Image for Tasmanian Media Awards 2016

Best News Image (stills)

Sponsor: Media Super

Finalists
• Nikki Davis-Jones , The Mercury: Taking A Stand
• Richard Jupe, The Mercury : Comanche wins the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
• Sam Rosewarne, The Mercury: Anti-racism
• Grant Wells, The Advocate: White Knight
Winner
• Grant Wells, The Advocate: White Knight

Judges comments:

With his entry White Knight, Grant Wells has taken a terrific, old school newspaper picture evocative of the analogue era. The image really lent itself to black and white and full credit to Grant for using it thus. The picture tells the story: a natural politician taking an opportunity to hit the hustings. He looks so alive and bright and stands out like a beacon among a dull congregation of the faithful. The conservative dark clothing of the many other people in the picture, each one captured in their own moment, adds a further political layer to the image. Grant was at a routine regional event and had the vision to capture a remarkable moment that revealed much about the subject: Tony Abbott, the Prime Minister of Australia, and a man in his element.

Best News Image (video)

Sponsor: Media Super

Finalists:
• Steve Fisher, WIN Television: Prison Escape
• Nick Glover, WIN Television: Lefroy Bushfire
Winner:
• Steve Fisher, WIN Television: Prison Escape

Judges comments:

Steve’s piece on the escape and recapture of an allegedly armed Risdon jail prisoner was a stand out in the News Video Image category. The vision captured the entire escape episode from the hunt to interception of the suspect swimming towards a boat, a dramatic arrest at gunpoint by police and the prisoners return to captivity. Steve’s persistence and tenacity paid off affording news viewers all the visual drama of the event.

Arts Reporting

Sponsor: Media Super

Finalists:
• Michael Atkin, ABC: Body of Work
• Scott Gelston Freelance : Pete Mattila Images
• Sally Glaetzer, The Mercury’s TasWeekend: TasWeekend features
Winner:
• Sally Glaetzer, The Mercury’s TasWeekend: TasWeekend features
***Special Commendation: Scott Gelston

Judges comments:

This category represents our closest result in 2016. Judges were not divided, rather, they were locked in agreement that there were two exceptional entries here. Sally Glaetzer won for her satisfyingly in-depth features and personality pieces. Her feature on public art controversies in Tasmania was especially accomplished. The judges appreciated the legwork that gave historic context to a topical story. Sally sourced artists caught up in past controversies, found artists working on current commissions and sourced arts budgeting figures. Skilfully written profiles on architect Robert Morris-Nunn and designer, Brodie Neill, were also satisfying reads. The judges felt Scott Gelston’s photo-essay of blacksmith-artist Pete Matilla was also exceptional work; an opportunity recognised, then maximised through technical excellence. There was a sense of being embedded in the artists’ process and the images generated an excitement about making art. Words would not have told the story better and he is awarded a special, high commendation.

Best Sports Coverage

Sponsor: Cascade Brewery

Finalists:
• James Bresnehan, The Mercury / Sunday Tasmanian: Sports Coverage from Top to Bottom
• Brent Costelloe, WIN Television: Body of Work
• Chris Rowbottom, Southern Cross News Tasmania: Body of Work
Winner:
• Brent Costelloe, WIN Television: Body of Work

Judges comments:

Very high quality of entries across all media platforms – television, print, radio and online. James Bresnehan’s work with the Man Up campaign got national recognition, Michael Aitkin’s Shipsterns 7.30 story was outstanding and Chris Rowbottom’s Luke Jackson piece was excellent. Brent Costelloe’s work stood out for its consistency, persistence and writing ability; his Glenorchy Brothers piece was both innovative and informative, his Glenorchy Inner Sanctum story was riveting.

Science, Environment and Health

Sponsor: Health and Community Services Union

Finalists:
• Michael Atkin, ABC: Body of Work
• Fiona Breen, ABC: Landline Reports
• Alexandra Humphries, The Examiner: Water woes
Winner:
• Michael Atkin, Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Body of Work

Judges comments:

Michael Atkin broke some of the biggest environmental issues of the year, from the communities facing water contamination in the state’s north-east, to the mass fish kill in Macquarie Harbour, to the flouting of 4WD bans on the state’s remote tracks.

Atkin’s work is direct and fearless. It forces people to take notice and affects change. He also is willing to go the extra mile when he gets the sniff of a story (he was the only reporter to attend the community meeting in Pioneer).

His body of work is powerful, agenda setting journalism, which seamlessly combines news breaking stories with a powerful human focus.

Mental Health Reporting
Sponsor: Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Directorate

Finalists:
• Alexandra Humphries, The Examiner: Minds Matter: Post traumatic stress disorder amongst those who serve
• Sam Ikin, ABC News: Talking about suicide isn’t easy, but it’s necessary
• Jane Ryan, ABC: Coming out - Living with bipolar
Winner:
• Jane Ryan, Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Coming out - Living with bipolar

Judges comments:

The growth and development of this category – Mental Health Reporting – and the quality of the reporting is not only significant, but also very encouraging. The judges found the diversity of the stories impressive.

The entries of Jane Ryan and Sam Ikin show us all what courageous journalism looks like. They both stepped out out from behind the comfort of the journalist’s by-line and put themselves as the central focus of deeply personal journeys with mental illness. Alexander Humphries is to be commended on her well-researched series on the impact PTSD has on a range of professions, highlighting the need for better support.

Jane Ryan’s compelling and finely produced RN Earshot program “Coming Out – Living with Bi Polar”, provided insight into her own experience and also the experience of others living with this illness. With more than 10,000 listeners, nationwide Jane has made a significant contribution to the national conversation on bi polar and mental illness. She is to be congratulated on her documentary “Coming Out” and is a worthy winner of the Mental Health Reporting Category.

Comment and Analysis

Sponsor: Unions Tasmania

Finalists:
• Matthew Denholm, The Australian: Analysing Tas
• Sally Glaetzer, The Mercury’s TasWeekend: Body of Work
• Matt Smith, The Mercury: Body of Work
Winner:
• Matt Smith, The Mercury: Body of Work

Judges comments:

The judges were impressed by the consistently high standard of writing and engagement by Matt Smith over several examples.

Matt writes clearly, concisely and builds around the facts in a way that the reader is kept engaged in often-complex articles.

He shows a strong writing style, accuracy and solid analysis based on extensive factual research or observation.

The judges felt his writing was particularly strong in the article “Glass jaw syndrome is alive and well” and also considered that in this small community it was also a brave piece to put out there.

Excellence in Legal Reporting

Sponsor: Butler, McIntyre & Butler

Finalists:
• Edith Bevin, ABC News – Tasmania: Body of Work
• Pat Billings, The Mercury, Compensation and Jodi Eaton
• Sophie Kuryl, WIN Television Tasmania:Body of Work
Winner:
• Pat Billings, The Mercury, Compensation and Jodi Eaton

Judges comments:

The high profile investigations into the disappearance of Lucille Butterworth, understandably featured in the Legal Reporting Category.

Edith Bevin’s report on Lucille Butterfield presented impressive production values, which enhanced the quality of her report, expanding well beyond just the evidence presented. Her profile of Chief Magistrate Michael Hill on his retirement further demonstrated Edith’s story telling skills.

Sophie Kuryl likewise presented a comprehensive report on Lucille Butterworth, making the most of information gathered during the month long inquest, producing a well-crafted feature story.

Away from the spotlight of the Lucille Butterworth mystery was the work of Pat Billings, his three stories demonstrating the very essence of legal reporting.

His stand out report on the Jodi Eaton murder raised questions about the justice system, police processes and domestic violence, leading to an inquiry into shortcomings within the judicial system.

In tandem with his story on a Gay Hate Pay Out case, setting a legal precedent, Patrick shows a comprehensive commitment to court reporting to take out this year’s Legal Reporting Category Award.

Best Feature, Documentary or Current Affairs

Sponsor: Telstra Country Wide

Finalists:
• Duncan Abey, The Mercury: Alan and Kris Pearn
• Michael Atkin, ABC: Easy Prey: Careers Australia and its dubious sales tactics
• Fiona Breen, ABC: Macquarie Island

Winner:
• Michael Atkin, Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Easy Prey: Careers Australia and its dubious sales tactics

Judges comments:

Michael Atkin’s piece entitled Easy Prey was an expose of Careers Australia and the dubious tactics used to sign up and sell packages to vulnerable people.

It was an excellent example of how Tasmanian stories can have national importance, and influence from a solid current affairs perspective.

The story touched on a very important issue; it was backed with very strong sources, both from the whistle-blower and one of the victims.

The combination of the visual and audio elements of the story worked very well. The visual elements helped to shine a light on the areas which were obviously being targeted by Careers Australia’s less scrupulous operators.
The work by Michael also resulted in the organisation’s CEO resigning from a Federal government advisory board.

It demonstrated strong newsworthiness, public benefit and creative flair.

Duncan Abey’s feature with Alan and Kris Pearn, parents of Natalia, was a very worthy Honourable Mention amongst a number of other strong contenders.

Best News Story

Sponsor: CPSU

Finalists:
• Bob Burton, Tasmanian Times: Deals and donors
• Blair Richards, The Mercury: Defamation defeat
• Matt Smith. The Mercury: Your right to know

Winner:
• Matt Smith. The Mercury: Your right to know

Judges comments:

Matt entered a body of work he titled “Your Right to Know” which exposed the Hobart City Council’s lack of control over expense claims submitted by aldermen.
Relying on good sources, leaked documents and numerous RTI requests, Matt unveiled a pattern of endemic spending behaviour that had cost ratepayers more than $350,000. The Council’s “self-certification” policy had resulted in claims including babysitting fees, overseas trips, expensive dinners and event tickets.
Predictably, the community was outraged and prompted the Tasmanian Auditor General to deliver 40 recommendations. A complete overhaul of expense spending and accountability has now been implemented by the HCC.

Best New Journalist

Sponsor: The Mercury

Finalists:
• Elizabeth Anile, WIN Television : Body of Work
• Richard Baines, ABC : Body of Work
• Katelyn Barry, Southern Cross Austereo : Body of Work
Winner:
• Richard Baines, ABC : Body of Work

Judges comments:

Every year, the quality of this category improves; perhaps the most difficult to judge because of the high calibre of both entries and levels of entrant, from first year to third year practitioners. Many of the younger journalists have hit the ground running by using both RTI/FOI and working their contacts to achieve results with stories. This was very close, from 15 entrants and perhaps seven at the highest level. Richard Baines won for the quality of his stories, his writing and presentation on television, print and radio.

Journalist of the Year

Sponsor: MEAA
Finalists:
• Michael Atkin, ABC : Body of Work
• Patrick Billings, The Mercury: Body of Work
• Matt Smith, The Mercury: Body of Work
Winner:
• Michael Atkin ABC: Body of Work

Judges comments:

Michael Atkin’s body of work was of a consistently high standard across a diverse range of issues of vital interest to Tasmanians and with implications for a national audience.

His investigation into predatory practices in vocational education worked to give significant momentum for national reform of the sector.

This beautifully crafted story used the stark surroundings of an underprivileged outer Hobart suburb as the backdrop for the dashed hopes of an aspirational young mother.

Michael’s ability to work with his camera operator and sound recordist for maximum impact was also demonstrated in his story on water contamination in two small towns in rural Tasmania. The vision of a conga line of elderly residents with walking sticks lugging buckets to a communal tap would be considered shocking even in a third world country.

These stories required extensive research and verification of information from a variety of sources, but Michael was equally adept in his sensitive handling of an extremely personal portrait of Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie as she struggled to do the right thing by her drug addicted son.

Michael has the ability to be both fearless and fair handed, exemplified in his confrontation with a forest contractor, which could have easily turned into an unenlightening slanging match.

The judges were very hard pressed to separate the entrants in this category. The standard of journalism submitted was of a uniformly high standard of which Tasmanians should be proud.

But in a very strong field, the ABC 7.30’s Michael Atkin has been adjudged Tasmania’s Journalist of the Year.

Bob’s three entries in the Best News Story category were:

• October 29, 2015: What happens if a major political donor doesn’t disclose?

• October 28, 2015: Who’s a Liberal donor gonna call? Rentbusters!

• November 6, 2015: State Government considers secret private bid for public medical services