Dateline's Executive Producer looks back at an award-winning year of world-changing stories in 2011, and ahead to a new day and time for Dateline in 2012.
Sunday, November 27, 2011 - 22:00

What an extraordinary year 2011 has been! Revolution in the Arab world, Japan's devastating tsunami, the death of Osama Bin Laden, the economic crisis raging across Europe and the US; it seems that hardly a week has gone by without a hot new story making international headlines.

Dateline's presenting and reporting teams have travelled widely to keep on top of these fast-moving events and, as in previous years, the program has been acclaimed for its courageous journalism.

Dateline's Yaara Bou Melhem won the 2011 Young Australian Journalist of the Year Award for her brave coverage of unrest in Syria and Bahrain. Her reports also won the United Nations Association of Australia Media Peace Prize and a Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Multi Walkley Award winners Fouad Hady and Geoff Parish were also nominated for a Walkley Award for the report, Breaking Point. And Dateline's Aaron Lewis was a Walkley finalist for his remarkable odyssey through Africa's wilderness in search of the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army.

During the year, we also took you into the secret communities living in darkness in storm-water drains under the city of Las Vegas. We toured the bizarre, empty cities of China, and we returned to spend more time with Julian Assange, as well as with the Australian 'Bali Nine' death row inmates in Kerobokan jail.

We took you into Greenland's extraordinary 'open prison' and reported on a controversial program in the US which connects the victims of crime with the criminals themselves. We filmed at the trial of Amanda Knox, and looked at anger in Italy over Berlusconi's rule there.

We went on the road with US Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, travelled into the jungles of Colombia on a donkey bringing library books to children in remote villages, and we entered the strange world of women wrestlers in Bolivia, who are seeking recognition and change.

2011 has also been a year of significant change for Dateline itself. The program shifted from one host to two: introducing Yalda Hakim to the presenting line-up, along with veteran Dateline video journalist Mark Davis. And we positioned the program to move more quickly on the world's breaking stories, with our presenters leaving the studio to bring you Dateline direct from South Sudan, Libya, Syria, Washington, New York, AfghanistanBali, Rome and Bangkok.

2012 will see further change to the program: when we return on 21st February, Dateline will broadcast on Tuesdays at 9.30pm, immediately after our sister program, Insight.

We very much look forward to our new season, and to bringing you a wealth of new stories from around the world.

From all of us at Dateline, have a happy, restful and healthy holiday.

Peter Charley
Executive Producer

REPLAY - Follow the links above to replay our stories, or search Dateline's online archive.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE STORY? - Go to our comments page to tell us about your favourite story of 2011.

BEHIND THE SCENES - There's also a series of behind the scenes features on how we've put together the program in 2011. Click here to take a look.