Investigative journalism award extended to include Kiwi students

August 31, 2022

Investigative journalism award extended to include Kiwi students

Investigative journalist Nicky Hager. Photo: Grace Dobson Phillips

An annual investigtive journalism competition run in Australia for two years will now be open to budding Kiwi journos.

Democracy’s Watchdogs has run the award for investigative journalism by students in Australia for the past two years.

In an email to New Zealand journalism educators, founder of Democracy’s Watchdogs and senior journalism lecturer at Monash University, Dr Bill Birnbauer, says students will be recognised for their work in two separate categories.

The first is the print/online category and the second, a video/audio category. The winners will receive a trophy and a AUD$1000.

Two finalists in each category will also receive certificates.

The entries could be a variety of published or unpublished work, which also includes student assignments or stories completed outside everyday studies.

President of the Journalism Education Association in New Zealand, Dr Helen Sissons says, the recognition of investigative journalism in university curricula is vital in providing students with the resources and contacts they need to make strong investigations.

“At one level investigative journalism underpins all good journalism. It should always be offered at the university level, if possible.

“There needs to be access to the learning before anything else. Students have access to readings, tutors, training materials and of course to each other.

“A good student is at the same level as a competent junior journalist.”

Sissons also says investigative journalism is exactly what we need.

“The kind of liberal, representative democracy that we have in New Zealand, that’s also in Australia, requires power to be held to account.

“It requires the skills of investigative journalists to be taught, to be learned and to be practised and here, we have an award that recognises that students can carry out important investigations.

“It’s nice to see New Zealand investigative journalism students included. They work at a very high level, and I can see that some of our students are very capable of winning this award.

"Let’s hope they take it out.”

The deadline for entries is midnight, November 18.

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