Daryna Zadvirna has been named the 2022 West Australian Journalist of the Year, just four years after graduating from Curtin’s journalism program.
Curtin was well represented at the 2022 WA Media Awards, with recent graduate Charlie Mills receiving the Outstanding Student Journalist Award and 2020 graduate Keane Bourke winning the Eaves Prior-Day-Prize for Best New Journalist/ Cadet. A number of other Curtin Journalism graduates were among winners announced on November 12.
Zadvirna, who is a journalist at The West Australian, also won the Daily Centenary Prize for her coverage of the war in Ukraine.
Earlier this year, Zadvirna took personal leave, bought a camera and independently travelled to Ukraine to tell and show the stories of the Russian invasion of her homeland. She had no itinerary, no guide and no cameraman and relied on a network of family and friends as she travelled around the country filming the devastation and interviewing locals.
With no prior camera experience she returned after five weeks, with 17 hours of footage and interviews, which resulted in the documentary, “My Ukraine: Inside the Warzone”, which won the Video Feature category, produced by Natalie Bonjolo, Zadvirna and The West Australian team.
In awarding Zadvirna the Journalist of the Year prize the judges said: “Displaying tremendous personal courage and commitment to her craft, Daryna Zadvirna created the absolute stand-out piece of journalism of the year.
“Her stunning footage and wealth of interviews with everyday Ukrainians combined to build an intensely personal account of the suffering the war has brought to the country of her birth – and the determination of its people to prevail in the face of overwhelming odds.
“The judges were impressed with the sensitivity with which she handled her subject matter and her superb story-telling that wove a compelling narrative. The result was an emotionally powerful portrait of the horrors of the invasion.”
Zadvirna also won the Feature Photograph/Photographic Essay category for her “My Ukraine: Inside the Warzone”, Sunday Times Magazine, The West Australian piece, and was part of the team who took out the Multimedia Feature prize for The West Australian video series, “Foul Play — The Tiny Pinder Story”.
The judges praised Curtin postgraduate student Charlie Mills’ writing and research skills and emerging aptitude for multiplatform storytelling. “His ‘Donating in Vein’ feature was a particular standout,” the judges said. “Charles clearly put his interviewees at ease, allowing them to open up and discuss personal topics. Based on this body of work, Charles could easily slot into any newsroom and has a bright future ahead.”
Curtin Journalism graduates also shone at the recent 2022 WA Rural Media Awards.
Cally Dupe from the Countryman took out the top prize, Outstanding Commitment to Rural and Regional Media, for her long-term commitment to regional journalism and the high standard of her entries. She also won Best Coverage of an Agricultural Issue.
The Kalgoorlie Miner deputy editor Amber Lilley, who graduated from Curtin Journalism in 2020, won the Best News Coverage of Award for reports which described her experiences of sexual harassment at the Diggers and Dealers conference.
2021 graduates Amelia Searson and Tom Robinson, who both work for the ABC, were announced joint winners of this year’s Best New Entrant award.
The judges said: “The standard was so high, that even after a rigorous debate we could not settle on one winner.
“Amelia submitted a strong portfolio that effectively put human faces to challenging issues. She demonstrated consistent skill across a breadth of topics, and her initiative and tenacity in chasing stories across vast distances is a testament to her dedication to uncovering untold stories and giving a voice to communities that had long been overlooked.
“Tom’s series of articles on Wittenoom were also consistently high quality, and the judges were impressed with the depth and context covered by his reports. Tom’s use of previously unreported documents highlight the importance of relationship building and cultivating contacts.
“Both Amelia and Tom demonstrated strong investigative skills and exhibited journalistic instincts beyond their junior years.”