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Local media recognises the year’s best

A POLITICAL exposé with a strong business leaning has allowed Geraldton Guardian reporter Chris Johnson to scoop the pool at the WA media awards this year.

Mr Johnson’s revelation that Geraldton MP Bob Bloffwich had failed to declare his interest in the proposed Mid West steel project Kingstream came late in this year’s election campaign and was seen by many as a damaging blow to the Court Government’s re-election chances.

The story was published despite the fact that the local businessman and MP was a shareholder in the Guardian. Mr Bloffwich retaliated by withdrawing advertising from the newspaper.

The scoop won Mr Johnson The Perth Press Club Country Prize, the AJA Print News Prize and The Gold Award (The Daily News Centenary Prize). He was also a finalist in the national Walkley Awards.

Business-related issues were high on the agenda at the WA awards.

Sunday Times journalist John Flint won the prized Arthur Lovekin award for his coverage of allegations of corruption in the building industry.

Mr Flint’s colleague Gary Adshead won the AJA sports prize for pieces on the Perth Glory’s management, including the club’s decision to not to move to a new stadium as part of the convention centre deal.

ABC radio Liam Bartlett won the AJA radio prize for coaxing a whistleblower to go public on a computer project in the WA Ombudsman’s office.

Australian Financial Review journalist Mark Drummond won the AJA business prize for a story on private WA business-man Stan Perron.

But it was not all business.

The highly charged political issue of refugees got a big guernsey this year, with at least two journalist winning prizes for their coverage of events surrounding the arrival of thousands of people to our shores.

The AJA TV camera prize went to Tim Cohen from Channel Seven for his footage of the Tampa crisis.

Victoria Laurie of The Australian picked up the AJA feature prize for a piece on volunteers in WA who deal with refugees who have passed through all the hoops and provided with a $160 bus ticket to Perth.

The Perth Press Club award went to Carmelo Amalfi of The West Australian for two detailed features and series of news reports on the wreck of William Dampier’s ship The Roebuck on the Falkland Islands and on Rose de Freycinet who was marooned when the Uranie sank at Ascension Island.

Among the other big issues to receive prizes or commendations was last year’s fatal shark attack at Cottesloe. It was one of the subjects, which won Perth Weekly journalist Fiona Adolph the suburban newspapers award.

The West’s Cartoonist Dean Alston won for his work on the death of Sir Donald Bradman.

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