THE Daily Advertiser has taken out a major Kennedy Award for journalism for its coverage of the March floods at a gala event in Sydney at the weekend.
The award was presented by NSW deputy premier Andrew Stoner at the Four Seasons Hotel and was accepted by Advertiser deputy editor Peter Mahoney and journalists Ashleigh Gleeson, Ken Grimson and Daisy Huntly.
The Advertiser won the Paul Lockyer award for the best reporting in regional NSW – beating ABC Tamworth and ABC Newcastle – to win for its flood coverage, which began on March 3, just prior to the inundation of areas within Wagga and towns across the Riverina.
Mr Mahoney said the award represented hard work and dedication from all the staff at the Advertiser during the flood event.
“At the time the Wagga flood was the major story across Australia,” he said.
When the integrity of the levee protecting Central Wagga was deemed unsafe – and an SES ordered evacuation took place, displacing around 8000 people – Advertiser staff had to evacuate their office and work from a makeshift headquarters at the Rules Club. Sub-editors were also relocated to Albury.
Despite this the newspaper continued to cover the latest news from public meetings, emergency services and the stories from people who were affected.
Editor of the Advertiser Paul McLoughlin said it was a privilege to be the inaugural winner of the award and it was a testament to the pivotal role newspapers continue to play in regional and rural Australia.
“Newspapers have always played a vital role in the communities they serve and this award recognises the amazing dedication of our team to get the news out and keep the people of the Riverina informed throughout the March floods,” Mr McLoughlin said.
“Whether in print, online or in the social media, The Daily Advertiser remains committed to providing the most comprehensive and informed source of news for our loyal readership.”