A Sampler Of Scribblers: 2009’s Student Press Awards

Industry awards are awful things, full of awkward speeches and obnoxious boors in equal measure. That said, they do offer a genuine opportunity for camaraderie and recognition of our best and brightest – and last Saturday’s Aotearoa Student Press Awards were no different.

But the problem I find with these ceremonies is that all too often you’re applauding someone’s work while hissing “what’s his name?” at your fellow diners. So today we offer a sampler of sorts: below we’ve listed the winners of individual categories and, where possible, a link to some of the work that has so impressed their peers and pundits.

Congratulations of course to Massey Wellington’s Magneto for Best Small Publication and Victoria’s Salient for Best Publication overall. Now, on with the pageantry…

Best Editorial – Ryan Boyd, Debate
“Tight, imaginative and funny” – Dominion-Post editor Bernadette Courtney
Second – Jackson Wood, Salient
Third – Matthew Harnett/Valentine Watkins, Craccum

Best Feature Content – Nina Fowler, Salient
Investigative journalist Nicky Hager said Nina’s article on the political crisis in Fiji was “a thoughtful and skillful examination of a subject where the mainstream media have spectacularly failed the public …  an excellent example of journalism explaining the news.”
Second equal – Joshua Drummond (Nexus), Matt Russell (Chaff)

Best Feature Writer – Sarah Robson, Salient
Asia New Zealand foundation media adviser Charles Mabbett said Sarah’s articles were of a very high journalistic standard, consistently well-researched and well-written.
Second – Stacey Knott, In Unison
Third equal – Anthonie Tonnon (Critic), Rosabel Tan (Craccum)

Best Education Series – Joshua Drummond, Nexus
Drummond’s investigation of the van Leeuwen affair was described by one judge as “an engaging investigation of issues that lie at the core of what a university is, or ought to be”.
Second – Sarah Robson, Salient
Third equal – Helen De Reus/Ben Thomson, Critic

Best News Writer (Unpaid) – Jessy Edwards, Salient
The judges said Edward’s story on bums bumming around Victoria University showed confident writing, while her other stories had genuine news value and were well-written.
Second – Nicholas Mark, In Unison
Third – Stephen Smith, Debate

Best News Writer (Paid) – Stacey Knott, In Unison
Blogger, freelance writer and former Salient news editor Keith Ng said Stacey was the clear-cut winner, and her ability to engage with her subjects made her stories outstanding.
Second – Michael Oliver, Salient
Third – Aimee Gulliver, Critic

Best Humour – Joseph Harper, In Unison
Harper’s real-life attempt to start a fake charity appealed to Jeremy Wells as “an original idea, well constructed linguistically and graphically.”
Second – Jeremy Bryson, Chaff
Third – Ryan Boyd, Debate

Best Reviewer – Joseph Harper, In Unison
Even curmudgeonly music critic Simon Sweetman conceded that Harper writes “like a reviewer rather than a blogger, with a good level of opinion and information”.
Second – Antony Parnell, Nexus
Third equal – Uther Dean (Salient), Daniel Copeland (Gyro)

Best Columnist – Dr Love (Magneto), Liz Willoughby-Martin (Critic)
Public Address blogger Russell Brown called Dr Love “a good blend of dry wit and useful information”, while Scoop co-editor Alastair Thompson said Willoughby-Martin was “entertaining, charming and occasionally funny… a natural columnist” (unfortunately neither magazine has an online archive, so you’ll just have to take their word for it).
Third: Michael Langdon, Salient

Best Sports Writer – Brad Kreft, Critic
“Delightfully dry… well written” – NZPA deputy news editor Greg Tourelle
Second equal – Adam Howard (Salient),  Ian McDonald (In Unison)

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