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InDaily journalists recognised at SA Media Awards

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InDaily and Solstice Media journalists have won a number of top gongs at the 2021 SA Media Awards.

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InDaily’s Tom Richardson was named Best Print Journalist and also won Best Analysis, Opinion and Critique, Stephanie Richards was named Young Journalist of the Year, while SALIFE Magazine journalist Ben Kelly won in the Best Feature Photograph category at the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance ceremony on Friday night.

Richards was recognised for a series of stories, including a State Government commitment to spend millions to supply safe drinking water to the outback SA town of Oodnadatta, after Richards earlier exposed how SA Water was charging residents $300 a year for non-drinkable and potentially fatal bore water.

Richards also revealed that newborn babies were being taken from Aboriginal mothers at Adelaide hospitals, and reported on life from inside quarantine during an Adelaide cluster lockdown.

Judges said that Richards “stood out for the high quality and compelling nature of her work and for her initiative and commitment to telling each story”.

“Shining a light on issues on the fringe of mainstream media attention and focussing on the people behind the headlines, Stephanie demonstrated how taking the time to build trust and rapport with contacts can result in powerful human storytelling and reporting that makes a difference.”

Tom Richardson was crowned Print Journalist of the Year for stories on an ICAC investigation into state MPs, the evolution of a lockdown decision, and a gif-laden explainer to that situation.

It was the second consecutive year InDaily has taken out the prestigious award.

Richardson also took out the award for best commentary, analysis, opinion and critique – for a fourth time – and was a finalist in the sports journalism category for his irreverent Touch Of The Fumbles column.

SALIFE Magazine journalist and photographer Ben Kelly won Best Feature Photograph or Photographic Series for his story Journey Back To The Red Centre.

Of all SA-based media, only the ABC took home more honours than independent InDaily and Solstice Media.

“The awards are industry recognition of our strong, original journalism,” said InDaily editor David Eccles.

“Our reporters consistently break important stories, ask tough questions and shine a light on social and political issues that authorities would prefer to leave in the dark. Their work reinforces the need to hold power to account, particularly as the media landscape shrinks and some players retreat from the field.”

Solstice Media Managing Director Paul Hamra said the company and InDaily launched 18 years ago “with a focus to provide South Australian readers with a quality, independent media voice”.

“Awards like these are testament we are delivering on that aim,” he said.

“We will continue to give journalists a wide platform to produce sharp and insightful coverage about how our state operates, and foster new talented journalists to produce the very best journalism South Australia deserves.

“And this is the first time the company has been recognised for our outstanding photography, published in SALIFE Magazine. It makes our whole team very proud.”

The ABC’s Patrick Martin was named Journalist of the Year and Best TV Broadcaster for his stories on the MP expenses scandal, which led to three Liberal MPs, including two Ministers, repaying tens of thousands of dollars claimed under the country members accommodation scheme.

Judges said of Martin’s work: “His series of stories took skill and courage as he pursued prominent politicians who were desperate to avoid scrutiny.”

The expenses scandal exclusive snared Martin and fellow ABC journalist Nick Harmsen the lion’s share of major awards, including Best Investigative Journalism, Best Coverage of Public Service Journalism and Print/Text News Report.

The Advertiser’s Roy Eccleston won Best News or Lifestyle Feature for articles on the Kangaroo Island bushfire, while colleague Michael McGuire took out the Sports Journalism award.

The ABC’s Brittany Evans won Best TV Report, while the ABC’s Lyndal Redman, Caroline Winter and Lauren Hillman won Best TV Current Affairs or Feature.

Former Solstice Media, The Advertiser and The Age photographer Bryan Charlton, who died earlier this year, was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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