Surprise at reward for 'the best kind of journalism'
"The best kind of journalism"JENNA HOUGHTON
Finding out she had won a major New Zealand journalism award came as a shock to New Plymouth student Deena Coster.
"I forgot about [ having entered] it really. I didn't think much of it, so I was really surprised and quite overwhelmed when I found out I'd won," the Witt journalism student, who is soon to join the Taranaki Daily News staff, said.
The 35-year-old former social worker was presented with the Bruce Jesson Foundation Emerging Journalist Award at a ceremony at Auckland University last night.
The award recognises "critical, informed, analytical and creative journalism or writing which will contribute to public debate in New Zealand on an important issue or issues".
Bruce Jesson Foundation chairman Sir Edmund Thomas said Ms Coster's entry "followed in the tradition of the best kind of local journalism displaying a commitment and social concern for the community".
Witt Head of Journalism Robin Martin nominated Ms Coster who submitted stories on emergency housing, housing for the elderly, the Living Wage campaign, and a missing person's cold case, all of which appeared in the Taranaki Daily News.
"Deena is very deserving of this award. Not only does she have an excellent eye for news but also a keen sense of the issues affecting New Zealand society, many of which are hidden from view," Mr Martin said.
Ms Coster has a post-graduate degree in social work from Massey University and spent 12 years working at Child, Youth and Family and the Taranaki Restorative Justice Trust.
"Through my experience as a social worker you get to see that hard, sharp end of life, and you also see how it's reported on. I always felt there was space for more positive and informative stories to be told," she said.
"I've always been interested in people and in particular people who may not be represented or don't necessarily get their stories told"
The award has given Ms Coster a timely confidence boost before she begins work as a full-time reporter at the Taranaki Daily News in December.
"It's reassuring that I'm on the right track and that what I find interesting, interests other people as well. That gives me confidence that I'm doing something, making a contribution," she said.
"If you leave a full-time permanent job to take a risk and go and study, the dream is you get a full-time permanent job at the other end. That's pretty much how it's worked out. I couldn't have asked for more really."
Ms Coster shares the award and $1000 cash prize with Ruth Keber of Massey University.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Should the NPDC councillors get iPads?Related story: Tech-wary councillors hedge their bets