Fairfax awards top prize to Massey journalism student

Alisa Yong, centre, is congratulated by, from left, Massey journalism lecturers Alan Samson and Cathy Strong, Dominion Post editor Bernadette Courtney and Massey journalism head Grant Hannis. Photo courtesy The Dominion Post.

Alisa Yong, a student on Massey’s Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism, has been awarded the $1000 Fairfax prize for being the top student on the course in 2014.

The annual prize, which Fairfax has funded since 1998, goes to the student who earns the highest marks on the diploma programme.

Dominion Post editor Bernadette Courtney gave Alisa her prize at a ceremony held at the newspaper’s offices.

Ms Courtney knew Alisa from the time she spent at the paper on work experience. 

“It was a competitive class,” Ms Courtney told Alisa. “To come out on top was a real achievement.”

Ms Courtney said all the students were “highly engaged” and that Alisa had done “good stuff” at the paper.

Alisa wrote business stories at The Dominion Post.

She said the work was “challenging, but it was still news writing - finding an angle.”

Alisa now works as a police reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age newspaper.

So far, one of her biggest stories has been about two children who broke in and robbed a local shop.

Alisa is a New Zealander of Malaysian Chinese descent and she won an Asia New Zealand Foundation scholarship to study journalism at Massey.

She wants to stay in print journalism and hopes to get a job at The Dominion Post one day.

Ms Courtney’s final piece of advice to her: “Stay in touch.”

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