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Damien O’Reilly of Ireland Wins IFAJ Star Prize for Audio

Veteran radio presenter Damien O’Reilly was awarded the 2020 International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) Star Prize for Broadcast: Audio for his “Climate Change and Irish Farming” broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1. O’Reilly’s entry also recognized producer Eileen Heron for her work on the winning broadcast.

The judges noted the challenge of bridging the topic of climate change for an audience of both farmers and non-farmers. One added, “I always appreciate Damien’s knowledge and willingness to ask difficult questions.”

O’Reilly’s entry was chosen among radio broadcasts from around the world.

Steve Werblow, secretary-general of IFAJ, noted, “Agricultural journalists often play a key role in bringing agricultural stories to non-farming audiences, and vice-versa, bringing context to the farming community for the market pressures, regulations and social factors that influence farming. Damien’s piece is a great example of how a top-notch journalist delivers that service at a national scale.”

“The Compass: Ground Shift: The Farming Revolution” by Anna Jones of BBC World Service was awarded the Runner-Up prize in the competition. One judge described Jones’ story as “a really well-rounded piece of radio, engaging and using the medium beautifully using on-location interviews and sound.”

The judges also awarded special recognition to Ghanaian journalist Prince Appiah of Joy News for his “Local Drying Technology” broadcast. They pointed out that Appiah’s piece not only demonstrates “a good use of sound,” but also beautifully illustrates the extension mission of farm reporting in many markets.

This year’s IFAJ Star Prize for Broadcast was judged by Prue Adams of ABC Landline in Australia; retired Canadian Broadcasting Corporation broadcaster Ian Petrie; and Ken Rundle, a retired BBC broadcaster in the UK. Entries from four continents were judged in the competition.