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NSW & ACT journalists and photographers chance to compete on world’s stage

NSW & ACT journalists and photographers have the opportunity to showcase their talents to the world with entries for the Australian Star Prizes for Rural Writing, Broadcast and Photography now open. 

View the media release here or to enter see our Current Awards page.

The Rabobank Star Prize for Rural Broadcasting was launched at the Farm Writers lunch on Friday February 28. 2013 winner Sean Murphy launched the award in conjucntion with Mitch Adermann from Rabobank. Read the Media Release here

NSW Journalists heading to South America

Three NSW Journalists are off to Argentina after winning prestigious international rural journalism awards.

Three NSW Journalists were presented with awards which will see them travel to an international journalism congress in Argentina at today’s Farm Writers’ Lunch in Sydney.

Sean Murphy, ABC Landline Journalist and Producer has taken out the 2013 Rabobank NSW Star Prize for Rural Broadcasting with a story on the impact marine wildlife parks have on commercial fishing operations.  The story covered an industry not widely reported on in rural journalism and gave light to the significant struggle faced by operators in a fast changing environment.  In a very successful year for Murphy, a piece entered in his home state of WA on GM crops and the divide between those for and those against, has taken out the Australian Rabobank Star Prize Award for Rural Broadcasting. As the winner of this prestigious award, Murphy will attend the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) Congress in Argentina in September, 2013.  This prize is generously provided by key sponsor Rabobank and the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists.

NSW Journalist and editor of The Land Newspaper Sally White has been awarded the 2013 Kubota NSW Star Prize for Rural Writing for her article on ‘How We Chased Away the Black Dog.’  White’s article was deemed to be a thoughtful piece in which she was able to get two members of the one family to speak openly about their battle with depression and its effects.  The article went on to be runner up in the national competition.

President of the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists, Tim Powell said judges were taken with ‘The Black Dog’ piece and were pleased to see a rural publication tackling this issue. The judges described it is a very well written feature article that tackled a social problem that it is all too common, but spoken about all too little.

This year the judges found there were two very strong pieces of writing among the field, so they have decided to award a highly commended award as well as a winner. Samantha Townsend, Daily Telegraph journalist was highly commended for her story, ‘Why eating local is a matter of good taste.’

White has won a trip to the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) Congress in Argentina in September, 2013. This prize is generously sponsored by the Farm Writers’ Association of NSW and includes registration and return flights to the Congress. White will be joined by freelance photojournalist Nathan Dyer who took out the 2013 Kubota Australian Star Prize for writing with his entry ‘Scheme of Dreams,’ a 20 page feature of breathtaking images and in depth analyses of the Kimberley Ord River Irrigation Scheme.  The article was well researched and provided a comprehensive look at the region – taking in its history, the present and what’s on the agenda for the future. The feature article appeared in RM Williams Outback Magazine.

White’s colleague at The Land, Livestock Editor, Carla Wiese-Smith has also been selected among 10 recipients from around the world for the 2013 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism award, organised by the IFAJ. The award is open to journalists up to the age of 35, who report on rural issues.
‘We had a record number of applications this year to represent Australia in the selection process. The fact that for the second year in a row an Australian has been chosen by the international selection panel speaks very highly of the calibre and potential leadership qualities of young journalists in this country’ Powell said.

The Farm Writers’ Association of NSW, in conjunction with the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists, each year runs a competition that allows rural photographers to enter published photographs that accompany rural reporting.  The competition is broken down into 3 categories covering landscape, people and production.

In what was a very successful year for Kim Honan, the ABC Radio Online journalist and photographer took out two of the three categories being People with a shot of a cheese maker in the process of making Mozarella Cheese and the category of production with the photo that accompanied a story about bobby calves called Hilton Hotel for Bobby Calves.
The Land’s Carla Wiese-Smith took out the landscape category with her front cover photograph and coverage of the Uardry’s last muster.


2013 Rabobank NSW Star Prize for Rural Broadcasting Winner: Sean Murphy, ABC Landline (also National Winner)
2013 Kubota NSW Star Prize for Rural Writing Winner: Sally White, The Land (also National Runner Up)
2013 Kubota NSW Star Prize for Rural Writing Runner Up: Samantha Townsend, The Daily Telegraph
2013 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism award: Carla Wiese-Smith, The Land
The Farm Writer’s Association of NSW photography winner in the categories people and production, Kim Honan, ABC Radio Online.
The Farm Writer’s Association of NSW photography winner in the category landscape, Carla Wiese-Smith with a photo capturing the last muster of Uardry Station.

Liz Harfull, a tireless advocate for rural journalism

A powerful figure in advancing the professional interests of agricultural journalists around the world has retired from the Presidency of the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists.

Liz Harfull served three terms as President of the ACAJ, stepping down at the annual general meeting on September 20, 2012.

Before that she held the position as ACAJ secretary and was the long running Australian delegate to the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists.

Liz held key positions on the world body executive as Regional Vice President and also edited the international newsletter.

She was a persistent advocate on behalf of Australia for the introduction of a world award to recognise journalists working in the electronic media and organised the inaugural IFAJ Star Prize for Agricultural Broadcasting in 2010.

Liz has seen her hard vindicated with a dominant performance by Australian journalists on the world stage in the first three years of this prestigious new competition.

A Churchill Fellow, Liz spent more than 30 years as a journalist and public relations consultant before becoming a best-selling author, working from her home in the Adelaide Hills.

Her first major title, the Blue Ribbon Cookbook was a celebration of a long tradition of agricultural show cookery.  It was runner up in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Paris in 2009 and shortlisted for the World Food Media Awards in 2010.

Her latest book, Women on the Land which tells the inspirational story of eight women running their own properties, has become an Australian non-fiction best seller.

Liz Harfull has been succeeded at the helm of the ACAJ by former vice president Tim Powell.  Tim is Managing Director of Cox Inall Communications based in Sydney and has a career spanning more than 25 years in journalism, media and marketing.

Liz Harfull has held a number of key positions during her involvement with the ACAJ

Long serving ACAJ Treasurer Bob Snewin from South Australia has also retired and been succeeded by Gordon Collie, a Brisbane rural communications consultant who was President before Liz Harfull.

The new ACAJ vice president is Genevieve McAulay, Queensland Marketing Manager for Rabobank and immediate past president of the Rural Press Club Qld who had a successful journalism career with the Rural Press Group.

2011 - Aussies dominate international rural media awards

extracts from an ACAJ News Release September 18, 2011

In a huge night for the nation’s rural media, Australians took out almost half the major prizes at an international awards ceremony in Canada earlier today (Sunday, September 18, Australian time).

The award winners included ABC Landline reporter Pip Courtney, who was named the world’s best rural broadcaster and NSW member and radio category winner – Julia Holman, ABC Rural (Canberra, formerly Mildura), who won the world radio category. 

Pip's piece included images filmed by her husband, John Bean. She dedicated the win to Bean, who was killed in a helicopter crash earlier this month while filming for the ABC.

Australians won three out of four categories in the broadcast section as well as the overall prize, and one of three categories in the photography section. Australian journalists were also named runners-up in awards for print journalism and a new international award for reporting on sustainability issues.

It was the most successful year ever for Australia in the awards program run by the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ). The winners were announced on the final night of the annual IFAJ congress held at Niagara Falls, Ontario.

“We like to think that our rural journalists and photographers are among the most talented in any media sector in Australia, but these awards confirm that they stand tall against their peers from around the world,” said Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists president Liz Harfull. “We should be very proud of the international benchmark they set in reporting and capturing images relating to issues of vital importance not just to regional Australia, but to the country as a whole.”

Prizes awarded to Australians included:
• The overall IFAJ Star Prize for Broadcast Journalism, and television category winner – Pip Courtney, ABC Landline, for “Pipe Dream”, a piece about the coal seam gas industry, broadcast in May, 2010.
• IFAJ Star Prize for Broadcast Journalism radio category winner – Julia Holman, ABC Rural (Canberra, formerly Mildura), for a piece about the Victorian locust plague broadcast on the ABC Country Hour in October, 2010.
• IFAJ Star Prize for Broadcast Journalism, online radio category winner – Flint Duxfield, ABC Rural, (Renmark formerly Esperance) for “Farmers don’t really use twitter...do they?” published in September, 2010.
• Star Prize for Agricultural Photography, people category winner – Mark Griffin, The Weekly Times, for his image, “Swarm Cloud”, showing Mallee farmers Ed Wilson and David Weaver walking through locusts during last year’s plague, published in April 2010.
• Star Prize for Agricultural Journalism (Print), runner-up – Ashley Walmsley, editor, Good Fruit and Vegetable magazine, for “Asian Invasion”, a story about the threat posed to Australian horticulture by the Asian honeybee, published in November 2010.
• IFAJ Award for Reporting on Sustainable World Agriculture, distinguished recognition – Deanna Lush, editor, Stock Journal, for “Crop Quality Key to Feeding the World”.