ABC's Samantha Jonscher named NT Journalist of the Year – About the ABC

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NT Journalist/Photojournalist of the Year Samantha Jonscher
A huge congratulations to all the ABC’s winners and finalists at the NT Media Awards. Our teams in Darwin and Alice Springs had a brilliant night, winning an incredible nine of the 14 categories.
The top honour of NT Journalist/Photojournalist of the Year went to Samantha Jonscher for her coverage of the controversial approval of a water licence to Singleton Station, which also won the award for Best Online Coverage.
The judges said Jonscher’s investigations over 11 months “exposed a story of national importance and gave voice to Indigenous people who had been marginalised by million dollar deals that ignored their interests”.
The Young Journalist of the Year was Hugo Rickard-Bell, who was also until recently based at the Alice Springs office.
Matt Garrick won Best Feature for his powerful writing on the rehabilitation of the Ranger uranium mine at Kakadu, the return of trailblazing actor David Gulpilil Ridjimairaril Dalaithngu to country and the federal election contest for Lingiari.
Best Television/News Coverage went to Jesse Thompson for a thorough series of investigative journalism pieces that exposed serious questions about Top End building standards and the wider construction industry.
Jane Bardon and Chris Dengate won Best Current Affairs Feature for a three-part podcast highlighting concerns and efforts being made by traditional owners to develop grassroots solutions to poverty, alcoholism and “failed” Closing the Gap policies.
Lauren Roberts and Emma Vincent  took out the awards for Excellence in Radio Broadcasting and Indigenous Affairs Reporting for their feature about “birthing on Yolngu country”.
Best Sports Journalism went to Myles Houlbrook-Walk for a series of stories, including on the first woman to call an AFL game in an Indigenous language.
Steve Vivian and Che Chorley won for Visual Storytelling for their photo essay on overcrowding in Indigenous communities.
Journalist/Photojournalist of the Year 2022 
Samantha Jonscher, ABC, “Singleton Station water licence”
Judges’ comments: Samantha Jonscher’s in-depth reporting on water rights in central Australia was empowering, enlightening and informative, shining a light on the fight over water use in the Northern Territory. Her extensive coverage, including original photography, has given a voice to traditional owners in remote communities, providing the public with a better understanding of complex issues relating to water, land rights, and climate change.
Marchbanks Young Journalist of the Year 2022 
Hugo Rickard-Bell, ABC, “Body of Work”
Judges’ comments: The judges were impressed by Hugo’s diverse range of work and his ability to transition from life stories with compelling characters to harder news of the day content. Hugo displays a unique ability of identifying and extracting deep personal stories from everyday characters giving them a voice that resonates with a local and national audience.
Best Feature Writing 
Matt Garrick, ABC, “Healing a Scarred Land“
Judges’ comments: Matt won with strong writing in three very different stories.  His report on the rehabilitation of the Ranger uranium mine used strong imagery to illustrate a big moment in Territory history.  The return of trailblazing actor David Gulpilil Ridjimairaril Dalaithngu was a cultural journey.  The report on the Federal Election contest for Lingiari was a great example of news feature writing.
Best News Coverage 
Jesse Thompson, ABC, “The trouble in the Top End homes”
Judges’ comments:  Jesse Thompson’s entry was a thorough series of investigative journalism pieces that exposed serious questions about Top End building standards and the wider construction industry. The judges acknowledge the significant difficulties in breaking a story like this in a close-knit community like Darwin and the legal and political hurdles the journalist faced with the two pieces. Jesse is to be commended for his tenacity in pursuing the stories and successfully getting FOIs. It was a strong piece of journalism with clear public benefit and impact.
Best Current Affairs or Feature 
Jane Bardon and Chris Dengate, ABC, “The Gap”
Judges’ comments:  Jane Bardon’s extensive experience reporting on the NT’s remote communities and her dedication to developing and maintaining trust with locals shines in ‘The Gap’. The podcast highlights the concerns and efforts being made by Traditional Owners to develop grassroots solutions to poverty, alcoholism and more, and if these ideas could be used to replace failed government solutions to these extensive problems. ‘The Gap’ is a captivating piece of journalism.
Excellence in Radio Broadcasting 
Lauren Roberts and Natasha Mitchell, ABC, “Medicine Listen Up!”
Judges’ comments: Lauren’s podcast on the issue of birthing on country was well researched and presented.  The judges were particularly impressed with her ability to relate to the women she interviewed for this project, and the natural style with which her report was delivered.
Best Online Coverage 
Samantha Jonscher, ABC, “Singleton Station water licence”
Judges’ comments:  Samantha Jonscher’s investigations over 11 months exposed a story of national importance and gave voice to Indigenous people who had been marginalised by million dollar deals that ignored their interests. Her first story in the series is the standout, the photos are spectacular complementing the detail shown by Samantha’s meticulous writing and research. The work Samantha put in on the ground making several trips on her own to this region is evident in every story, she clearly gained the trust of this community and that respectful reporting resulted in these superb digital showcase stories. The stories were well executed and impressively produced, with great structure and use of the ABC odyssey format using a light touch. Her photos were an integral part of the storytelling, doing her writing justice rather than just an afterthought. Congratulations on a standout story in an extremely competitive category.
Best Sports Journalism 
Myles Houlbrook-Walk, ABC, “Body of Work”
Judges’ comments:  From Sylvia Nulpinditj, the first woman to call an AFL game in an Indigenous language to Jonty Beard, the first semi-professional umpire living with autism, Myles’s body of work showed the role sport can play in a vibrant community.  Special mention to Jack Snape who the judges struggled to split in this category.
Indigenous Affairs Reporting 
Lauren Roberts and Emma Vincent, ABC, “Birthing on Yolngu Country”
Judges’ comments: A compellingly told story that clearly shows the journalist went to great lengths to ensure the comfort of her subjects while also focusing on the reader’s experience. It neatly explores the divide between western medicine and self-determination of Indigenous people to give birth on their country. While the overall piece would have benefited from more Government comment, it proposed a tangible outcome to the issue it raised and explored. Overall, a very pleasurable reader experience with strong impact and newsworthiness, written well and sensitively treated.
Visual Storytelling
Che Chorley and Steve Vivian, ABC, “Out of Sight”
Judges’ comments:  Che Chorley and Steve Vivian’s photo essay skillfully used one crisis, COVID-19, to show the problems caused by the public housing shortage and overcrowding in the indigenous community of Rockhole in the pandemic. But also used it as a vehicle to highlight broader health and social crises with the same root cause. It used intimate moments from the living room, to teenagers being teenagers in the street, but also a more confronting image capturing the state of one of the houses.
Media contact: Sally Jackson | ABC Communications | jackson.sally@abc.net.au
 

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