Three finalists have been named for the IFAJ Star Prize for print journalism.
John Conroy of Australia, Friederike Krick of Germany and Caitriona Murphy of Ireland are the finalists for the prize, which will be awarded Tuesday, August 4, at the 2009 IFAJ congress in Forth Worth, Texas.
The Star Prize for print journalism is sponsored by John Deere. The winner receives a commemorative trophy, a gold IFAJ pin, an official certificate and a 750 Euro cash prize. This year’s competition drew entries from 14 IFAJ member guilds.
Conroy’s entry, The Drover’s Lament, was published in The Border Mail. It’s a “sterling report of the dying breed of drovers,” said one judge, “with a clear and well-worked detail from personal stories and facts. It brought history to the modern-day reader.” Another judge called it “very interesting…not only about the special Australian way of transferring big herds, but also about damaging cultural heritage and the environment.” And the final judge called it “weighty,” covering a little-known subject: “It’s a surprising story with a lot of quotes, which leads to a feeling of closeness to the concerned cattlemen.”
Krick’s article, Die letzten Zeugen (The last witnesses), appeared in the German farmer magazine Neue Landwirtschaft. It is a “highly skilled article,” said one judge, “a complex topic, but the author gives the information to the readers in very sophisticated way, so everyone can understand it. Another judge said Krick “has written a fine piece about the rarely ever discussed but important subject of veterinary pathology. Although the content is quite technical, she manages to pull in the reader with a gripping intro and a fine end. And in between she keeps the pace up with a good portion of suspense. Meanwhile you learn a lot about the job of the veterinarians in pathology and its importance for public health.”
Ireland’s Murphy wrote an article Caring of the Softest Kind for Farming Independent. One judge called it a “beautiful story, detailing shocking cruelty but with strong emotion and written in a very objective way. Well written and good interview throughout.” Another judge said this: “The article, about an abused horse, his foster family and the return to happiness, contains all the ingredients of a classic drama. The bad guy is the old owner who doesn’t look after his horses and abuses them. The good guy takes over the horse and slowly re-introduces it to normality. A nice piece for non-agricultural readers, too.”
Judges for this year’s competition are Margaret Donnelly of Ireland, Adrian Krebs of Switzerland and Dana Vecerova of the Czech Republic. The competition coordinator is IFAJ secretary general Owen Roberts of Canada.