The 2016 Guild award winners are ...

Posted: 15-Oct-2016

A Levin freelance journalist now working for RNZ News, Aaron Smale, took out the top award for agricultural journalists at the 2016 awards night for the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators.

Aaron won the supreme award, the Ministry for Primary Industries Rongo Award, which recognises excellence in agricultural journalism.  He won the award for articles in NZ Geographic (Thick and Thin) and North & South magazine (Peak Milk). He is pictured (right) receiving his award from Ministry for Primary Industries' Sid Pickering.

Runner-up in the MPI Rongo Award was Neal Wallace for two articles in the NZ Farmers Weekly.

Aaron also won the AGMARDT Agribusiness Award, for the same two articles. This award recognises high quality information about and effective analysis of national, global and other agribusiness.

All the awards for 2016 were announced at the Beef + Lamb NZ Awards Dinner on Friday night. A total of twelve awards were presented, eleven 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:

  • Gerald Piddock, of Fairfax Media, who won the AgResearch Science Writers Award, established to enhance standards of science writing, especially about pastoral agriculture.
  • Gerald Piddock also won the Farm Business Writing Award which is sponsored by Ballance AgriNutrients.
  • The Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award was won by Nadine Porter, for articles which appeared in Guardian Farming, in Ashburton.
  • Susan Murrray, from RNZ’s Country Life programme, won the Federated Farmers Broadcast Journalism Award. She also won ...
  • the Horticulture New Zealand Journalism Award. One of her entries in both of these two awards, Housing Versus Horticulture, won her second place earlier this year in the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists Broadcast Journalism Award, which attracted entries from journalists around the world.
  • Sonita Chandar, Fairfax Media, received the DairyNZ Dairy Industry Award which recognises the ability to communicate the complexities of the dairy industry.
  • Another Fairfax Media agjournalist Gerard Hutching won the Alliance Group Ltd Red Meat Industry Journalism Award. Entries into this award focus on all aspects of the red meat industry, from genetics, breeding, on-farm, processing, marketing, and all issues facing the red meat industry.
  • Neal Wallace, from NZ Farmers Weekly, won the Beef + Lamb New Zealand News Award, which recognises excellence in hard news journalism, focusing on any aspect of the beef and sheep industry.
  • The Federated Farmers Rural Photography Award was won by MPI Rongo winner, Aaron Smale, for an image of high country mustering which appeared in NZ Geographic.
  • 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 Pat Deavoll, for articles which appeared in the Timaru Herald, NZ Farmer and the South Island Farmer.

Guild president,  Ali Spencer thanked all the sponsors for their commitment to the Guild and assistance to the Guild in recognising excellence in agricultural journalism.

Entry numbers were up on the 2015 awards, and for many of the judges, making the final decisions between the top entries proved difficult.  She thanked all the judges, who had spent countless hours reviewing the many entries.

She congratulated all this year’s winners for the high standard of their entries.

“We can all be reassured that New Zealand primary production and journalism and communication is in very good heart. It is spreading the knowledgeable word about farming practices and innovation in this important economic sector, not only to farming audiences, but also wider to the general population,” she said.

You can read/hear the 2016 award-winning entries here.

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