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IFAJ names winners of Star Prize for broadcasting – Irish journalists won two of three first prizes

Cassie Hough from Australia, Suzanne Campbell from Ireland and Darragh McCullough and Paula Williams from Ireland are the first prize winners of IFAJ Star Prizes for broadcasting 2014.

Cassie Hough
Cassie Hough

The IFAJ-Rabobank Digital Media Award is won by Cassie Hough from Australia with her story ‘Droving south to greener pastures’, which was published by ABC Rural in September 2013. The judges described this as ”an epic story of droving thousands of cattle across half a continent over many months, from drought affected Queensland to lusher country in southern New South Wales. Cassie Hough used all elements to tell this story, including evocative photos, face-to-face audio interviews, text and a Youtube video collaboration”. The judges said that this is an excellent example of sophisticated story telling in the digital medium, which produces a rich experience for audience.

Second prize went to Elise Brown from the US for the story ‘Strength in numbers: Mixing a cover crop cocktail’ and featuring a profile of Larry Bonnell and his trialling of cover crops.

The team Gregg Hillyer, Jim Patricio, John Buckner and Charles Johnson from the US won the third prize with their story ‘Facing a food cliff’.

In Radio category the first prize winner is Suzanne Campbell from Ireland with her story ‘Liquid milk and the value small coops in Ireland’. This radio report featured on RTE’s farming programme Countrywide. The judges described this as ”an excellent feature on milk production in County Cork, with good use of music and natural sound effects to tell the story of why small co-ops are important to their farmer shareholders”.

Laura Poole from Australia won the second prize with her story “Border tension over Ovine Johnes disease” describing the difficulties for farmers complying to different regulations on either side of state borders.

In Television/Video category first place was closely fought between two outstanding entries. The winner was an entry from Ireland, by reporter Darragh McCullough, and producer Paula Williams for their story “Life after Debt”. It featured on the series Ear to the Ground, which is RTEs farming and rural affairs magazine programme. The judges described it as ”a cracking good human interest story which was well  told with a compelling interviewee.” The story featured a farmer from Limerick farmer who fought eviction and barricaded himself into the farm and with the support of neighbours, held out for a year. He is now counselling others in distress and hopes to help people out of depression by working through their problems.

On the second place in this category is Peter Lewis from Australia with his story called“Born to be wild” which explored the complex issues of wild dog predation of livestock in Australia and the struggles farmers have in battling the problem. It is an increasing problem which threatens the future of livestock production in some regions.

The judges also awarded a highly commended to an entry from Japan titled
‘New Life Blossoms in an Old Village – Seven Years of Struggle and Hope’ – about how Japan’s rapidly aging rural population is facing potential collapse.

This year’s judges were Ian Petrie of Canada, Neil Inall from Australia and Arthur Anderson from Scotland. The overall coordinator of IFAJ contests was IFAJ Secretary General Riitta Mustonen and IFAJ executive committee member Leigh Radford from Australia coordinated the broadcast contest. For further information about these three contests contact Radford at Radford.leigh@abc.net.au.

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