Ossie Awards for outstanding student journalism

1 December 2011

Written by: Erdem Koc

The annual Ossie Awards, named after journalist Osmar S. White, are organised by the Journalism Education Association of Australia.  Senior journalists and editors judge the main award categories.

La Trobe University, which happens to be upstart headquarters,  featured twice at the awards ceremony, with Paige Hortin winning the best photojournalism award, and Kara Irving highly commended in the best print news story category.

Upstart congratulates all award winners. 

Here the full list:

Best Print News Story

Michael Cox, from the University of Western Sydney, for his story ‘Sam’s Last Plank’.

Judges said that it was an excellent and thorough news report that showed initiative, consulted many sources, was comprehensive and used all available media platforms to not only present strongly in print but also allowed the story to be debated and considered further digitally.

La Trobe University’s Kara Irving was highly commended for her front-page story ‘Fury at ‘perve’ group on Facebook‘ in The Age newspaper which exposed the so-called ‘Brocial network’.

Best Broadcast News Story

Queensland University of Technology’s Clare Hunter won for her story, ‘Grantham Plans’, about the land-swap arrangements in the town of Grantham following the horrendous floods of January 2011, which judges described was professional and well crafted.

Highly commended was Emily Glover from Edith Cowan University for her story ‘Marine Parks’.

Best Broadcast Current Affairs or Issues Based Story

Esther Han, from the University of Technology Sydney, for the story ‘The North Korean Double Standard’.  Esther’s story was a unique and compelling piece of long-form radio journalism on life inside Kim Jong-il’s North Korea.  Judges said Esther demonstrated great strength in scripting and in thoughtful editing throughout this complex and lengthy radio documentary.

The UTS’s Colin Cosier was highly commended for his story ‘Tracking Baltimore’s Addicts’.

Best Feature Article (Print)

Monique Fischle, from Charles Sturt University, was awarded for her story ‘What you didn’t know about the HPV vaccine’, which revealed the dangers of possible side effects and how many women were in the dark about this.   Judges said this was an example of how one friend’s story could be turned into an investigation that every woman needs to be aware of and is deserving of greater community debate.

Best Feature Article (Online)

Lisa Thomas, from Edith Cowan University, took this award for ‘Chinese Furriers are Barking Mad’.  Judges said the piece was well written, intelligently researched and capable of maintaining the reader’s interest from the opening par and enticing them to scroll down to the end – this piece is a well-deserved winner.

Highly commended was Paul Farrell, from UTS, for his piece ‘Dissent on the record’.  But Paul did take out the next award!

Best Online Story

Paul Farrell, from the University of Technology Sydney, wrote ‘Dissent on the record’, which presented the story of a group of young people who have defied the cultural norms of the society in which they live.

Two other entrants were highly commended: Alexander Winkler from Auckland University of Technology for his Pacific Islands Forum Coverage, and Queensland University of Technology’s Rachel Kramer for her story ‘A collection of hastily formed opinions: Senate committee rejects “flawed changes”’.

Best Story by an International Student

Marina Freri, from UTS, won this award for profile and interview with Senator Mary Jo Fisher.  Judges said after reading the article you get a clearer idea about many of the on-going issues involved and the politics that continue with the introduction of the National Broadband Network.

Highly commended in this category was Steffen Stubager from Monash University for his story ‘Floods aftermath in Rochester: It just hasn’t sunk yet’.

Best use of Convergent Media

The winner was the University of Technology Sydney, with Elise Dalley as the chief reporter and Nicole Gooch in production, for ‘Pure Plastiky:  A multimedia project about the bottled water industry by students at the University of Technology, Sydney‘.

Two other entrants were highly commended: Jackelyn Norris and Dimity Carcary from James Cook University for ‘Copping it sweet’, and Ella Rubeli from UTS for ‘Continental Drift: Stories from Sudan’.

Best Photojournalism

La Trobe University’s Paige Hortin won this award for ‘Our beautiful gift was wrapped in ugly paper’.

Highly commended was Martine Hoff-Jensen from UTS for ‘Never-ending love’.

Dr Charles Stuart Prize for best student publications

This was awarded to Sydneysider 2010 at Macleay College.  Judges said the breadth of articles was extraordinary and all were finely honed and perfectly fit for publication.

Highly commended was Frock, Paper, Scissors at the Queensland University of Technology.

Hunter Institute Response Ability Prize for mental health reporting

Rogini Moorthi from Edith Cowan University won this award for the piece ‘More than just the university blues’.  Judges said the author used their writing skills and journalistic intuition to probe deeper into the issue of depression among young adults in the university environment, providing detailed background, context and facts, warning signs and symptomatology, personal stories of recovery and help-seeking information.

Highly commended was Chloe Booker-Latham from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology for her piece ‘Untitled’.

The Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma Prize for reporting on violence, disaster or trauma in society

Edith Cowan University’s Jerrie Demasi radio report ‘Fire Aftermath’ following the WA fires this year was awarded this prize.  Judges said the reporter allowed the survivor to tell the story, whilst adding an appropriate frame around the survivors words without sensationalising them in any way.

Tessarne Rowley, from University of Western Sydney, was highly commended for her story ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones – words will kill me’.

Sally A. White Prize for Investigative Journalism

Awarded to Lisa Roth, from Edith Cowan University, for her piece ‘Series on the effect of GM Canola in WA’.  Judges said Lisa’s series of reports, starting with the impact of a truck spill of genetically modified canola and carrying on into an investigation of Monsanto’s role, the wider effect of GM crops and even into the ethics of long-term use, were at a standard of which any seasoned journalist would be proud.

Highly commended was Alexa Gordon, from the Queensland University of Technology, for ‘Child sexual assault victims left in the dark’.