Eccles won the best news or lifestyle feature category for his comprehensive reports on the tragic death of Adelaide musician Andy MacQueen.
The same work saw him also win the “best print journalist” category in the awards, which were held via Zoom on Friday night due to pandemic restrictions.
The judges praised Eccles’ “standout” entry, noting that, in a series of articles for InDaily, his work “poignantly paid tribute to the life of Adelaide musician Andy MacQueen”.
“MacQueen was one of 30 people sexually abused by Robert Brandenburg,” the judges said. “It was a burden the young man carried for 42 years before taking his own life. David expertly, but without the hyperbole often injected into works about paedophiles, documented the life and spiral downward of the happy boy who succeeded in his career despite being destroyed within, and ultimately succumbing.”
InDaily editor David Washington said Eccles’ win was a great acknowledgment not only of his finely-detailed, non-sensationalist reporting, but also the courage of MacQueen’s family in telling their story.
“This is the level of reporting to which every journalist should aspire,” Washington said. “It was a privilege to publish these articles and the story is far from over. There are many unanswered questions about Andy’s treatment in South Australia’s health system.”
Channel Nine reporter Ben Avery won the night’s most prestigious award, Journalist of the Year, for a body of work that ranged from covering the Adelaide Hills bushfires, to crime and sport.
Radio broadcaster Rex Leverington, whose career as a journalist and announcer spanned the halcyon days of Adelaide radio, was added to the Hall of Hame.
Full list of winners in the awards, run by the journalists’ union, the MEAA:
BRONZE AWARD CATEGORIES – ALL MEDIA
Commentary, Analysis, Opinion & Critique: Jane Howard, Guardian Australia, Kill Your Darlings and Witness, “Body of Work”
Best Rural/Regional Journalist: Bec Whetham, 7pm news, ABC SA, News Breakfast and ABC Online, “Country convert”
Best Coverage of Public Service Journalism: Fiona Churchman, Travis Saunders, Rachel Fountain, Joel Werner and Monique Bowley, Audio Studios, ABC Radio, “The Parenting Spectrum”
Sports Journalism: Isadora Bogle, 7pm news, ABC SA and ABC News Online, “Sport in the South East”
Best Investigative Journalism: Casey Briggs and Rebecca Puddy, ABC News, “Combustible cladding fears over major Adelaide buildings”
Best Freelance Contribution: Royce Kurmelovs, The Saturday Paper and Guardian Australia, “Body of Work”
BRONZE AWARD CATEGORIES – RADIO
Best Radio News or Current Affairs or Feature Report: Annie Hastwell, The History Listen, Radio National, ABC, “Waterloo Bay: That word Massacre”
Megan Spencer, Australian War Memorial website, “From A Whisper To A Bang!”
BRONZE AWARD CATEGORIES – TELEVISION
Best TV/Video News Report: Mark Mooney, 7 News, “Cancer Bungle”
Best TV Current Affairs or Feature: Angelique Donnellan, 7.30, ABC, “Deadly DIY”
TV/Video Camerawork: Tony Salvatore, Today Tonight, “Body of Work”
BRONZE AWARD CATEGORIES – PRINT/DIGITAL
Print/Text News Report: Lauren Novak, The Advertiser and Advertiser.com.au, “Ashlee’s Out”
Best News or Lifestyle Feature: David Eccles, InDaily, “The Life and Death of Andy MacQueen: child sexual abuse, church cover-ups and the mental health system”
BRONZE AWARD CATEGORIES – PHOTOGRAPHY
Best News Photograph or Photographic Series: Tricia Watkinson, The Advertiser, “Hellfire”
Best Sport Photograph or Photographic Series: William Bailey, Murray Valley Standard website and Facebook, “Eagles Break Drought”
Best Feature Photograph or Photographic Series: Brad Fleet, The Advertiser, “Leigh Creek”
SILVER AWARD CATEGORIES
The Max Fatchen Award for Best Young Journalist: Joshua Boscaini, ABC News – online and television, “China’s reach in South Australia”
Julie Duncan Memorial for Student Journalism: Thomas Kelsall, The University of South Australia
Best Radio Broadcaster: Narelle Graham, Petria Ladgrove and Adam Jones, Regional Drive SA and Broken Hill, ABC Radio, “ABC radio Regional Drive SA and Broken Hill”
Best TV Broadcaster (Presenter, Reporter and/or Camera): Ben Avery, Nine News, “Body of Work”
Best Print Journalist: David Eccles, InDaily, “The Life and Death of Andy MacQueen: Child sexual abuse, church cover-ups and the mental health system”
Best Photographer: Sarah Reed, The Advertiser, “Body of Work”
GOLD AWARD CATEGORIES
Hall of Fame: Rex Leverington
Journalist of the Year: Ben Avery
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