AN INVESTIGATIVE news story produced and published by the Country Caller has been named winner of the digital category in the prestigious Australian Star Prize for Rural Broadcasting.
The awards are an initiative by the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists (ACAJ) aimed to recognise excellence in rural journalism.
Country Caller had last year submitted an exclusive story about coal seam gas bubbling in new areas of the Condamine River catchment, into the Queensland Rural Press Club’s (QRPC) annual awards, winning the digital category.
The judges’ remarks were: “We are enormously impressed by (Country Caller founder Harry Clarke’s) organisation and initiative in establishing his own digital news platform in a regional centre, and then developing an outstanding story with significant community interest and impact”.
The story was then pitted against the top digital news stories from each Australian state, and was successful once again at a national level.
The entry has now been sent to the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists as the Australian entry for that category, where it will be judged alongside some of the finest rural news content in the world.
COMMENT by HARRY CLARKE, Editor
It’s a huge honour for the Country Caller to be recognised by the ACAJ and the QRPC, which collates some terrific rural journalism from right around Australia for these awards.
What’s particularly pleasing is that this recognition has come so early in the life of the Caller. My winning entry was published only a few days after launching the website in late August 2020.
I’m very grateful that the judges from the QRPC, and now the ACAJ, have recognised the work of a journalism ‘start-up’.
As the news industry diversifies and grapples with rapid technological and social change, I believe it’s becoming increasingly important for small, independent operations like the Caller to help tell the stories that aren’t being told elsewhere.
That’s essentially why this news service was established. I’m very grateful for the support and encouragement I’ve received.
The winning entries in the other awards categories are well worth checking out. See them all here on the ACAJ website.