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WA’s links to China and the state’s Tangled Web earns WAtoday journalists top honours

“I grew increasingly frustrated with politicians’ responses, so drew this broad sweep of information into a single persuasive argument,” the senior journalist said.

“These pieces and the underpinning reports served the public interest and struck a nerve with government, which has since sharpened focus, providing better responses that demonstrate clearer understanding.”

Hondros’ investigation revealed Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei spent years building influence within WA’s political and business circles before winning a $136 million contract to construct a mobile data network for the state’s public transport system.

The second article in the series revealed how Chinese information operatives could impact WA, the Australian state of most interest to China because of its mining and business opportunities, and the influence WA exerted over Australia’s economy.

WAtoday’s award-winning journalist Emma Young and business reporter Hamish Hastie took the gong for the Best Multimedia Report for their comprehensive and thorough investigation ‘Perth’s tangled web: Property, power and the people who pull the strings’.

Previous extensive coverage of contentious projects across Perth led to several fresh story leads that meant the duo had to consider a new approach, tackling allegations in their entirety.

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The pair spent 36 eight-hour days over three months, while juggling normal reporting duties, and systematically scoured hundreds of meeting minutes to produce their four-part series.

Young and Hastie preluded the Tangled Web series by noting “Perth residents frequently contact WAtoday in anger at the decisions of government planning boards, whose processes are often shrouded in secrecy”, and through their investigation examined potential causes of that distrust.

“Our nuanced, fair analysis avoided the ‘easy sell’ and communicated the issue’s complexity,” they said.

“It also revealed the government didn’t mention its own reform promises for a year.

“We stayed committed to this intimidating task and contributed to the debates on our city’s future direction.”

The series attracted 40,000 readers, totalling four weeks’ engagement time.

On behalf of WAtoday, congratulations to Hondros, Young and Hastie and all other finalists and winners.

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