"You could say the awards sort the wheat from the chaff."
It's a quote well suited for the Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism's 65th gala event, planned to savour a country flavour right here in Tamworth.
The awards have always celebrated quality, and choosing to host their gala event in a regional centre in 2020 only seeks to emphasise the integral role journalism plays in our communities.
With closures, stand-downs and funding cuts, the past six months have already proven to be one of the most challenging and changing time for the journalistic landscape.
And yet with devastating bush-fires, COVID-19 and the ongoing drought, trusted journalism is more important than ever says Walkley Foundation's CEO Louisa Graham.
She is optimistic that despite the COVID-19 uncertainty plaguing event planners, all is set for the celebration on November 20.
If we can get everybody to wear their cowboy boots and Stetsons, it will be just fantastic.Louisa Graham
"It's a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on regional journalists and the important contributions they make to our community and to our democracy," Ms Graham explained.
She said the NSW Government shared their commitment to regional journalism, and their support allowed them to bring the awards to the Country Music Capital.
The "country flavour" will be brought to life with an after party held at the Tamworth Hotel, with musicians providing the perfect country atmosphere.
"If we can get everybody to wear their cowboy boots and Stetsons, it will be just fantastic," Ms Graham laughed.
With mid-year competitions just closing, entries had increased in comparison to previous years.
"We've had a horror year of drought, bush-fires, COVID-19, and expect to see some really strong entries," she said of the current categories.
Entries for the 65th Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism opened on July 1, and Ms Graham encourages all journalists to enter their work.
"The awards are important not only for individuals, but also for the community. There is a lot of bad journalism out there," she lamented.
"You could say the awards sort the wheat from the chaff ... that sort of journalism has to continue. And with closures, the government needs to look at what they can do to support regional journalism."
To find out more about the awards or to enter, click here.