AAP Media Professionals' Award

The AAP offers an occasional award of $500 to media professionals for excellence in the presentation of philosophy or philosophical issues in the media.

Criteria of Evaluation

1. The primary criterion is the ability of the activity, episode or piece to engage the interest of the general public in philosophy or some philosophical issue.

2. In addition, the philosophy should be of acceptable quality, sufficient to justify the implicit AAP endorsement of quality conveyed by the prize.

3. Consideration should also be given to the size of the audience reached.


The award is open to media professionals including journalists, presenters, producers, editors and others. It is restricted to individuals based in Australasia

Media includes print and online publications, as well as radio broadcasts, television broadcasts and film. Entries are expected to have gone to air, been published, or occurred in the year (calendar) previous to the prize award, as appropriate for the format of the entry. The prize would not normally be awarded to the same person more than once.


Entries/nominations for piece(s) published in 2016 must be received by the Executive Officer no later than 28th February 2017.

Entries should be received in electronic copy and include:
  • A completed nomination form , including a short statement against the judging criteria (no more than 500 words); and,
  • An electronic copy of the piece(s) (word doc, pdf, mpeg, or other format as appropriate)
Entries consisting of a lengthy portfolio of items should submit the best one or two and list the remainder.
Nominations may be made ion behalf of others and should include the same material as per all entries.

Recipients of the AAP Media Professionals' Award


Scott Stephens and Waleed Aly

The Minefield 

Scott Stephens and Waleed Aly win the AAP Media Professionals Award for their highly engaging radio show The Minefield which was new to Radio National in 2015. The show focuses on moral problems associated with modern life. Often the topic for the show has a current affairs hook, for example following the popular vote on same-sex marriage in Ireland and the US Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage, The Minefield ran an episode on marriage equality. Stephens and Aly begin each episode with a nuanced discussion of the moral problems associated with the topic, generally drawing out important moral issues that are hidden or ill-defined in news and current affairs coverage. Each program also features a well-produced interview with a high calibre guest, often a philosopher, who is able to provide a deeper commentary on the topic. For example the show on marriage equality featured an interview with Professor Martha Nussbaum (University of Chicago). The judging panel particularly commends the diversity of perspectives included on the show, high production values, high calibre guests, and seamless presentation by Stephens and Aly, all of which are geared towards a general audience. The program has a wide reach, being available Australia-wide on the radio and internationally online.

 2015 Dr Tim Dean

Tim Dean is a science and technology section editor for The Conversation. He also has a background in philosophy, having recently completed his PhD at the University of New South Wales. Tim receives the 2015 media professionals' award for his philosophy-inspired contributions to a wide range of print and online media, including Acuity Magazine, Cosmos, ABC's The Drum and Channel 10's The Project. The judging panel were particularly impressed by Tim's commitment to reaching a wide audience, and success in pitching philosophical pieces to outlets such as Acuity - the magazine of the chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand. In one piece for this audience he argued "you're already doing philosophy [...] you might as well do it well" illustrating with examples of the sorts of conceptual and moral questions that business people are likely to encounter on a regular basis. This magazine has a circulation of 100 000 and reaches an audience who might not otherwise be engaging with philosophy.
 2015  Beth Matthews - commendation

The panel would also like to draw attention to another excellent nomination for the 2015 Media Professionals' Award - Beth Matthews, host and presenter of 'Radical Philosophy' on 3CR community radio. Beth runs a weekly half-hour radio program in which she interviews women philosophers on their areas of expertise. Beth adopts a layperson perspective in her interviewing, eliciting detailed accounts of the key questions and ideas in the areas of philosophy in which her interviewees work. As the interviews progress they move from more general descriptions of the topics in question, to the unique views and contributions of the interviewee. They thus provide a forum for interested members of the public to learn in some detail about current topics of concern within academic philosophy, and also the opportunity for the women being interviewed to share their contributions to the discipline with a wider audience. The focus on women philosophers is also significant in light of recent concerns both within the profession and in the wider media about the climate of academic philosophy and women's under-representation in the discipline.

 2014  Antonia Case

In the seven years since its inception, the AAP Media Professionals Award has only been awarded on two occasions – Alan Saunders received the inaugural prize in 2007 for his work on The Philosophers Zone, and Natasha Mitchell received an award the following year for an episode of All in the Mind.

The long drought reflects the limited space available in the Australasian media for philosophical content, and the vanishingly small amount of work in this area by professional journalists (as opposed to professional philosophers who also write for the mainstream press).

In this context, the arrival in 2013 of an Australasian magazine dedicated to philosophy  – New Philosopher – represents a significant development. Many of the articles in New Philosopher are penned by professional philosophers, but the magazine would not be what it is without the work of literary editor and journalist Antonia Case, who has helped shape the magazine and has contributed several feature articles to each issue.

A former Fairfax journalist, now a journalist and editor of Womankind Magazine, as well as literary editor and journalist at New Philosopher, Case’s academic background is in economics rather than philosophy. Yet her articles in New Philosopher span a wide range of philosophical topics, and showcase how philosophical thought can be woven into the discussion of other topics and, indeed, the pursuit of other activities such as photography or adventuring. 

Describing the first issue of the magazine to Kate Mayor from University of Sydney Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Case says “Sure, we have interviews with professional philosophers […] but at the same time we also have an interview with an American who runs a philosophy group in Paris, an Australian adventurer, and unknown artist, a young designer and a famous portrait photographer – weaving philosophy into their life and work.

”Some of her most interesting articles for the magazine focus on these non-philosophers who weave philosophy into their life and work, and Case does a good job incorporating philosophical ideas into the discussion of the work of these individuals. In “The Dizziness of Freedom” (Issue 1), for example, Case tells the story of Australian-born adventurer Tim Cope’s journey from Mongolia to Hungary by horse, linking a discussion of Hobbes and Rousseau’s competing views of human nature to some of Cope’s anecdotes about interactions with Nomads on the Eurasian Steppe during his journey.

The main criterion for the AAP Media Professional’s Award is the ability of the piece or pieces of writing to interest the general public in philosophy or some philosophical issue. The judging panel note that Case’s work in New Philosopher exemplifies how philosophy can be brought to life in connection with stories that are inherently interesting to a wide audience, like the story of Cope’s adventure across the Eurasian Steppe.


Natasha Mitchell
, host and producer of ABC Radio National Program, All in the Mind, for the program 'The Mind-Body Problem Downunder'. The program, broadcast originally on 23 September 2006, as part ABC's Radio National's The Big 56 Celebrations, was on the "Australian materialism" movement inaugurated by Ullin Place and Jack Smart in 1956.


Alan Saunders
for his ABC Radio National program The Philosopher's Zone. Since the program's inception in 2005, Alan has interviewed many Australasian philosophers on a wide variety of topics.

The AAP Media Professionals' Award is sponsored by Taylor and Francis, the publishers of the Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

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