2017 judges' comments

View the judges' comments on the winning entries


Best Blog Site: Villainesse
Judges: Toby Manhire and Bill Ralston
Villainesse stands out for its strong feminist voice, excellent graphic presentation and a good sense of what is in the news.

Best News Website or App: Newshub
Judges: Peter Bale and Joseph Barratt
Newshub is fast, truly excellent and relevant. Paddy’s US election coverage was outstanding and his reporting was weirdly definitive considering he was from New Zealand. Strong app and a good responsive site. Fun but good journalism as well. Excellent use of Facebook as an engagement tool. There is a vitality to the reporting and the services which really comes across to the consumer.

Website of the Year: NZ Herald
Judges: Peter Bale and Joseph Barratt
This year the Herald seems to have broken through to modernity, impact and scale in its internet operations with elegant redesigns, great use of its multi-media network and work-class applications and sites. Some of the story-telling is astounding such as the beautiful reporting on hair harvesting in China. It seems to take seriously its mission to serve the whole of New Zealand and is making the most of non-newspaper media now at its disposal.

Feature Writing (long-form, +2500 words)

Best Feature Writer - Junior: Don Rowe, 1972 magazine and New Zealand Geographic
Judges: Deborah Hill Cone and Catherine Smith
Don Rowe's elegant and deeply researched portfolio was a standout. Don has a true storyteller's ability to sustain a narrative with classy writing and an eye for crisp details. Even under the influence of kava!

Feature Writer - arts and entertainment: David Larsen, Metro
Judges: Linda Herrick and Colin Hogg
David Larsen’s Metro blog series on the feverish experience of covering the Auckland Writers Festival day-by-day exudes intelligent, highly original writing pivoting upon a foundation of pure pleasure mixed with total exhaustion.

Feature Writer - business and politics: Simon Wilson, Metro
Judges: Jenni McManus and Tim Watkin
A compelling, comprehensive essay from a writer at the top of his game and on a subject he's been immersed in for six years. It was an honest, sometimes rough and tumble, wrestle with the pros and cons of the Len Brown mayoralty. Always fluid and frank, but never with a heavy touch, the story achieved its ambitious aim – to be the definitive piece on Brown and his complicated legacy.

Feature Writer - crime and justice: James Mahoney, Metro
Judges: Mike Field and David King
Marvellous story from some one who was there: told in straightforward, honest style and provided completely new insights into one of New Zealand's more infamous criminals.

Feature Writer - general: Aaron Smale, RNZ
Judges: Noelle McCarthy and Catherine Smith
A punch in the gut. Aaron Smale’s investigation of the incarcerated children is touching in its humanity, impressively researched and managed to pit a judge against a minister, on record. This story deservedly made us all uncomfortable.

A terrific range of experts, culminating in a Judge going on record against a minister, some deep digging: that’s good, dogged journalism. But what won this for the judges was the thoughtful use of the victims’ own words, and the standard of writing, engaging, colourful, thoughtful. Our only disappointment - that we wanted to read more - will hopefully be remediated in Aaron's 2017 Canon entries on the followup.

Feature Writer - health and lifestyle: Kirsty Johnston, NZ Herald
Judges: Toby Manhire and Catherine Smith
Kirsty Johnston’s story, compassionately written, combines sensitive portraits of Ashley Peacock and his parents, with hard-nosed digging to expose flaws in the care of vulnerable people. 

"I fought the system and the system won” stories are hard to get right, but this piece had the best blend of caring - not maudlin - portraiture with great background research and smart reportage on both Ashley’s case and the wider problems in disability and mental health care. The repercussions from the one piece are a powerful reminder of what good journalism can achieve.

Feature Writer - sport
Judges: Jim Kayes and Jason Pine
In a high quality field, Dylan Cleaver's brilliantly-crafted investigative article stood out for its thorough research, but also the compassion shown towards its subjects. It was also an important piece which led to greater examination of the effects of concussion on the lives of former rugby players.

Feature Writer of the Year: Joanna Wane, North & South
Judges: Tim Watkin and Gilbert Wong
Classy writing. A great range of powerful, precise stories told with some sparkles of brilliance; Wane got people to open up in tough circumstances and was worthy of their trust, writing fair and insightful pieces. She shows real heart for the people she writes about, but uses her head to ensure her readers are fully informed. A diverse portfolio that was strong across the board.

Feature Writing (short-form, up to 2500 words)

Best Feature Writer - Junior: Christopher Reive, Taranaki Daily News
Judges: Deborah Hill Cone and Tim Watkin
Christopher's work stood out for sturdy and polished constructions. But what put him ahead was the combination of heart and head – plus some sprinkles of magic – rare in a young writer. The restraint and dignity shown when writing about dementia; the clear-eyed observations of a league team's practice and the thorough, hard-headed look at Taranaki's oil industry amounted to a diverse, impressive portfolio.

Feature Writer - arts and entertainment: Charlie Gates, The Press
Judges: Colin Hogg and Gilbert Wong
The winner stood out for his innovative approach to the story of That Bloody Woman, a hit punk rock feminist musical out of Christchurch. For his triumph of structure and storytelling, our winner is Charlie Gates of the Press.

Feature Writer - business and politics: Mava Enoka, The Wireless
Judges: Jenni McManus and Owen Poland
This was a well researched and well told story that lifted the lid on a major immigration scandal and made full use of multi-media platforms to engage and inform the audience.

Simply asking the question, "Why are so many Indian students coming to New Zealand?' set the scene for a wide-ranging examination of a topic that had serious political, business and social ramifications.

The writing style was refreshingly to the point and readers were left in no doubt about the dynamics at play through an admirable range of sources and with good use made of relevant facts and images to support the narrative. Having outlined the nature of the problem, there was also a constructive examination of possible solutions.

Feature Writer - crime and justice: Jared Savage, NZ Herald
Judges: Mike Field and David King
The winning piece nudged ahead of the other finalists with its superb and simple story writing style that revealed an extra-ordinary investigation worthy of a movie, set against a backdrop of a crime with major economic implications.

As close to a perfect story you can get; after reading this account I had a clear understanding of the crime and investigation - despite its complexity.

Feature Writer - general: Adam Dudding, Sunday Star-Times
Judges: Noelle McCarthy and Lynda van Kempen
Sensitive, funny and moving, Adam Dudding's compelling story about his mother's stroke and her involvement in the CeleBRation choir was beautifully written, informing and inspiring by turns.

This stood out as a masterful piece of writing with universal appeal. Adam Dudding took readers on a journey from the dark days after his mother's stroke, sharing the challenges of her rehabilitation, outlining the therapeutic effects of being involved in the choir and ending on a high note. Deft touches of humour lightened the serious subject matter. Although he was sharing a personal account of a family drama, it was sensitively portrayed, engaging and engrossing the reader. The story skillfully wove facts and emotion together, informing and uplifting readers.

Feature Writer - health and lifestyle
Judges: Toby Manhire and Noelle McCarthy
In a strong field, the standout was Greg Bruce’s personal essay, a powerful and surprising account of death, life and family.

Feature Writer - sport: Jonathan Carson, Sunday Star-Times
Judges: Suzanne McFadden and Foster Niumata
The highest compliment we can pay 'The boy from Manila' is we wish we'd written it. It's heart-warming, enlightening, and a story we've enjoyed reading over and over.

This was as obvious the winner of sports short feature as the white lines on the green astroturf that Lito and the Vipers played on. We're glad Carson persevered on a tip to bring us 'The boy from Manila.' We just wish we'd received the tip and written it, because it's heart-warming, enlightening, and a fine read. Congratulations.

Feature Writer of the Year (short-form)
Judges: Colin Hogg and Barb Rogers
In tough company, we choose Nikki Macdonald of Fairfax Media for her outstanding portfolio, especially her innovative treatment of a father’s path to forgiving the mobster murderers of his son. It was warm, powerful and original in its structure.


Best artwork/graphics: Toby Morris, RNZ and The Wireless
Judges: Gideon Keith and Matt Straker
News often needs a light above it to welcome the reader and guide them through it. The illustration work of Toby Morris, and his collaborators, is illuminating. Not only are the illustrations technically world class, they delve deep into subjects and make them palatable. They also go beyond traditional editorial illustration and embrace the new digital language of story telling; like all good stories, they are sharable. Great work.

Best headline: Matthew Dallas, Manawatu Standard
Judges: Peter Calder and Fred Tulett
The winning entry was an absolute standout _  clever, eye-catching and leaving readers  in no doubt as to what the story was about.

Entries in the Best Headline category this year re-inforced that we have some remarkable wordsmiths working their craft in New Zealand. Even so, the winning entry was an absolute standout - clever, eye-catching and leaving readers in no doubt as to what the story was about. It combined perfectly with striking design that made for a perfect front page.

Best trade/specialist publication and/or website: Jackie Harrigan, NZ Dairy Exporter magazine
Judges: Kate Coughlan and Kim Mundell
NZ Dairy Exporter is an authoritative publication with expert commentary and in-depth analysis, providing thought-leadership to its readers in a complex market.

Cartoonist of the Year: Sharon Murdoch, Sunday Star-Times, The Dominion Post and The Press
Judges: Mark Knight and Jenny Nicholls
The winner is Sharon Murdoch, for her mastery of caricature, colour and shade, and for her power and her range, from laughter to despair. 

Sharon Murdoch's Trump cartoon is a masterly piece of work. Look at the use of light and shade... and the clever and subtle use of color. It is both alarming – and wickedly funny! She uses space effectively too, most obviously in the composition of the Chiefs and Stripper cartoon. Murdoch's technical chops give her work great graphic impact on the page. On top of all this, she has originality, intelligence, and range. There is nothing obvious or trite in her work. From funny, instantly recognisable caricatures, to powerful, stop-you-in-your-tracks social commentary, Sharon Murdoch's work is supremely skilled, compassionate and thoughtful.

Sharon Murdoch's political cartoons satisfy the two golden rules of the art form. They make you laugh and are wickedly caricatured. The cartoon of former NZ Prime Minister John Key having his proposed flag tattoo removed by laser is LOL gold. Her masterful skill at draughting and use of light and colour is on full display in her caricature of Donald Trump stirring the pot of American politics. A worthy winner!

Cartoonist of the Year (runner-up): Toby Morris, RNZ and The Wireless
Judges: Mark Knight and Jenny Nicholls
Toby Morris' cartoons are beautifully told and drawn in a style that is contemporary and pleasing to the eye. He manages to lead his readers on a thought provoking journey and make them stay the entire course despite the length of some of his works with his illustrative ability and insightful commentary. He is not scared to tackle the difficult issues either.

Few cartoonists would put the amount of research into their work that Morris has. These comic strips make powerful use of quotes from real-life interviews: his work with Hussam really transcends the cartoon genre. I think this work is an absolute classic, of the standard of Art Spiegelman's Maus. It has the power to change minds. Also, his technique is absolutely superb. 

Reviewer of the Year: Duncan Greive, NZ Herald and The Spinoff
Judges: Linda Herrick and Catherine Smith
Duncan Greive’s clear-eyed television reviews are elevated by a razor-sharp wit and carefully argued opinions which focus particularly on the quality and funding of New Zealand productions.

He is also to be commended for his insistence that NZ programming, particularly in the field of current affairs, has considerable room for improvement.


Best magazine design: HOME
Judges: Gideon Keith and Matt Straker
HOME delivers something special. It is a magazine that offers lifestyle, aspiration and great design all with a warm human touch. It's front covers don't shout as others do; they invite. The quality of production and attention to design detail help the reader enjoy the experience. Even the paper is reassuringly tangible. There is a quiet confidence that runs throughout its presentation; an understated precision. The strong design foundations of HOME allow the content to live comfortably and in style. HOME is a place you really want to be.

Best newspaper-inserted magazine: Your Weekend/The Dominion Post, The Press and Waikato Times
Judges: Lauren Quaintance and Barb Rogers
Upbeat and attractive with a design that’s arresting but not too slick, a clever mix of stories for curious locals with broad horizons, supported by well-crafted writing. A leisurely read with the emphasis on living well and having fun.

Magazine of the Year: New Zealand Geographic
Judges: Lauren Quaintance and Barb Rogers
Shows a real commitment to intelligent, long-form writing with unexpected stories about the world we inhabit. Its clever design helps the reader successfully navigate an outstanding magazine whose original, documentary-style photography is consistently classy. And crucially, this approach is winning more readers in a difficult market.


Best newspaper front page: Weekend Herald
Judges: Bill Ralston and Jim Tully
The Weekend Herald demanded attention with well-designed front pages that featured strong news stories supported by high-impact visuals. The content inside was well signposted with excellent pointers. It was a package that compelled readers'  attention

Canon Community Newspaper of the Year: Feilding-Rangitikei Herald
Judges: Jim Eagles and Mike Fletcher
The Feilding-Rangitikei Herald is a brand new community newspaper which already provides excellent news coverage of its huge and diverse catchment as well as acting as a forum for local opinion and taking up issues of concern.

Canon Newspaper of the Year: Weekend Herald
Judges: Brett McCarthy, Campbell Reid and Paul Thompson
The Weekend Herald is simply New Zealand's most complete newspaper. Its ambitious news agenda is complimented by its re-energised magazines which are both best in class. The Weekend Herald fulfils the brief of a weekend read to be truly immersive:  It delivers confrontation and comfort in equal measure and is rewarding on every page.

Newspaper of the Year (more than 30,000 circulation): NZ Herald
Judges: Brett McCarthy, Campbell Reid and Paul Thompson
“The New Zealand Herald is a clear winner in this category combining a hard news edge with a sense of confidence about its investigative journalism and the significant role the paper plays in New Zealand. It is a tightly-edited, well-packaged tabloid paper that packs a punch.”

Newspaper of the Year (up to 30,000 circulation): Nelson Mail
Judges: Brett McCarthy, Campbell Reid and Paul Thompson
“All the finalists cover their region comprehensively and in 2016 rose to the challenge of reporting major local news with limited newsroom resources and tight paging. The Nelson Mail’s effective campaigning set it apart in this tight field of finalists. The campaign against the wasp plague was specific, engaging and with a clear measure of success. It was a great example of a newspaper acting as a community leader. The Mail also did a great job of telling the stories of local heroes.

Weekly Newspaper of the Year: Weekend Herald
Judges: Brett McCarthy, Campbell Reid and Paul Thompson
The Weekend Herald is unmatched in its exclusive reporting, depth and quality of its writing and analysis, lifestyle content and commentary. It is a serious newspaper in the best sense of the world: delivering readers with substantial journalism within an accessible and appealing weekend paper.  The Weekend Herald has the sense of self-assurance that allows it to choose the stories that will set the national debate and it delivers those stories with rigour and authority.  Its coverage of the world of rugby, from the provocative "Send in the Clowns" to the sobering tales of the toll the game had taken on older players, combined a great deal of cheek on one hand and sense of public duty on the other.

Opinion Writing

Opinion Writer - business and politics: Simon Wilson, Public Address, RNZ and The Spinoff
Judges: Jenni McManus and Owen Polan
An incisive portfolio, packed with analysis and insight – and refreshingly strong opinions. You would never die wondering what Simon thought about things! A joy to read.

Opinion Writer - general: Lizzie Marvelly, Weekend Herald
Judges: Bruce Davidson and Ant Phillips
Lizzie Marvelly uses her experience as a light-skinned Maori to challenge our belief structure and views of racism with an insightful and fresh approach. Similarly her articles on gender discrimination and sexual consent present arguments that make us all question our own thinking regarding entrenched community attitudes.

Opinion Writer - humour/satire: Steve Braunias, NZ Herald
Judges: Kate Coughlan and Catherine Smith
The winner is always funny, is wickedly observant and always makes a point even if his characters mostly inhabit absurd parallel universes.

New Zealand is well-served by the quantity and quality of its columnists in this field, however, one stood out from the very strong finalist cohort. Steve Braunias has a unique ability to capture the voice of his subjects and to spin that voice into absurd concepts while still making a relevant point. He wields words with aplomb, is wickedly acute in his observations and well-informed. Best of all, he's funny.

Opinion Writer - sport: Dylan Cleaver, NZ Herald
Judges: Nathan Burdon and Michael Donaldson
The judges were looking for exceptional writing, strong opinion and an ability to take the reader to an original place. Dylan Cleaver did all that.

Opinion Writer of the Year: Duncan Garner, The Dominion Post
Judges: Claire Harvey and Bill Ralston
Duncan Garner writes columns with directness, clarity and deceptive simplicity; they are persuasive because they are utterly unpretentious. Most importantly, they are brave. Garner puts himself on the line in his opinion writing and has finessed a distinctive and refreshingly forthright style. 


Best feature photo: Richard Robinson, New Zealand Geographic
Judges: Mark Baker, Rob Taggart and Jane Ussher
To make great features one has to understand the subject and Richard Robinson's work always reflects great understanding of the stories he shoots. This image has all the elements of a great feature – visually strong, technically perfect and captures the subject perfectly.

Best general photo: Paul Taylor, Hawke's Bay Today
Judges: Mark Baker, Rob Taggart and Jane Ussher
A great image that needs absolutely no explanation and captured perfectly, nice work Paul Taylor. A great selection in this category for the judges to choose from, well done to the other finalists who all had great images.

Best news photo: Blair Pattinson, Otago Daily Times
Judges: Mark Baker, Rob Taggart and Jane Ussher
“Wow! This was again a very tough category. Blair Pattinson captured an iconic news picture of a Queenstown police chase stopped by a flock of sheep.”

Best photo (junior): Christel Yardley, Waikato Times
Judges: Mark Baker, Rob Taggart and Jane Ussher
Christel Yardley’s portrait illustrates the emotion and love shared to explain the story faultlessly and this work promises a good career ahead in photography as she expands her skills and experience. 

Best photo essay: Mike Scott, NZ Herald
Mark Baker, Rob Taggart and Jane Ussher
This photo essay is a suburb example of how beautifully composed and powerful images can be an effective tool in telling a story. It had a strong narrative and showed an extraordinary amount of skill, dedication and commitment to follow the story from beginning to end. Sensational work.

Best portrait photo: Meek Zuiderwyk, Metro
Mark Baker, Rob Taggart and Jane Ussher
This portrait successfully combined good composition with the use of rich colour and interesting layering of foreground and background to create a complex image that intelligently informed the viewer of unusual aspects of the subjects personality without feeling contrived.

Best sports photo: Chris Cameron, NZ Herald
Mark Baker, Rob Taggart and Jane Ussher
A great sport photo which works so well because it is so rare to see and could it have been shot any better? Wonderful moment. This category was very strong as we expected, many great sporting moments captured perfectly.

Photographer of the Year: Alan Gibson, NZ Herald
Mark Baker, Rob Taggart and Jane Ussher
An excellent all round portfolio that demonstrates all aspects of photojournalism to make visually strong images across all genres of photography. Alan Gibson’s use of light and moment reflect this impeccably and makes him a worthy winner amongst a strong field.


Best coverage of a major news event: "Kaikoura earthquake", Stuff, Kaikoura Star, The Dominion Post, The Marlborough Express and The Press
Judges: Stuart Howie and Bill Ralston
Fairfax’s coverage of the November 2016 quake was journalism of the highest order. It represents a masterclass in how to tell a story of catastrophic proportions across platforms.

From the first moments after the quake, Fairfax began rolling out sustained and extraordinary storytelling via its newspapers, national website and social media accounts.

Its journalism ranged from detailed practical reportage through to the evocative, including stunning photography and video vignettes of those caught up in the disaster.

Video was a prime mover of content. Fairfax posted 120 video clips for 4.5 million views. In particular, the Mountains Moved interactive, which included an 11-minute video, was a compelling wrap of the quake and its aftermath.

Newspaper design and content was world-class, breaking news was expertly handled through live-streamed events and blogs, and audiences were delighted with just the right amount of light relief.

Best editorial campaign or project: "#buythisbeachNZ", Stuff
Judges: Stuart Howie and Fred Tulett
The #buythisbeachnz campaign was a superlative display of journalism-led community activism that achieved no less than saving a small part of the planet for public use, hopefully for perpetuity.

As two ordinary Kiwis struggled to raise the $2 million to buy back the slice of paradise in the Marlborough Sounds, Stuff came to the rescue.

Mobilising its huge audience with compelling content online and via social platforms, Stuff unlocked more than $1 million in donations in the last critical week of the crowd-funding effort.

This story was beautifully told - and the last gasp victory was a stunning result tailor-made for the silver-screen. In the process, it made us all feel great to be Kiwi.

Best investigation: Matt Nippert, NZ Herald
Judges: David Hastings and Jim Tully
Matt Nippert's Tax Gap investigation was the epitomy of public service journalism: probing a complex subject of vital interest to all New Zealanders and shining a revealing spotlight on on what powerful multinationals would have preferred to keep hidden.

This authoritative and exclusive work was extra special because it came not from an insider tip but from the initiative and deep research of reporter Matt Nippert. There is no questioning the broad impact; not only was it of concern to every New Zealander but it forced the government to act. Nippert also scored full marks for the quality of his writing which was a model of clarity even though dealing with a difficult and complex subject.

Best Reporter (Junior): Donna-Lee Biddle, Stuff and Waikato Times
Judges: Sue Carty and Paul Elenio
First, this portfolio stood out because of the well crafted but disturbing and painful read about Moko and his sister, and the unimaginable pain and suffering they endured. She allowed her subjects to tell this gruesome story. Second, her three entries were head and shoulders above the other finalists' because of their impact.

Best (single) news story: Olivia Carville and Mike Scott, NZ Herald
Judges: David Hastings and Jim Tully
The winner is Olivia Carville for a beautifully crafted expose of the harvesting of children's hair in China that combined solid investigation with evocative story-telling supported by strong visuals by Mike Scott.

Olivia Carville's first-hand account of the harvesting of children's hair in China was a wonderful example story-telling at its best. She gathered solid facts enhanced by personal observation and presented them in a beautifully written, at times poignant,feature that challenged readers to think about the human cost of vanity. It was supported by strong visuals by Mike Scott.

Business Journalist of the Year: Gareth Vaughan, Interest
Judges: Felicity Anderson and Jenni McManus
Incisive and thoughtful stories on NZ’s exposure to housing loans and on issues around the NZ Financial Services Provider’s Register demonstrate Gareth is an independent journalist who translates issues clearly for his specialist audience.

Business Journalist of the Year (runner-up): Matt Nippert and Caleb Tutty, NZ Herald
Judges: Felicity Anderson and Jenni McManus
Teaming a data analyst and a good writer delivered major headlines around shifting tax liability offshore, KiwiSaver fund investments and banks’ mortgage wars. This team delivered news agenda setting results.

Community Journalist of the Year: Paul Taylor, Mountain Scene
Judges: Jim Eagles and Fred Tulett
This portfolio is community reporting at its best _ two genuine scoops, the beginning of a successful campaign and a heart-warming interview. Excellent work.

The Community Journalist of the Year competition contained so many excellent individual stories, but one portfolio stood out and was the unanimous choice of the judges. This is community reporting at its best _ two genuine scoops, the beginning of a successful campaign and a heart-warming interview. Excellent work.

Regional Journalist of the Year: Aaron Leaman, Stuff and Waikato Times
Judges: Robin Charteris and Jim Eagles
Aaron Leamon's work typifies the versatility required of a top regional reporter. His was the best of an excellent bunch of entries from the Waikato Times.

This all-round reporter showed an excellent rapport with his subjects, a good command and use of the English language and a real ability to dig beneath the surface of local issues. His news story of a roadside rescue was particularly compelling, while feature-length interviews with Hamilton's outgoing and incoming mayors were revealing, thoughtful and a delight to read.

Reporter - arts and entertainment: Vicki Anderson, Stuff and The Press
Judges: Bruce Davidson and Ant Phillips
The hit Victoria by influential NZ band The Exponents is the stuff of legend: more than 30 years later Vicki Anderson has uncovered the real story of the woman in the song. Fantastic detective work that solves the mystery of a piece of Kiwi pop culture.

Reporter - crime and justice: Eugene Bingham, Phil Johnson, Toby Longbottom and Paula Penfold (Stuff Circuit team)
Judges: Bruce Davidson and Ant Phillips
Through a highly creative multi-media format, the Stuff Circuit Team investigates details of disturbing practices in NZ prisons. Compelling video, classy graphic design and potent writing make this a stunning example of best-of-breed digital storytelling.

Reporter - general: Lane Nichols, Weekend Herald
Judges: Sue Carty and Paul Elenio
Nichols' portfolio shows terrific use of data and patiently takes readers through the strains of a feverish Auckland property market. The entries were all tightly written and answered all the key questions.

Reporter - health and lifestyle: Dylan Cleaver, NZ Herald
Judges: Bruce Davidson and Ant Phillips
Dylan wins a high-calibre category with a powerful expose of the devastating impact of dementia on the lives of former rugby players, a major health issue the administrators of NZ's No1 sporting lifestyle have been loathe to fully confront. Elsewhere, Dylan asks where is the money from the Halberg Disability Sports Foundation actually going?

Reporter - Maori and ethnic affairs: Renee Kahukura Iosefa, Maori Television
Judges: Mike Field and Ngahuia Wade
These stories show how much the talent trusted you - a rare find in today's journalists.

Reporter of the Year: Matt Nippert, NZ Herald
Judges: David Hastings and Lynda van Kempen
Matt Nippert's portfolio showed a master of the craft at work. His stories were models of journalistic initiative, deep research and agenda-setting newsbreaks as well as the human touch.

Matt Nippert stood out in a strong field because of his ability to break the big stories. Not only was he adept at doing old-fashioned legwork on breaking news but he also harnessed the power of digital journalism to great effect. And he showed an all-too-rare ability to see the other side of the story. His writing was authoritative and yet he expressed difficult and complicated subjects with great clarity. It is no exaggeration to say that his work in 2016 was ground-breaking and lived up to the highest aspirations of modern journalism.

Science and Technology Award: Kate Evans, New Zealand Geographic
Judges: Alan Samson and Bridie Smith
Kate Evans’ solid research is artfully woven into the narrative, making for engaging reading which is both informative and insightful. It’s a joy to journey with her.

Beautifully told story about something people hear little about: paleo-seismic research. Detail about the scientists’ lives outside work adds human touch and highlights a depth of research, as does the explanation of how the earthquake moved through the landscape, navigating the topography. Solid detail about the role of technological advancements had had in advancing researchers’ understanding. Explains to the reader why this knowledge is valuable to planners and engineers. Lovely turns of phrase too: ‘’earth unzipped’’, ‘’crowned with a mohawk of grass’’. Writer’s knowledge conveyed seamlessly. The information is woven into the narrative so as to be easily digestible by the reader.

Ancient trees:
An admirably fair approach to a divisive, controversial industry. Evans presents the perspective of industry via keenly observed descriptions of how it evolved - people built it from nothing and developed techniques from experience. Then came the ‘’gold-rush’’ as new brash players enter the market. Countering this is the wetland specialist, who outlines what is at risk in a delicate ecosystem - pointing out that because of the lack of research we may not know what we are at risk of losing.
Again, lovely turns of phrase: ‘’Wimbledon of woodchopping’’. Bigger questions of jobs and industry versus environment and scientific knowledge conveyed well and sit comfortably alongside detailed, engaging descriptions of the process that leads to the formation of swamp kauri.

Search for the kōkako:
You go on the journey with Buckingham - share the delights and frustrations. Feel how close he has come and get a sense of the mishaps that keep plaguing the wider search for the grey ghost. All this is thanks to the Kate Evans' evocative writing and solid research.

Sports Journalist of the Year: Dylan Cleaver, NZ Herald
Judges: Suzanne McFadden and Foster Niumata
The race for the finish line in this category was as close as a Mahe Drysdale gold medal. The strength of Dylan Cleaver's subject matter edged other's impressively-researched and well-written range of stories. His comprehensive series on concussion in rugby stood out, to clinch him the overall award.

Student Journalist of the Year: Miri Schroeter, Manawatu Standard
Judges: Mike Fletcher and Wayne Thompson
Miri Schroeter has a keen nose for news. She understands that people stories are compelling reading.
Miri Schroeter's portfolio demonstrates her skills in news-sense, story-telling and ability to work under pressure. She can get to the heart of the matter, keep the story simple and engage the reader. She also understands the importance of the follow-up.


Best feature video: Mike Scott, NZ Herald
Judges: Cathy Strong and Mike Valintine
Images which took you into the very heart of the human hair trade - through his lens Mike brought the uncomfortable reality of the business into our homes. .

Combined with a revealing print story and stills this video lifted the coverage setting a new standard for expose’ style features.

Best news video: Ross Giblin, Stuff
Judges: Cathy Strong and Mike Valintine
This was literally shot on the run and at no small risk to himself Ross took the viewer into the heart of the drama-a brilliant demonstration of how video can elevate a relatively mundane print story into a compelling news watch.

Ross showed a clear head in a quickly changing and potentially dangerous situation capturing not only the drama but the emotions of those involved. News camera work at its best.

Best sports video: Brett Phibbs, Mike Scott and Peter Visagie, NZ Herald
Judges: Cathy Strong and Mike Valintine
A beautifully crafted story and a newsroom collaboration which demonstrated the creative potential of using multiple cameras to tell a story.

From the land, sea and air the team showed not only their camera skills but the ability to direct and to edit the combined footage into a seamless and revealing watch.

Videographer of the Year: Ross Giblin, Stuff
Judges: Cathy Strong and Mike Valintine
The judges described this as a split points decision.
Ross showed an exceptionally strong portfolio of stories across all categories showing us he not only has a great eye for picturees- but also a great eye for a story and the ability to seize
an opportunity..He also demonstrated the technical skills and many of the other attributes of a top videographer including courage, calmness and empathy.

Videographer of the Year (runner-up): Mike Scott, NZ Herald
Judges: Cathy Strong and Mike Valintine
Mike impressed the judges as a videographer pushing out the boundaries of both technology and story telling methods. He stands out as a creative force grasping the challenge of new ways of telling stories.

nib Health Journalism Scholarships

nib Health Journalism Scholarship - Junior: Rachel Thomas, Stuff
Judges: Kate Coughlan, Rick Neville and Paul Thompson
Rachel’s thoughtful proposal to explore the impact of taxes on sugary drinks in two US cities stood out in a field of strong finalists. Her proposal set out clearly how she will do the reporting and analysis and  assess whether such taxes work and their potential application in New Zealand.
nib Health Journalism Scholarship - Senior: Dylan Cleaver, NZ Herald
Judges: Kate Coughlan, Rick Neville and Paul Thompson
Compelling  proposals  from seasoned reporters Dylan Cleaver and Aaron Leaman  – exploring the impact of concussion and the complex challenges around organ donation – convinced the sponsor to award two senior scholarships this year.
Aaron Leaman, Stuff and Waikato Times
Judges: Kate Coughlan, Rick Neville and Paul Thompson
Compelling  proposals  from seasoned reporters Dylan Cleaver and Aaron Leaman  – exploring the impact of concussion and the complex challenges around organ donation – convinced the sponsor to award two senior scholarships this year.

Editorial Executive of the Year

Glen Scanlon, head of digital media, RNZ
Judges: Kate Coughlan, Clive Lind and Rick Neville
The winner, Glen Scanlon, joined the State broadcaster in late 2014 from a background in print and digital journalism.   In a short space of time, he’s led a remarkable renaissance of RNZ’s digital products to the point where rnz.co.nz is now a serious force in this country’s digital media. To achieve this, Glen had to tackle a public service institution, carry out often painful restructuring, bring in new talent, and get staff buy-in to a new vision of telling stories for all audiences, not just the traditional Radio New Zealand listener. With budgets frozen, he’s also built partnerships with other media as part of a goal to bring in revenue and increase RNZ’s overall audience reach. 

Wolfson Fellowship

Miriyana Alexander, Editor of the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday
Judges: Judges: Kate Coughlan, Rick Neville and Paul Thompson
Miri presented an intriguing, and timely, proposal – fake news! How to stay a trusted, credible news source in an era of alternative facts.

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