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Foundation-funded projects among Canon Media Awards winners

From the hair extension industry in China to rugby in the Philippines, a range of Asia New Zealand Foundation-funded journalism projects were winners and finalists in the 2017 Canon Media Awards.

The Foundation’s media travel grants programme has been running since 1994, and over the years has supported hundreds of New Zealand journalists to travel to Asia for independent reporting projects.

Black Gold (Best single news story of 2016)

The New Zealand Herald’s multimedia project, Black Gold, produced by investigative reporter Olivia Carville and visual journalist Mike Scott, was among the projects the Foundation funded in 2016.

Carville and Scott spent two weeks in rural China documenting the hair trade for the story.

Black Gold won best (single) news story of 2016. Mike Scott won best photo essay for his work on the story, and was also runner-up for videographer of the year. Black Gold was part of Carville’s portfolio for reporter of the year.

An unhappy-looking girl about to have her hair cut

On the same trip, Carville and Scott also interviewed Chinese parents whose children had died in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. Their story, The Shidu parents who lost everything and are pleading for help, was published in February 2017. 

Carville described the trip as “an amazing, eye-opening experience". 

“It exposed me to the nuances of a culture I had never really understood before,” she said.

The ugly story behind the fruit

Tess McClure, a member of the Foundation’s Leadership Network, was a finalist for best long-form feature – general, for the story Banana Republic, produced for RNZ. McClure was also nominated for best investigation and for best reporter of the year.

Along with videographer Luke McPake, she travelled to the Philippines in May 2016 to report on the conditions of the Filipino workers who produce most of New Zealand’s bananas. 

The pair also travelled to Cambodia to report on the conditions of fishing boat workers

It was McClure’s second reporting assignment to the Philippines – she had previously worked at The Philippine Star through the Asia New Zealand Foundation’s media internships programme.

When the world forgets (Best feature writer - sport)

A resident in Basey, Philippines. Credit Alden Williams

Fairfax Media’s Jonathan Carson is another former Philippine Star intern who was a Canon Media Award finalist. He was in the country when Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda hit in November 2013, and travelled to badly-hit Basey and Tacloban to interview survivors.

Supported by an Asia New Zealand Foundation media travel grant, Carson returned two years later with photographer Alden Williams to report on the progress towards recovery

The story led to Carson being named New Zealand’s best short-form feature writer in the sport category.

"Having the opportunity to work and develop my craft in the Philippines, often in extremely challenging circumstances, was valuable both in terms of professional and personal development," said Carson.

"As a journalist, I think we should always be seeking to extend and challenge ourselves beyond our day-to-day work.

“Working in the Philippines not only equipped me with new skills that I brought back to my New Zealand newsrooms, but also provided me with a wider world view, which hopefully informs my reporting every day.”

On the 2015 trip, Carson and Williams also worked on the story of Manila rugby player Lito Ramirez. The story has made Carson a finalist for New Zealand’s best short-form feature writer in sport.  

"The story of Lito Ramirez is one that will stay with me for life. I think the fact that the piece has been nominated for a Canon Media Award says more about Lito's incredible story of being abandoned on the streets to becoming a national sports hero than it does about my re-telling of that story."

An eye on Indian students in NZ (Best feature writer - business and politics)

Mava Moayyed, The Wireless

Mava Enoka, a journalist for RNZ’s The Wireless, first received Asia New Zealand Foundation support when as a Massey University graduate she undertook an internship with CNBC Asia in Singapore in 2014.

Last year, she used the Foundation's media travel grants programme to travel to India and report on students planning to study in New Zealand. That story saw her pick up a win for best short-form feature writer in the business and politics category.

“Asia New Zealand Foundation has been incredible in helping build up my skills as a journo and letting me explore Asia-New Zealand issues.”

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21 May 2017