Thursday, June 04, 2015

South Australian Rural Journalists win ACAJ Star Prize Awards (June 2015)

Two South Australian rural journalists have won their respective categories in the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists’ national 2015 Star Prize Awards.

Kerry Staight’s ABC Landline story titled, “Bitter Harvest” was announced as the winner of the “ACAJ 2015 Star Prize Award – Television”. Filmed in South Australia and Victoria, this 22 minute investigative story was originally broadcast on ABC Television in March last year.

A thorough investigation into the profitability of the whole wine industry, Kerry found the issue was very tricky to get to the bottom of because the industry tended to be quite fragmented and often reluctant to talk candidly. However by interviewing a range of growers, industry bodies, winemakers and retailers at length, she managed to shed more light than most on the true state of the industry and the challenges and opportunities ahead.

In a second coup for local rural journalists, ABC rural radio journalist, Lauren Waldhuter was announced as the winner of the “ACAJ 2015 Star Prize Award – Online” with a fine piece of web based journalism in a story titled, “Future of virus-affected canola still unknown”.

Initially published online in July last year, this story broke the news to the world that an outbreak of Beet Western Yellows virus had been discovered in South Australian canola crops. The SA disease outbreak was eventually described as the worst in the world and Lauren’s story conveyed the uncertainty many farmers and scientists felt at that time, coupled with the wider impact the virus was having.

Both Kerry and Lauren’s stories originally formed part of their winning portfolios of journalism work in RMSA’s 2014 Rural Business Support Rural Media Awards. View Kerry Staight’s winning Landline story at, while Lauren Waldhuter’s winning online story can be viewed at