Joint entry wins 2018 top award

Posted: 07-Oct-2018

A joint entry by two experienced New Zealand agricultural journalists took out this year’s top award in the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators annual awards.

MPI Rongo - John Walsh MPI with Neal WallaceHugh StringlemanNorthland journalist Hugh Stringleman (right) and Otago’s Neal Wallace (pictured far right with John Walsh of the Ministry for Primary Industries - Hugh Stringleman was unable to attend the event) had worked together on a four-week series of articles giving an in-depth examination of Fonterra’s performance since 2012 and the capital restructure.  They won the Ministry for Primary Industries Rongo Award recognising excellence in agricultural journalism, for articles which appeared in Farmers Weekly in May and June this year. This is the second Rongo Hugh has won, the last one 30 years ago.

Runners-up in the Rongo award were two entries, placed second equal, both individual entries from RNZ Country Life programme, by Susan Murray and Carol Stiles.

All the awards for 2018 were announced at the Awards Dinner on Friday night which was jointly sponsored by Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association. A total of 13 awards were presented, 12 for journalism and one for photography. The key objectives of the awards are the encouragement and recognition of excellence in agricultural journalism. The guild thanks all our sponsors for making these awards possible.

Other award winners were:

  •  The AgResearch Science Writers Award, established to enhance standards of science writing, was won by Kate Evans, a freelance journalist now living in Raglan, for articles which appeared in the New Zealand Geographic and Forests News.
  • The Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award was won by Radio NZ Country Life’s, Carol Stiles.
  • She also won the the Federated Farmers Broadcast Journalism Award.
  • The Dairy Industry Award, which recognises the ability to communicate the complexities of the dairy industry, and was sponsored this year by the Guild, was won by Jackie Harrigan for articles in the Dairy Exporter.  She won this award last year, as well.
  • The AGMARDT Agribusiness Award, which recognises high quality information about effective analysis of national, global and other agribusiness issues, was won by Sonita Chandar, for articles which appeared in the NZ Dairy Farmer.
  • The  Zespri Export Journalism Award, which recognises the vital importance of  exports to the New Zealand economy, was won by Stuff journalist Gerald Piddock.
  • He also won the Rural Women New Zealand Rural Connectivity Award, which recognises the importance of connectivity to rural communities and agri-businesses in rural areas.
  • The Alliance Group Ltd Red Meat Industry Journalism Award, which focuses on all aspects of the red meat industry, was won by Sally Rae, of the Otago Daily Times.
  • The Beef + Lamb New Zealand Hard News Award, which recognises excellence in hard news journalism, focusing on any aspect of the beef and sheep industry, was won by Wellington freelancer, Ali Spencer, for two articles in FoodNZ magazine.
  • The Federated Farmers Rural Photography Award was won by freelance photographer, Emma McCarthy, for a photo which appeared on the cover of NZ Dairy Exporter.
  • 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 Esther Taunton, of Taranaki, for articles which appeared in Stuff.
  • The Horticulture New Zealand Journalism Award, set up to recognise excellence in journalism focusing on New Zealand’s horticulture industry, was won by Elaine Fisher for articles in Coast and Country.  This is the third year Elaine has won the award.  Elaine is currently the Guild president.

This year,  2018, marks the sixtieth anniversary of the establishment of the guild.  To mark the event a day of briefing sessions was held on Friday, with guest speakers including Jeff Grant, New Zealand’s Red Meat Sector Brexit representative; Mike Petersen, New Zealand’s special agriculture trade envoy;  Steven Carden, Chief Executive, Pamu New Zealand; Suzi Kerr, Senior Fellow at Motu; Catherine Duthie, incident controller for M.bovis at MPI;  Katie Milne, President of Federated Farmers;  and the Minister of Agriculture, the Hon Damien O’Connor. 

Special guest of honor was a British agricultural journalist with 12 years on a BBC agricultural programme and Nuffield scholar, Anna Jones, who spoke on the disconnect between farmers and city dwellers. Her travel to New Zealand was sponsored by AGMARDT.

The Guild thanks all of the sponsors, judges and entrants.

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