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Creative NZ recognises arts journalism

Creative New Zealand recognises arts journalism in Qantas Media Awards

Print journalists and press photographers were recognised in Wellington tonight for their contribution to New Zealand arts journalism at the 2005 Qantas Media Awards.

Creative New Zealand has been sponsoring the arts journalism categories of the Qantas Media Awards since 1996 as part of its arts advocacy work. Peter Biggs, Chair of Creative New Zealand, says the organisation sponsors the arts journalism and photography categories to encourage both the quality and quantity of arts coverage in the New Zealand media.

This year, Creative New Zealand sponsored two new awards: one for best arts page or section and another for best arts column.

“This is the tenth year we’ve been sponsoring the Qantas Media Awards,” Mr Biggs said. “Over the years, the standard of arts journalism has increased greatly and these awards acknowledge all those involved in producing the best arts stories in the country.

“The artistic achievements of our small country are extraordinary and Creative New Zealand is constantly working with the media to ensure that the work of New Zealand artists is recognised and reported.

“I’d like to congratulate this year’s winners and finalists. My warm thanks for providing the topical, engaging arts stories and photographs that New Zealanders want to hear and see.”

The following is a list of the winners in the print arts journalism categories.

Two awards - Newspaper Feature Writer for Best Arts Feature and the Magazine Feature Writer for Best Arts Feature - were presented to journalist Tim Watkin.

Watkin received the award for Newspaper Feature Writer for Best Arts Feature for his story Literary Feud – Words a weapon of choice in The New Zealand Herald. This winning story analyses the controversial pastime of book reviewing.

Watkin also received the award for Magazine Feature Writer for Best Arts Feature for his New Zealand Listener story, The Homecoming, a feature article about writer Witi Ihimaera. The judges said: “Tim’s winning art entry did not simply rehash what we knew about Witi Ihimaera, he explored Witi’s changed world view and how this was leading him to rework his early novels.”

When he read the article, Ihimaera wrote to Watkin and said: “It’s strange, you know, when you read about yourself. Sometimes it’s like you are reading about a different person. But in your piece, boy oh boy, did I recognise myself! There, that’s a benchmark on how well you’ve done”.

The new award for Best Arts Column was presented to Christopher Moore from The Press for his column about the show Messiah, entitled Messiah habit wears thin in which he declared: “I can’t avoid it: Messiah must go.”

The judges were impressed with Moore’s outspokenness and bravery. “Moore, who must be highly unpopular with the arts elite of his city, understands that columns can be outspoken and controversial. No safe buttering of egos here.”

The other new award, Best Newspaper Arts Page or Section, was presented to The Press.

The award for Best Single Arts Picture was presented to Jane Saunders of The Press for her photo Shining Stars while the award for Best Single Arts Picture by a junior photographer was presented to Robyn Edie of The Southland Times for her photo, Flouro Dancer.

Barry Young, Director of the Qantas Media Awards, says Creative New Zealand’s sponsorship of the awards has been an important catalyst in developing the whole genre of reporting about the arts.

“When we introduced ‘the arts’ as a category within the Qantas Media Awards we received a few theatre reviews as entries. Now, the subject is taken seriously by journalists in newspapers, magazines, on radio and television, and the stories entered in this year’s awards reflect this.”

Creative New Zealand sponsors a range of awards, including the arts journalism categories of the Qantas Media Awards, to acknowledge the contribution that other sectors make to New Zealand arts. Other such awards include the Creative Places Awards, which acknowledge the work of local government, and the Creative New Zealand Award for Bravery in the National Business Review Awards for Business Sponsorship of the Arts.


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