Sean Murphy, Nikolai Beilharz and Lucy Barbour, Larissa Romensky are the first prize winners in this year’s IFAJ Star Prize for broadcasting. These winners are all from Australia and that nation’s national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Murphy took the top prize in the video category with his story “Freedom of Choice,” broadcast on Landline, for ABC Television nationally in Australia. Judges praised the entry as “an outstanding piece of agricultural television production and reporting.” They also said “there were many layers to this story and all were investigated in depth. The passions and emotive elements of the GM debate were well handled and delivered in a balanced manner. This was a well-directed and well-filmed in-depth 30-minute program that looked at how the issue has set neighbor against neighbor.”
A USA team of Kane Farabaugh, Michael Burke and Steve Baragona were a close runner-up in the video category for their entry “A Dry Season” in Voice of America. The judges said it was also ”an outstanding report on the drought in the Mid West of the USA. It was an important story, well-filmed and well-told by a team of professional broadcasters. It appeared to cover every aspect of an important story that has clearly affected many livelihoods in the USA. It was objective and balanced and a first-class example of the fine work of Voice of America.”
Beilharz won first place in the audio category with his story “Australia’s wild rice may help feed the world” on the Queensland Country Hour, ABC Rural Radio. Judges called it “a good report on the potential for developing wild rice as a local crop for export.” They said “the report was done in a way that would inform and interest both a specialist farmer or lay listener.” The judges said Nikolai has a good voice for radio and communicates well with his audience.
Alice McFarlane from Canada’s AgAccess, CJVR Radio, earned an honorable mention from the judges in the audio category for her entry “Flea Beetles Threaten Canola”.
In the online category Barbour and Romensky won with the story “Trappin’ bitches like a lady” which was published on the ABC Rural website. It was a rich multi-media experience, using text, photographs, audio and video in the telling of the story. The audio was also broadcast as a radio story across Australia on a range of ABC radio programs. Judges described their entry as “a very unusual story which was engaging as both a human interest story, but dealing with the serious problem of wild, killer dogs in the countryside.” The judges said the story was “an engaging story about a enigmatic woman, whose life varied from her passion for flower arranging, juxtaposed against her work to control wild dogs.”
Honorable mention was awarded to Jennifer Latzke, USA, for her online story “The 12 Days of Agriculture” in High Plains Journal Youtube channel.