The Greek Herald’s exposé on Orthodox funeral certificate up for Walkley Foundation award

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The Greek Herald journalist and University of Technology Sydney student, Pamela Rontziokos, has been named finalist for the Walkley Foundation’s 2024 Mid-Year Celebration of Journalism awards.

Miss Rontziokos has been recognised in the ‘Student Journalist of the Year’ category for an article published in The Greek Herald which investigated the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia’s (GOAA) ‘Certificate of death and funeral service.’

The investigation found families were expected to pay $250 for a funeral certificate that was not officially recognised in Australia nor Greece. The cost of the certificate was also found to be five times the amount compared to a government-issued death certificate in Australia and Greece. 

In a statement to The Greek Herald, Miss Rontziokos said she was “incredibly grateful” to be recognised in the Awards for the investigation.

“It is a genuine pinch myself moment,” she said. 

“I cannot have done it without my team at The Greek Herald who did not shy away from the facts and encouraged my thorough investigation. I thank The Greek Herald sincerely for providing a platform that publishes factual and investigative work regarding the Greek community.”

the greek herald pamela rontziokos funeral certificate greek orthodox archdiocese of australia
The Greek Herald journalist Pamela Rontziokos.

The exposé has previously received recognition in the Democracy Watchdog Awards 2023 and the Ossie Awards. Miss Rontziokos won ‘The Crikey Award for Investigative journalism by an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Student’ in the Ossie Awards.

“This is the story’s third recognition for journalistic excellence. It is clear the story reveals the jarring reality for Greek Australians: knowing this certificate is legally insignificant, but without it, they cannot bury their loved one,” she said.

“All I hope is that this nomination sheds further light on the issue and probes community leaders to re-evaluate their actions which affect Greek community members.”

The Walkley Foundation’s 2024 Mid-Year Celebration of Journalism awards are a standalone series of awards, held separately from the Walkley Awards which are announced in November. Winners are chosen on the basis of overall merit and journalistic excellence.

Winners of all the awards will be announced at the Mid-Year Celebration of Journalism in Sydney on 20 June. 

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