Illawarra Mercury journalist Shannon Tonkin has been recognised winning a Kennedy Awards for Excellence in Journalism at a gala function in Sydney tonight.
Tonkin won the Chris Watson Award for Outstanding Regional Newspaper Reporting category at the ceremony at Sydney’s Royal Randwick.
Tonkin, the Mercury’s court reporter, earned the accolade for her work on a campaign to increase penalties in serious cases of child neglect.
The “State of Neglect” campaign began after Tonkin revealed a shocking case of child neglect involving an Illawarra mother.
It was a case described by a Wollongong magistrate as one of the worst he’d ever seen.
The coverage has since prompted a review of NSW child neglect laws.
This state is the only jurisdiction in Australia where offenders can’t be sent to jail.
In accepting the award, Tonkin took the opportunity to highlight the campaign and its message to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who was in the audience at the function.