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GM canola conflict TV story wins national broadcast journalism award

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The 2013 Rabobank Australian Star Prize for Rural Broadcasting has been awarded to ABC TV Landline’s Sean Murphy for his story on a conflict between Western Australian farming neighbours over genetically modified canola.

Sean’s 30-minute production titled ‘Freedom of Choice’ previewed a controversial Supreme Court case pitting Western Australian farming neighbours against each other over alleged contamination of an organic farm with genetically modified canola.

Sean researched, produced, directed and presented the story, which involved filming in eight locations across the wheat-belt from Geraldton to Esperance and interviewing 17 stakeholders.

Sean received his award from Rabobank’s regional manager, southern NSW, Michael White at a Farm Writers Association of NSW lunch in Sydney today.

The award is run annually by the Australian Council for Agricultural Journalists (ACAJ), in association with Australia’s five dedicated rural media clubs.

Congratulating Sean on his win, ACAJ President Tim Powell said that Sean’s production will now be representing Australia in the global International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) awards. Rabobank is sponsoring Sean’s travel to the IFAJ annual congress in Buenos Aires in September as part of his award.

The Rabobank Australian Star Prize for Broadcasting is given in three categories: television, radio and online. Sean’s entry also won the television category.

The radio category was won by ABC Country Hour Queensland reporter Nikolai Beilharz for his story ‘Australia’s wild rice may help feed the world’. The online category was won by ABC Country Hour Victoria reporters Lucy Barbour and Larissa Romensky for ‘Trappin' bitches like a lady’.

The three winning entries have now been entered into the international competition, with the winner to be announced at the IFAJ Congress in Argentina, September 1 to 5, 2013.

Michael White said Rabobank was pleased to be supporting Australian rural journalism through this significant award program, which recognises the important role specialist journalists have in helping Australian agribusiness reach its potential through promoting healthy debate and exchange of ideas.

The Rabobank Australian Star Prize for Broadcasting competition was judged at the national level by ABC TV Landline reporter and former Star Prize winner Kerry Staight and former senior ABC executive and director of Cox Inall Communications Lucy Broad.

The judges said Sean’s story told a complex story clearly and logically, and in a way that could be understood by a very wide audience.

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