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NBR chief reporter Duncan Bridgeman won Best Business Reporter at the Canon Media Awards held in Auckland Friday night, edging out fellow finalists David Fisher (NZ Herald) and Matt Nippert (Fairfax Business Bureau).
Veteran business journalist and NZ Herald columnist Fran O'Sullivan called the latest addition to Mr Bridgeman's trophy cabinet "well deserved."
The past year has seen Mr Bridgeman — often rumoured to be a formative influence on mysterious NBR contributor "Shoeshine" — entered a portfolio included Mainzeal’s billionaire American pallbearers revealed, Hanover’s Great American deal, and his series on Albany Heights, a complex, controversial property deal on Auckland's North Shore.
The evening also saw NBR reporter David Williams named a finalist for Best Investigation for his series on collapsed mortgage fund manager LM Investment. Mr Williams was Highly Commended in the category.
Press Photographer of the Year - Senior: Richard Robinson, NZ Herald (all photographry winner portfolio images courtesy Canon; click to zoom).
Elsewhere, the best blog category returned after a three-year absence. Cameron Slater won the award for Whaleoil, beating fellow finalists left wing blogger Giovanni Tiso and the Listener's Toby Manhire. The judge — NBR alumus Deborah Hill Cone — praised what she called Mr Slater's old-fashioned shoe leather reporting in breaking the story of Auckland Mayor Len Brown's affair with Bevan Chaung, which in turn led to questions over freebies and upgrades for Mr Brown at Sky City as it lobbied for an expanded convention centre, and other hotels.
Best blogger Cameron Slater near the start of a night where he would meet the best — or worst — expectations, depending on your Whaleoil tolerance. "Grace and humility ... sound remarkably like hooker's names," he said during his acceptance speech, as the audience began to boo and jeer. (Chris Keall)
Never one to shrink from his reputation for controversy and aggro, Mr Slater used his acceptance speech to take digs at the NZ Herald's David Fisher (a sparring partner on Twitter) and Fairfax's Andrea Vance (who accused him of plagiarism, he says). The humour was met by a mix of cheers, boos and loud heckling from Mr Fisher.
Some were appaled by what they saw as a graceless speech (judge for yourself by listening to a 90-second clip here). Others sprang to Mr Slater's defence. Herald on Sunday editor Miriyana Alexander said mainstream media were being snobby. "He did break the story of the year," she tweeted.
Best portrait: Hannah Johnston, Getty.
Another pointed moment game as Herald editor-in-chief Tim Murphy used his speech for the NZ Herald's 150th anniversary special recognition award to salute the special role of photographers — a reference that resonated with a crowd keenly aware that Herald publisher APN's main rival, Fairfax, has just laid off 80 staff across the Tasman, most of them lensmen. Photo agency Getty will fill the gap.
Fairfax's Andrea Vance (Dominion Post, Stuff) won the political reporter category and reporter of the year for breaking the story about the GCSB's illegal spying on 80 New Zealanders. She said her father was a reporter in Northern Ireland during the troubles. For him, protecting sources was a matter of life or death. She had faced very different challenges as the government checked out her social media profile, and snoop on her communications and swipe card use (Parliamentary Service head Geoff Thorn resigned over the revelations that his agency had improperly handed over information about Ms Vance to a ministerial inquiry into alleged leaks by Peter Dunne).
Ms Vance will now be out of the government's hair, at least for three months. She also won the $20,000 Wolfson Fellowship to study at Cambridge University for a term. The time will be used to investigate new media, social media and database journalism, and the challenge of protecting sources in the digital age.
Best sports picture: Ian McGregor, The Press
An expanded focus on new media included the new multimedia story telling category, which judge Peter Griffin awarded to Stuff's lostplane.co.nz.
In the major publication awards, newspaper of the year (30,000+) was won by the DomPost; Metro picked up best newsstand magazine; the Weekend Herald took best weekly; Yahoo NZ best website and Stuff best news site.
See full results here.
Best feature photo: Stephen Parker, Rotorua Daily Post
News photo of the year: Craig Simcox, the Dominion Post
Press Photographer of the Year - Junior: Alden Williams, Nelson Mail
Best Photo Essay or Slideshow: Brett Phibbs, NZ Herald
Vistors from Hawke's Bay
Best ink: Junior Reporter of the Year: Sam Boyer, The Dominion Post (now with the NZ Herald)
More photos in NBR People Scene here.