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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

James Tugwell of the Bay Post runner up in this years NRPC Best New Journalist award

Australia’s regional media leaders and the importance of regional storytelling have been celebrated in Canberra this week with the announcement of the winners of the National Rural Press Club (NRPC) 2022 Excellence in Rural Journalism Awards.

President of the NRPC and ABC National Regional Affairs Reporter Lucy Barbour announced the impressive array of winners at the National Press Club of Australia to an audience of regional Members of Parliament, journalists, industry representatives and NRPC members.

Guardian Australia cadet Jordyn Beasley was awarded Best New Journalist while ABC’s National Rural Reporter Kath Sullivan took home top honours as the overall winner for the breadth and quality of her work. Runners-up were Natasha May, (The Guardian), James Tugwell of the Bay Post.

Above: Dr Michael Holland MP - Member for Bega with James Tugwell of the Bay Post congratulating his success at the National Rural Press Club Excellence in Rural Journalism Awards

“Tough and objective reporting is what we strive for at ABC Regional, and I thank the NRPC for their support of quality rural journalism to help ensure a high and enduring profile for issues, challenges and opportunities outside our major cities,” Ms Sullivan said.

The Guardian’s Rural Network performed strongly, taking out the Best Feature category for coverage of the Inland Rail, while The Australian’s Rural Reporter Charlie Peel took out Best Scoop for his exclusive that revealed Australia would sign up to Joe Biden’s methane pledge.

The NRPC doubled prize money across six categories for the awards in 2022 thanks to support from sponsors Westpac, Animal Medicines Australia, CropLife, CaseIH and New Edge Microbials, acknowledging financial challenges across the regional media landscape in recent years.

“The brutal combination of bushfires, COVID-19 restrictions and the recent flooding have created enormous challenges for many rural communities. It’s crucial we have journalists who can dig into local issues and tell those stories in a way that cuts through to metropolitan audiences,” Ms Barbour said.

“Rural and regional media provide that level of expertise, nuance and specialist coverage that’s so important when major news, such as the threat of foot and mouth disease, becomes a national story.”

“On behalf of the NRPC, we congratulate our winners and all entrants for continuing to set the bar high for excellence in our industry while keeping local bodies, governments and organisations accountable through honest and unbiased coverage,” she said.

The NRPC was first formed in the mid-1990s to encourage debate and discussion and highlight issues affecting rural and regional Australia. It brings together people and organisations who support a stronger and more sustainable future for rural and regional Australia.

Copies of all winning articles and more information about the 2022 winners can be found on the NRPC website.

All 2022 NRPC nominees will now be eligible to apply for the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) award programs in 2023. Representing more than 5,000 communicators in 55 countries, the global awards offer participants the opportunity to attend the IFAJ international conference along with agricultural journalists, editors and photographers from across the world.

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