Ruth Keber with her award certificateRuth Keber with her award certificate

Massey student wins top investigative journalism prize…again

31 October 2013

Massey journalism student Ruth Keber is the co-winner of this year’s Bruce Jesson Emerging Journalism award for investigative journalism.

Her success means Massey students have won the annual prize three times since the award’s inception in 2009.

Ruth won for her article “The New Maori Muslims”, published in North & South magazine.

Her article looked at Maori converting to the Islamic faith, focussing on Maori living in Hastings.

As well as researching and writing the piece, Ruth took all the accompanying photographs.

The Bruce Jesson Foundation awards the $1000 prize each year to high quality investigative work undertaken by journalism students.

The foundation’s chair, Sir Edmund Thomas, is a Distinguished Fellow at the University of Auckland’s Law School.

He said Ruth’s entry admirably met the award’s criteria of critical, informed, analytical and creative journalism.

“The subject, research and engaging writing were the key to winning the award.

“One judge opined, ‘It was a great story well told.’”

Ruth said winning the award “was an incredible honour”.

The idea for the article had long been with her.

“I put my feelers out to the Islamic community within New Zealand and a few people came back to me.

“One in particular - a woman in Hastings - said to me, ‘Ruth, if you come to Hastings, boy, do I have some stories for you.’

“I took a chance, drove the six hours there and got the story.”

Dr James Hollings leads the investigative-journalism module on Massey’s postgraduate journalism course.

Ruth paid tribute to Dr Hollings.

“Without his support and encouragement - even long after the course finished - I would not have been able to get the story to the standard it was in the end.” 

Ruth’s win was announced at a ceremony at Auckland University on October 30.

Massey students also won the prize in 2010 and 2009.

Ruth completed the Massey course in 2012 and has been travelling overseas since.

She recently returned to New Zealand to embark on her journalism career.

The high quality of entries this year meant the top prize was shared by Ruth and a journalism student from the WITT course.

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