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Reporting Diversity Award goes to Press reporter

MEDIA RELEASE

November 25, 2010


THE story of a journey from a Himalayan refugee camp to inner-city Christchurch has won the 2010 Excellence in Reporting Diversity Award.

Christchurch Press reporter Rebecca Todd’s winning entry told of a Bhutanese family’s migration to New Zealand.

The annual competition this year was to recognise and reward the work of young New Zealand journalists focusing on Asian-related topics.

The award – in its third year – is convened by Whitireia Journalism School, whose head, Jim Tucker, says although entry numbers were down this year the standard was very high.

Ms Todd travelled to the refugee camp in Nepal earlier this year to meet the family as they prepared for resettlement in New Zealand through the UN refugee programme.

The aim of her work was to give Kiwis a better understanding of the background of people moving in to their communities.

One of the judges, Asia:NZ Foundation media advisor Charles Mabbett, says Ms Todd was the standout candidate for the award.

She illustrated the challenges and differences faced by the families as they settled into their new lives, he says.

“Rebecca takes the reader through the culture shock felt by the family, by observing a series of experiences we would take for granted included a first trip to the supermarket.”

Ms Todd says she learnt about courageous people who, through no fault of their own, have been through awful events and are living in a terrible situation, but still have great hope for the future.

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“Refugees want what all people want – a safe place to live and opportunities for their children.”

A rapidly growing Asian population in New Zealand means an Asian perspective in the news media important, says Ms Todd, who has also just won Canterbury University’s Robert Bell Travelling Scholarship in Journalism to investigate the impact of the tablet computer on newspapers in England.

She plans to meet up with the families before Christmas to see what their plans are for the holiday season and talk about how they coped during the earthquake.

The prize of a $4000 grant from Asia:NZ Foundation will support Ms Todd’s travel to an Asian news outlet to further her knowledge and experience.

Joint runners up are Joanna Davies of The Aucklander and John Hartevelt from Fairfax’s political bureau.

The award was judged by Mr Mabbett, Mr Tucker and Race Relations Commissioner Joris De Bres.

ENDS

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