Two top agricultural journalists were awarded for their efforts in mustering coverage on meat industry matters last Friday night in Wellington at the Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicator’s annual awards dinner.
Wellington-based radio journalist Alexa Cook of Radio NZ’s Rural News took out the top award, the Ministry for Primary Industries Rongo Award which recognises excellence in agricultural journalism, for her coverage of a week-long mustering in Muzzle Station, the first after the Kaikoura earthquake. Her items were featured on Morning Report, Checkpoint, and Insight programmes, and on the RNZ website.
Cook also won the Alliance Group Red Meat Industry Journalism Award – along with a meat pack from the co-operative – shared the top prizes in two awards, the AgResearch Science Writers Award and the Federated Farmers Broadcast Award with Carol Stiles of Radio NZ’s Countryfile programme and received the inaugural Rural Women NZ Rural Connectivity Award, recognising the importance of connectivity to rural communities and agri-businesses in rural areas.
Nigel Stirling received the Beef + Lamb NZ News Award, which recognises excellence in hard news journalism, for his coverage of the re-opening of the Iran meat trade that appeared in Farmer’s Weekly and NZX Agri’s Pulse newsletter.
Runner-up in the MPI Rongo Award was The Dairy Exporter team of NZ Farm Life Media, for several features, particularly the Team Building feature.
All the awards for 2017 were announced at the B+LNZ Awards Dinner on Friday night. A total of eleven awards were presented, ten for journalism and one for photography. The key objectives of the awards are the encouragement and recognition of excellence in agricultural journalism.
Other award winners on the night were:
- The Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award was won by Sally Rae of Oamaru, for articles which appeared in the Otago Daily Times.
- The DairyNZ Dairy Industry Award which recognises the ability to communicate the complexities of the dairy industry, was won by Jackie Harrigan for articles in The Dairy Exporter.
- The inaugural Zespri Export Journalism Award, which recognises the vital importance of exports to the New Zealand economy, was won by Fairfax Media’s Gerard Hutching.
- The Federated Farmers Rural Photography Award was won by Des Williams, for a photo which appeared in Shearing magazine.
- The inaugural Rural Women New Zealand Rural Connectivity Award was won by Alexa Cook.
- The Guild’s own award – the Agricultural Journalism Encouragement Award – is designed to encourage and recognise excellence among journalists with three or less years reporting on agricultural issues. This year, it was won by Brittany Pickett, of Invercargill, for articles which appeared in the NZ Farmer.
Making the final decisions between the top entries proved difficult for the judges, who were thanked by the Guild for their countless hours reviewing the many entries, alongside the sponsors of these awards.