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2017 Rural Media Award Winners Announced (Dec 2017)

From record numbers of outstanding entries, News Corp’s Rural Editor at The Advertiser, Belinda Willis and News Corp photographer Matt Turner have taken home the major prizes at the 2017 Telstra & Rural Business Support Rural Media Awards.

Belinda Willis is currently The Advertiser Newspaper’s Rural Editor, overseeing the coverage of issues affecting rural businesses and communities across the state. Her journalistic career spans more than 20 years and includes stints with the BBC, Discovery Networks and the North West Evening Mail in England, the former Times Tribune newspaper in California and with a former Australian Federal Environment Minister.

Matt Turner has had extensive photographic experience, initially working freelance with the Stock Journal, The Australian, The Sydney Telegraph & Getty Images before returning to Adelaide in 2003 to join News Corp Australia. Since then he has worked with The Advertiser, SA Weekend Magazine and Nationally, covering a wide and varied range of major and every day events.

For a full listing of results, click here


Entries now open for 2017 Rural Media Awards (Sept 2017)

Entries are now open for RMSA's 2017 Telstra & Rural Business Support Rural Media Awards for rural journalists and photographers.

These prestigious annual awards carry significant peer recognition and in 2017, offer a total of $7,500 in prize money plus trophies. Individual awards will be given to the best journalists in print, radio, television and online media and regional print and photojournalism awards with significant prize money is being offered for each category. Winners of the four specialist awards will then compete for the overall 2017 Telstra & RBS Rural Journalist of the Year Award, carrying an additional $1,000 in prize money.

Three separate awards will also be offered for photography, with individual prizes for portfolios of work relating to agricultural production, people, and nature and landscape. The winner of each category will receive $500. Winners of the three specialist awards will then compete for the major 2017 Telstra & RBS Rural Photographer of the Year Award, carrying an additional $1,000 in prize money.

Once again, the Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society of SA Inc is also sponsoring awards for the Best Published Story ($500) about the 2017 Adelaide Show and the Best Photograph ($500) related to the 2017 Adelaide Show.

Winners from the competitions will represent South Australia in a series of national awards run by the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists (ACAJ), which selects finalists for the highly regarded international Star Prize. The 2017 Telstra & Rural Business Support Rural Media Awards are for work published or broadcast between 1st November 2016 and 31st October 2017.

>> Click here to download Rural Journalist Entry Form

>> Click here to download Rural Photographer Entry Form



Leigh Radford - Icon of Rural Media moves on (August 2017)

After a 30 year career working for ABC Rural, Adelaide based National Head of Rural & Regional programs, Leigh Radford has taken up the opportunity to further his interests outside of the national broadcaster.

Recognised as one of ABC Rural’s most awarded broadcasters, Leigh was the inaugural Telstra South Australian Rural Journalist of the Year in 1996 and has been honoured with the Dalgety Award for Excellence in Rural Journalism as well as various Landcare Awards.

Life behind the microphone assisting rural & regional communities - Leigh Radford’s true passion

In recognition of his exceptional service and commitment to rural and regional communities, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.  As a sign of the esteem in which Leigh Radford is held locally, Rural Media South Australia inducted him to the honoured status Rural Media Icon last December.

Leigh Radford was an integral component of a four-generation long dynasty of the Radford family’s involvement in the media.  He was the most senior member of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s executive management team to have ever been based in Adelaide and managed the largest rural media broadcast group in the world, including oversight of the longest continually running rural broadcast program ever seen.

His management of the ABC rural broadcast group and the Country Hour was the envy of every country with an interest in agricultural communication.  In particular, Leigh was responsible for shaping the careers of many of today’s top rural journalists, including a number who went on to become internationally renowned Foreign Correspondents.

In particular, Leigh Radford has made his mark on the international stage himself, unselfishly representing the entire Australian rural media sector, private and Government, as the Australian delegate to the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists – travelling overseas to represent our national interest, convening the judging panel of the world broadcast rural media awards and influencing rural media policy internationally.

Leigh Radford has been described by many as being extremely ethical in his dealings with all people, self-effacing, modest and willing to sacrifice personal gain in favour of benefit to his organisation


Caroline Winter stars at SA Media Awards (June 2017)

Former ABC SA Country Hour Executive Producer and Presenter, Caroline Winter recently took out the ‘Best Radio Broadcaster’ and ‘Best Radio News/Current Affairs/Feature’ award at the SA Media Awards

In announcing Caroline as South Australia’s ‘Best Radio Broadcaster’, the judging panel recognised her as being a genuine storyteller.  It emphasised that with her naturally engaging style and crafty use of the medium, Caroline produced compelling stories that humanised the issues of the day.

Most importantly, the judging panel credited Caroline as a broadcaster who provided a voice to South Australians dealing with the most difficult of situations, clearly earning the trust of those who opened up to her.

When announcing her win in the Radio News/Current Affairs/Feature Award’ for the ABC PM Radio story, ‘Statewide Blackout’ the judging panel said Caroline’s story was a brilliant example of good old fashioned shoe leather reporting that took listeners into the heart of South Australia’s recent electricity blackout.

It felt that Caroline could have opted out of this story at any time, but instead took it solely upon herself to drive into the blackout and find compelling audio to illustrate the absurdity of a state without power.  Finding herself under immense deadline pressure, Caroline’s tight scripting combined with great talent produced an award winning story.

Also at the same awards ceremony, the ‘Best Rural/Regional Journalist Award’ was won jointly by the ABC South East team of Kate Hill, Selina Green, Courtney Howe and Alexia Atwood.  Their story, ‘Ambulance cover backlash’ demonstrated what could be achieved when newsroom journalists work together to cover a story.  The ABC South East team identified a political decision that would impact thousands of residents in their community and persisted in covering the topic, speaking to a wide range of stakeholders and members of the community as the issue evolved over time.

The extensive coverage played a key role in the public debate of this issue and no doubt helped influence policymakers who eventually amended a controversial decision.

One of the finalists in this ‘Best Rural/Regional Journalist Award’ category was Peri Strathearn from the Murray Valley Standard.  Peri had previously won Rural Media SA’s ‘Best Regional Rural Journalist Award’ in 2015 and 2016.

Not a great shot after a heavy night for the photographer,
but an on-the-night view of Caroline Winter’s various awards.


RMSA donation to Nepal Appeal brings results (April 2017)

A financial donation by Rural Media South Australia to the Nepal Earthquake Relief Appeal in 2015 has assisted in the process of resurrecting that country’s agricultural sector.

RMSA’s contribution was made as part of an initiative developed by the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists and facilitated in this country by the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists.  Initial results of the donation included a school agricultural training centre, providing potential to create a long-term legacy for the rural sector of Nepal.

While nearly 80% of Nepal’s population depended upon subsistence farming for their livelihoods, the country’s agricultural industry was devastated by the earthquake.  Investment in agriculture, enabling people to farm successfully again, was one of the main objectives of the fundraising project.

The project supported by RMSA’s donation looked at two principal areas of assistance.

The first was an income generation and skills-learning programme for the Triratna community school in the Lalitpur region.  This provided pupils with the basic agricultural skills and knowledge that would allow them to gain meaningful employment after completion of their schooling.

Using empty land at the school premises, a kitchen garden was created and a range of vegetables grown.  These were used in the school’s ‘home stay’, run by the cooperative to generate income for local social work and were also sold to school staff and parents.  The profits funded further school projects.

A second project focused on microcredit, also in the Lalitpur region.  Laligurnas Mahila Samuha was a women’s group in Thulopukhari that had just begun to invest in agriculture by saving a small amount of money within their group.  Each member had been saving 100 rupees (about $1.36) per person per month, the plan being to pool these amounts and distribute the sum as loans.

However, with a top-up loan from the fundraising appeal, twelve women in the group were each able to initiate their own farming project, ranging from raising goats, pigs, or poultry, to growing vegetables or tomatoes.  To date, the group has not only been able to save money in buying less food from the market, but they have also been able to sell their excess products.  As part of the funding conditions, the money raised from these sales also allowed their children to go to school, ensuring the children’s long term education.

Clearing the land at Triratna school


Maya Nepali, with her family and the goats she bought using the microcredit loan


Upcoming meetings

Rural Media South Australia aims to provide a genuine focus for rural issues, combined with a forum for networking between the highest levels of agribusiness, government, media and rural producers.

Members and guests are encouraged to note the following dates in their diaries:

2019 Meetings

Thursday 5 September 2019


2019 RMSA Royal Show Breakfast
(Breakfast 7.00 am)
(Members Banquet Room, Adelaide Showground, Wayville)