat Police under fire over new brutality allegations. 

Associate Professor Philip Chubb.

Monash University’s head of journalism Associate Professor Phil Chubb said every success inspired staff and students to achieve more.

“Quite apart from the Quills, our students have won a very large number of awards for work published in 2016. For example, we scored six wins and highly commendeds in the Ossies, which are the awards handed out by the Journalism Education and Research Association,” Associate Professor Chubb said.

“These records are a great testimony to our staff, our resources and of course our students.” 

Monash journalism has benefitted from the $3 million Monash Media Lab, which allows students to produce journalism in a modern newsroom, TV and radio studios, editing suites and other state-of-the art equipment and facilities.
Monash students, graduates and staff (winners and highly commended in blue)

Ruth Lamperd (Herald Sun) The War Within
Nick McKenzie & Richard Baker ( of Their Labour
Margaret Simons (The Monthly)  Duterte’s Dirty War – winner
Chris Vedelago & Cameron Houston (The Sunday Age) Spun Out, Shane Warne Foundation Story

Beau Donelly (The Age) – highly commended
Josh Gordon & Adam Morton (The Age), Hazelwood shutdown near
Tom Minear & James Campbell (Herald Sun), Minister’s dog act  
Cameron Stewart (The Australian) The Submarine Leak Scandal 

Kirsten Diprose & Alex Holland (ABC) Melbourne wheelchair taxis no longer ‘commercially viable’ 
Beau Donelly (The Age) Anthony’s Decision to Die – winner
Lisbeth Gorr (ABC 7.30) The Doug Anthony Allstars Have The Last laugh
Louise Milligan (ABC 7.30) Protecting Children with Disabilities from Abuse 

Reid Butler (A Current Affair/Nine Network)
Monique Hore (Herald Sun) – highly commended

Bridget Judd (ABC)
Cassie Zervos (Herald Sun)

Claudia Alp (Swinburne)
Tess Ikonomou (Monash University) – winner
Carol Saffer (Monash University) – highly commended
Evan Young (RMIT)

Seb Costello (Triple M Hot Breakfast) Usain Bolt wins 100m Gold in Rio 
Charlotte King (ABC News) Ballarat bishop agrees to be stand-in for historic sex abuse claims
Patrick Mitchell (3AW) Springvale – Fire in Commonwealth Bank
Danny Tran (ABC Radio News) Ballarat Police under fire over new brutality allegations – finalist