An AUT student is in the running to win Student Journalist of the Year at this year's Canon Media Awards.
One of the most prestigious and highly regarded events on the New Zealand media calendar, third year journalism student, Nicole Barratt, will find out if her name is called at the awards ceremony on Friday evening.
The Canon Media Awards is open to all New Zealand mass-media publications including paid newspapers, community newspapers, magazines and news websites – and their individual staff and freelancers, the awards aim to acknowledge and recognise their work.
Nicole was nominated for her reporting for the NZ Herald, where she has worked on a casual basis since July last year. Her exclusive story on Kathmandu disposing of unwanted stock is one example of her work.
Nicole says whilst it feels strange for the focus to be on her for a change, she is thrilled to be honoured and recognised for her work.
"It's really exciting and satisfying as a journalist when your work gets published. Ultimately, what I want is for people to read about something that matters, so it's a good feeling knowing my work might lead to people facing issues head on and doing something about them. That's why I'm passionate about journalism," she says.
Nearly 60 judges from New Zealand, Australia, UK and America worked in pairs for weeks to choose winners and finalists from thousands of individual pieces of work – news stories, features, columns, reviews, editorials, blogs, photographs, videos, graphics and artwork, magazines and newspapers. From thousands of entries, the final shortlist was whittled down to 350 finalists in 69 categories. Nicole is one of six students in her category for Student Journalist of the Year.
AUT Journalist in Residence Geraldine Johns says she is delighted to see Nicole's name on the list of finalists. She noted that some of Nicole's pieces originally filed for Te Waha Nui, AUT's student-driven news site, were picked up and run untouched by mainstream media.
"Nicole brought great strength to our newsroom and Te Waha Nui," Geraldine says. "Clearly, Nicole is abundantly talented. We are tremendously proud of her, and we know we will be seeing a lot more of her efforts on a wider stage in no time."
Nicole says that undoubtedly AUT's resources and teachers helped her get to this stage.
"What's really good about AUT, is that as well as giving you the skills and confidence to write and publish, there's also the opportunity to build up a portfolio before you even leave university," Nicole says
"AUT's news website, Te Waha Nui, is a space where journalism students can submit their stories. Once your work is out there, other media have the option to publish a story they like," Nicole adds.
For more information, visit the Canon Media Awards website.