Melbourne Press Club set to reinstate Quill for Sam McClure AFL story, independent panel finds

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An independent panel has recommended the Melbourne Press Club restore an award given to journalist Sam McClure for his reporting on a controversial AFL training camp, arguing the decision to strip him of the honor was wrong.

The report and its recommendation to reinstate McClure’s award will be presented to the Melbourne Press Club board for consideration on Wednesday.

Aged sports journalist and investigative reporter Sam McClure.Credit:Melbourne Press Club

McClure, a sports and investigative journalist at agewas stripped in February of a Quill Award he won in 2020 for his story about the Adelaide Crows’ 2018 pre-season AFL training camp.

The decision of the press club’s board of directors follows a legal settlement between age and camp organizers in which the masthead agreed to issue an apology acknowledging that the business was run in good faith. age apologized if the report hurt and offended the organizers and removed the article from its website.

The decision to revoke an award is highly unusual, and it was believed to be the first time in two decades that a feather has been revoked.

Following the decision, age complained of a lack of process in board deliberations, including that he was not informed of the review or given the opportunity to respond prior to the board’s decision. McClure was also not asked for his side of the story during the council process.

Following an extraordinary general meeting on February 15, the board announced that it would review the decision to cancel the award following feedback from members and key stakeholders and appoint a committee independent to oversee the process.

The panel, chaired by Matthew Collins, AM QC, found McClure and age should have been given the opportunity to argue their case, and the decision should have been delayed until more council members could be present to discuss the matter.

However, he concluded that board members had the right to stay for the vote even if they had a perceived conflict of interest because the media industry was small and many journalists had a personal relationship. or working with each other, a source familiar with the review said. Age.

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