2018 Ossie Award winners


“Jason Knows Ipswich.” Best photojournalism by an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Student. By Brendan Martin, Queensland University of Technology

The 2018 Ossie Award winners, showcasing Australia’s best student journalism, have been announced during the annual dinner of the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia conference in Hobart.

Links and intros to the stories are below, where publicly available. Full details of the winners, including judges’ comments, are here.

The Australian Press Council Prize for Journalism Student of the Year ($750 prize)

Winner – Sinead Fogarty, Macleay College

Judges’ comments: Sinead Fogarty demonstrated a superior ability to connect with and get the most out of interviewees and capture the essence of what is of interest to the reader. Sinead has a mature and lively writing style, has embraced new media and developed a compendium of consistently high quality work.

Examples of Sinead’s work include:

Highly Commended – Selby Stewart, Monash University.

Highly Commended – Madeline Stephens, Curtin University.

Best video story by an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Student – over 2 minutes ($200)

Winner – Sinead Fogarty, Macleay College. “Rising from Mother’s Ruin.”

“Australia’s thirst for homegrown gin continues to grow. Not only are we girt by sea, our 130-odd gin distilleries mean we’re also awash in the white spirit.

Its coddling with craft botanicals, in beautiful copper-pot stills, arose in Belgium and Holland in the 17th century. Once disparaged as Mother’s Ruin, its origin unites the Black Death, King Billy and beer propagandists.” Hatch

Highly Commended – Naveen Razik, Queensland University of Technology. “World Science Festival in Brisbane.”

Best video story by an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Student – 2 minutes or less ($200)

Winner – Andrea Thiis-Evensen and Ezra Holt, Monash University. “Firefighters climb hard for charity.”

“More than 700 men and women climbed 28 floors carrying 25kg of gear to raise awareness for mental health, PTSD and suicide, in the annual Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb.”

Best text-based story by an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Student – 750 words or less ($200)

Winner – Benjamin Ansell, University of Melbourne. “More than 60 couples fleeced in Willows wedding wipeout.”

“Dozens of couples looking forward to the ‘happiest day of their lives’ will start married life thousands of dollars out of pocket after reception centre The Willows shut up shop.” The Age.

Highly commended – Emily Selleck, Bond University. “Chantilly Lacey: Killer ex-WAG now $7m-a-year fashion queen.”

Best text-based story by an Undergraduate Student – over 750 words ($200)

Winner – Tallulah Thompson, University of Technology Sydney. “The heart of the matter.”

“Nine-year-old Noah Dawson travelled three hours from his home in Singleton to Sydney, where he was prodded, scanned, weighed and measured in preparation for his operation. Having already had his surgery cancelled earlier that month, it was a relief for Noah and his family to be checked in to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. “We thought, they can’t possibly cancel it now,” his mother, Allison Warry, 36, said, “But they did.” Noah was to undergo open-heart surgery to remove a piece of synthetic tissue, which was preventing proper blood flow to his lungs, but it was cancelled again due to a lack of available beds in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU).”

Highly commended – Sarah Makse, Curtin University. “Turning over a new leaf

Best text-based story by a Postgraduate Student – over 750 words ($200)

Winner – Angus Smith, Monash University. “Eight Years On: The Syrian war and its child refugees.”

“‘I’m 20 years old, I don’t want to fight. I don’t want to walk towards death with my own two feet.’ Ibrahim is one of more than a million Syrians holed up in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley. He is a refugee from a war that has engulfed his homeland since he was 13 years old. Like so many Syrians, he’s enduring a life in limbo, consigned to a tent settlement about 30 minutes from the Syrian border. But home might as well be a world away.” Neighbourhood

Best audio story by an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Student – 2 minutes or less ($200)

Winner – Andrea Thiis-Evensen, Monash University. “Memorial service for slain teenage Liep Gony.”

“Family and supporters of Liep Gony, a 19-year-old who was beaten to death in 2007, gathered at Melbourne’s Parliament House to walk in honour of the teen. His mother Martha Ojula spoke about her loss for the first time in 11 years.” Mojo News

Best audio story by an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Student – over 2 minutes ($200)

Winner – Dilpreet Kaur, University of Melbourne. “‘Perfection’ is more than skin deep: Being brown, being beautiful.”

“‘You have dark skin and a fat nose,’ said the old woman to the 12-year-old girl growing up in Punjab. A decade later, that girl is still fighting the stereotype of being a woman of colour, and the hard-sold lack of privilege of not being white. Does she give in?

Eurocentric standards of beauty have changed how women of colour look at themselves. From skin whitening procedures or hair treatments to photo editing apps – there is a constant effort to look as less as themselves and as close to white as possible. Dilpreet Kaur stitches together incidents from her own life and shares this intimate story.” The Citizen

Highly commended – Emily Bradfield, Bond University. “My family doesn’t have many secrets.”

John Newfong Prize for Reporting on Indigenous Affairs  ($200)

Winner – Jack Banister, University of Melbourne.  “Indigenous suicide in custody: ‘How have lives just slipped away?’

“Megan Williams was in her last year at school when the findings of the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody were released in 1991. The Wiradjuri woman, now an academic at the University of Technology, Sydney, remembers feeling ‘so confused that people could die in state care’.” The Guardian

Highly commended – Massilia Aili, University of Technology Sydney. “All acknowledgement and no action for Indigenous people.”

Best innovation in journalism

Winner: Immerse – UniSA.

Highly commended – Jessica Woolley (and Monash University digital production students). “Global Poverty.”

Best publication

Winner – Macleay College. Hatch

Highly commended – University of Melbourne. The Citizen

Best photojournalism by an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Student ($200)

Winner – Brendan Martin, Queensland University of Technology. “Jason Knows Ipswich.”

Highly Commended – Edward See Yuen Wong, Monash University. “‘We are dreamers’: The Filipino migrant workers of Hong Kong.”

Investigative journalism by an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Student ($200)

Winner – Kate Banville, Bond University. “Veterans fighting for protection visas for Afghan interpreters.”

“A group of veterans of the war in Afghanistan have vowed to step up their campaign to get Peter Dutton to intervene and grant humanitarian visas to Afghan translators who helped Australian soldiers.” ABC Online

“After failing for years to secure a meeting with the Home Affairs Minister, Afghanistan veteran Jason Scanes finally met Peter Dutton on Friday — days after meeting Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.” ABC Online

Highly commended – Krystle Richardson, Deakin University. “Golden Key: Worth joining or a waste of money.”

Investigative journalism (all media)

Winner – Sybilla Gross and Suryan Zaki, Monash University. “Bloody difficult coping with periods when you’re homeless.”

“Life’s most basic burdens, like getting your period, can be stressful at times – but these anxieties are particularly exacerbated in the homelessness community. Managing homelessness, and all its challenges, demands more than just a free tampon and spare change.” Mojo News

Highly commended – Caitlin Archbold and Bianca Banchetti (with Stefanny Widjaja and Cindy Gulla), Queensland University of Technology. “The faces behind Jakarta’s spilling waste.”

Mindframe (Individual, Any Medium, Undergraduate) ($200 prize)

Winner – Rebekah Roennfeldt, Griffith University. “Community Approach Needed for Suicide Prevention.”

“Brisbane’s World Suicide Prevention Day Community Forum is encouraging everyone in the community to play a part in helping to reduce the incidence of suicide.” The Source News

Mindframe (Individual, Any Medium, Postgraduate) ($200 prize)

Winner – Krati Garg, University of Melbourne. “Physician, heal thyself? A prescription for trouble for all of us, doctors say”

“Wannabe surgeon Frankie Bell persuades a patient to have life-saving heart transplant surgery. When the patient dies of cardiac arrest after a post-surgical bleed, Bell is shattered.” The Citizen

Our Watch (Individual, Any Medium, Undergraduate) ($200 prize)

Winner – Ninah Kopel and Ollie Henderson, University of Technology Sydney. “After #MeToo: Conditions of entry.”

“They’re all around us. They’re in your family, or your circle of friends. Maybe you work with them. You could even be one. Immigrant women are a significant portion of our population. So what does #MeToo mean to them?” 2SER

Highly Commended – Jessica Woolley, Monash University. “‘You have to start from somewhere’: From changing the course to changing the culture.”

Our Watch (Individual, Any Medium, Postgraduate) ($200 prize)

Winner – Amber Schultz, Monash University. “We need a refuge: Cowes residents confront Minister over family violence services”

“Residents of the Phillip Island township where mother-of-three Samantha Fraser was found dead last week have confronted Victoria’s Minister for Women over the island’s lack of support services for victims of domestic violence.” The Age

Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma – Asia Pacific ($200 prize)

Winner – Gabriella Marchant, RMIT. “Baby never known life outside immigration detention

“Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton recently made headlines for using his ministerial powers to waive immigration detention for friend’s au pairs. Now a new campaign wants him to do the same for a young mother whose baby has been in detention with her for its entire life.”


The Australian Press Council Undergraduate Prize for an essay on the topic of media ethics ($200 prize)

Winner – Russell Phipps, University of the Sunshine Coast. “Ethical journalism and the intrusion into grief.”

The Australian Press Council Postgraduate Prize for an essay on the topic of media ethics ($200 prize)

Winner – Daria Impiombato, Monash University. “Charlie Pourquoi? Freedom of expression and its limitations in modern western democracies.”