Cambridge journos win awards

Karen Rutherford of Cambridge receives the best regional news gong.

Four Cambridge journalists featured strongly at the Voyager Media Awards on Saturday.

Lisette Reymer, Newshub’s Europe correspondent based in London, won the best coverage of a news event and best general reporting.

Karen Rutherford, also of Newshub, was the regional journalist of the year with Natalie Akoorie from the New Zealand Herald runner up.

The News’ Mary Anne Gill was a finalist in best local government reporting and community journalist.

Judges Gordon Harcourt and Scott Campbell said Reymer, who flew back from London for the awards, was one of the first reporters on the ground in the Ukraine for a New Zealand organisation.

“Her very personal account of the realities of war made her stories powerful and compelling. Her calm and genuine approach to reporting allowed the story to do the talking rather than over-hyping it. Her commitment (and that of Discovery/Newshub) to telling the story is a credit to them both.”

See: Bringing the story from Ukraine

Ali Ikram, Graeme Muir and Zac Fleming, who judged the best coverage category said Reymer and camera operator Dan Pannet gave Kiwis something were were unable to get from any other New Zealand newsroom “world-class, regular, on-the-ground coverage of the most globally consequential event of 2022. The storytelling was superb, the camerawork beautiful, and the dogged determination shown to overcome immense logistical difficulties and repeatedly revisit some of the most war-torn parts of Ukraine made this entry shine in a highly competitive category.”

Regional journalist judges Hamish Clark and Rick Neville said Rutherford proved you do not have to be based in a main centre to get big stories.

“Karen Rutherford used her investigative skills and local contacts in the Waikato to break stories which captured not only local but national attention. From tracking down the survivors of the Enchanter sinking, finding the ex-wife of the Marakopa disappearing father, changing a government decision to close a special school, to a searing expose of hellish conditions in Hamilton’s emergency housing, hers was an outstanding portfolio.”

See: Chopper heroes thanked

Mary Anne Gill

Gill, who works part time at The News, missed out to Oliver Lewis of NZME/Business Desk for the local government reporting gong. Her portfolio included articles on the resignation of a councillor for her involvement in an illegal quarry, community boards under secret reviews and $9.23 – the cost of a vote.

See: Waipa councillor resigns.

See: Boards in secret reviews

See: $9.23c – the cost of a vote

Judges Clive Lind and Richard Harman said all four finalists were professional but they would have liked to have seen more display a willingness to take on bigger local government issues. Lewis’ entry stood out because he broke big stories, said the judges.

Stuff Auckland journalist Caroline Williams won the best community newspaper journalist award. Judges Mike Fletcher and Sarah Dunn said: “Williams is clearly curious and persistent, digging deeper to widen a point of interest into a lens on her community. She has a crisp style and dry wit.”

Gill’s entries included a moving piece on the death of a Cambridge woman when a tree fell on her during a storm.

See: Tea without Marg.

Lisette Reymer, who grew up in Cambridge, with camera operator Dan Pannett at the awards.

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