Mandurah Mail a finalist for Walkley award

Mandurah Mail a finalist for Walkley award

The Mandurah Mail has been named a finalist in Australia's most prestigious awards - the Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism.

The leading Peel newspaper was recognised for its Annette Deverell investigation, led by former journalist Carla Hildebrandt, and is one of just two WA finalists.

The true-crime podcast Annette: Cold Case Unlocked and accompanying news coverage examined the suspicions and secrets surrounding Annette Deverell's death almost 40 years after she went missing.

After extensive reporting by the Mail, WA Police in March announced its Cold Case Squad investigators would re-examine the unsolved death of the 'bubbly and popular' 19-year-old girl.

Mail editor Daniela Cooper said the outcome was a great example of local media working to get action for its community.

"The Mandurah Mail has been at the forefront of advocating for issues raised by the people of the Peel for many years," Ms Cooper said.

"Our community has taken ownership of the Mandurah Mail - both the print publication and online - in an extraordinary way.

"We really see it as our role to be the voice and lobby for the changes that our community wants and needs."

She said police were due to begin their review into the case later this year, which was expected to take three to six months followed by a new police investigation.

"If police are able to solve this crime, it will not only be a win for Annette's loved ones, but will highlight the importance of local media and diligent journalism," Ms Cooper said.

James Joyce, executive editor of Australian Community Media, said the Mail's true-crime podcast was a compelling piece of digital storytelling.

"It was done in a way that only a proudly local community newspaper can - with sensitivity and respect for the family and friends of Annette Deverell still living in the area who hold her memory dear but still want the truth and justice," he said.

"The process of interviewing, writing, presenting and producing the podcast and the accompanying news coverage was a labour of love for Ms Hildebrandt.

"The fact police subsequently re-examined the case shows the vital role local media like the Mandurah Mail play in giving regional communities a voice."

Winners will be announced on November 20.