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Country Press SA

Young Journalist of the Year


If this year’s entries are an accurate indicator, the standard of young regional press Journalists in SA is strong. All entries exhibited good work and the variation in standard between the individuals was relatively small. In fact it was difficult to separate the top four, and with several others very close behind. The entries reflected an understanding of the communities which the individual Journalists serve and the issues which affect those communities. Most stories were well written and offered clear perspectives and insights into the issues they covered. The other notable feature was the standard of photography and this helped to further single out the best entrants. Given the challenging environment in which most regional Journalists operate and the expectations they carry to produce a quantity of work each week, it’s encouraging to see the standards being achieved. It bodes well for what these young Journalists may achieve as their careers develop.

Brendan Simpkins and Elysse Armanini were strong contenders in the final four of entrants. Brendan is from the Gawler Bunyip continues to build the reputation of this paper on the city/country fringe. His entries were varied and addressed key issues in the region. Brendan was born in Gawler and clearly enjoys writing hard news, putting time and effort into researching stories and drawing out their local relevance. He seems acutely aware of the paper’s 160 year history and ensuring that he lives up to it with the team he now leads as Editor. Elysse works for the Murray Pioneer and it’s easy to see why she’s so highly valued by her Editor and readers. Her work shows a maturity in the way she tackles stories and the diversity of topics covered. One of her entries was an impressive feature in the SA Farmer magazine, which highlighted the work and business approach of a local almond grower. It’s not surprising that Elysse has been appointed to the senior role of publications co-ordinator. Both Elysse and Brendan demonstrate a standard which could have won the overall award this year.

Adam Sheldon is this year’s runner-up and like Elysse and Brendan, produces strong work. Adam covers a very large area of the state, including one of the key large towns of Eyre Peninsula, in Port Lincoln. His entries were diverse and he is good at tackling challenging issues. The subjects investigated required sensitivity, maturity and insight. Subjects tackled included serious staff safety concerns at the local hospital, local teenage bullying problems and the destruction caused by a severe weather event. Like most other entrants this year, Adam is also skilled with the camera and captures good photos to support his written work.

The best Young Regional Journalist this year is Giorgina McKayfrom the Southern Argus. She impressed with the depth and strength of her articles. Her entries were diverse and covered issues from homelessness, to life-saving rehabilitation, to recognising outstanding long term local volunteer efforts. Giorgina writes with a maturity that matches seasoned Journalists and produces work which sets a standard for her paper. Her overall entry was nuanced, provided insight into her work and clear context for her stories. This was complimented by good, and at times her evocative photography. Giorgina demonstrates a standard of work which makes her a very worthy winner of Young Journalist of the year for 2022.




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