Investigative journalism prize won by Massey student

For a fourth straight year, a Massey postgraduate journalism student has won the national prize for young investigative journalists in New Zealand.

Audrey Seaman, who studied Massey’s Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism and Master of Journalism, has been named the winner of the $1000 Bruce Jesson Emerging Journalism award for 2016.

Audrey wrote her article as part of her studies at Massey.

Her win means Massey students have won the prize in every one of the past four years, and six times in the award’s eight-year history.

Audrey’s article, published in The Dominion Post, was on the support offered to members and families of the New Zealand military, especially those involved in war-zone deployments.

The story raised important questions about the quality of care Kiwi military personnel and their families receive from pre-deployment to the return home.

The judges said Audrey’s article won in a field of strong entries.

“The story engages the reader from the opening line and fully examines all the questions which would be raised in the reader’s mind.

“Her article is a valuable contribution to public debate.

“It is hoped that it may encourage the Defence Force to improve support for returning military personnel in the future.”

A US international student, Audrey graduated from a US military university before coming to New Zealand.

“The military lifestyle hits close to home for me,” she said. “I’ve watched loved ones say goodbyes for long-term deployments.”

Audrey was intrigued by media coverage of the NZ Defence Force’s deployment of troops to Camp Taji in Iraq.

“I immediately thought of the 143 families who were facing new challenges with this deployment, and wanted to see what the Defence Force was doing to keep their families healthy and happy.”

Audrey appreciated the opportunity to tell the servicepeople’s stories.

“There was even greater reward when other Defence Force personnel and RSA support staff thanked me for writing about what they felt was an important issue, with challenges that needed sincere and immediate focus.”

Audrey thanked Massey for supporting her work.

“I was grateful for the encouragement to write on a topic I was passionate about, and for the time devoted for crafting something both meaningful and beautiful.”

She also thanked the Bruce Jesson Foundation, which runs the award.

“I feel privileged to be part of this award that acknowledges creative and informed journalism on issues that matter.”

Audrey has now returned to the US to further her career.

The Bruce Jesson Emerging Journalism prize honours the late journalist Bruce Jesson.

The judges include journalists and academics.

You can read about the earlier Bruce Jesson winners here

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