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Page one story, top student award make Laura’s day

Mar 27th, 2013 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Featured Article, Most Popular, News

WHITIREIA journalism student Laura Macdonald (above) started the day with a page one story and a full-page news feature in the Dominion Post – and finished it with the Canon Best Journalist prize at the Whitireia Journalism awards dinner.

Her story and feature on a New Zealander’s years in a Chinese jail was perfect timing for Laura, one of 33 students acknowledged during the dinner this month.

Dominion Post head of news Patrick Crewdson said it was rare for a student to have a front page story, let alone one she found herself.

“To manage a feature on the same day is superb,” he said in a congratulatory email.

Laura was finalist in five of the 19 awards on the night – shorthand, local government, features, news writing and top student.

The night was also marked by the announcement of a new scholarship aimed at encouraging more Pacific students into broadcasting.

The Tom H. Etuata Memorial Scholarship was announced by Pacific Media Network head of news Mary Lose (right), and is named in honour of the organisation’s former chief executive, who died suddenly last year. The scholarship, funded by Whitireia NZ Media Training Centre, is worth more than $5000 a year.

Former TVNZ journalist Mark Sainsbury (right) was guest speaker at the annual dinner, which recognises students in the National Diploma in Journalism (Multimedia) and the Diploma in Radio Journalism.

He entertained students, family and friends recalling stories he covered, including an assignment in Nepal during which he helped cartoonist and film-maker Tom Scott save the life of Sir Edmund Hillary.

However, Sainsbury told students some of their most memorable moments came from meeting ordinary people, such as a woman he considers a hero for overcoming her fear of going on camera to tell a story which changed ACC legislation.

Four prizes were dedicated to the radio diploma – Matt Hall won the Radio Live Best Newsreader, Jess Bramley both the Whitireia Best Radio Documentary and Pacific Media Network Award  for best story submitted to Niu FM, and Jamie Tahana won the Newstalk ZB honour for most productive student.

Jamie (left, with Dean of Arts Kaye Jujnovich)  is now on a one-year internship with Radio New Zealand International.

The first student with a job from the course, Blenheim Sun reporter Kat Duggan, picked up two prizes on the night – the Fairfax Best Reporter Award, and the Wellington City Council Award for local government reporting.

The Wellington Company Award for best news writer was won by Erin Kavanagh-Hall, who formed a winning double act on the night with her husband Matt Hall.

Melissa Wastney won the Whitireia Most Motivated Journalism Student Award, after successfuly juggling her studies with two children, a husband, running a popular international craft blog and publishing a book.

She also won the Mana Magazine Award for the best bicultural reporter.

Canon, which also sponsors the country’s top journalism awards, continued its major support of the Whitireia programme by also providing the Canon Best Photographer Award, won by Anthony Scadden, pictured at right from Canon’s Gary Paddison (left). The prize was a receiving his Canon EOS 600D KIS single lens kit with 18–55 lens.

The award for best sports reporter given annually by Wellingtonian editor Joseph Romanos went to Cameron Russell, whose portfolio include stories on paralympic funding, rising star James Musa, council artificial turf, a series on sport’s part in the US elections, and local American football.

Cameron also won the Pagemasters NZ Award for sub-editing and design.

Another dual winner was Sophie Jackman (left), who won the Newsroom Award for best new media journalist, and the TV3 Award for best video report, which earned her an internship with TV3.

Sophie, a fluent Japanese speaker, will have to work that internship around a month-long internship in Tokyo with leading news agency Kyodo.

Asia New Zealand Foundation’s diversity reporting prize was made even more diverse by the announcement coming in a video show from Britain with former diversity tutor Julie Salt-Cowell.

In keeping with its ongoing testing of digital technology, Whitireia Journalism trialled teaching and writing groups with Julie when the former BBC journalist returned to Britain during the course.

Watched (at right) by Head of Journalism Bernie Whelan, she announces Natasha Thyne as the winner for her story on mental illness and Wellington Access Radio DJ Luke Skywalker.

Liz Wylie’s feature on Dame Margaret Sparrow’s journey to restore the grave of early 20th century sexual health campaigner Ettie Rout in the Cook Islands won her the North & South Award for feature writing.

The Fairfax Shorthand Award was won by Nicole Baxter, and Vomle Springford won the Pacific Island Whakapapa Award, sponsored by the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs.

CANON’S Gary Paddison talks to the audience about Canon’s involvement with Whitireia. 

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