A journalist whose coverage helped secure better health services across regional Queensland has been named the winner of one of Queensland’s most significant reporting prizes, the Bean Lockyer Ticehurst Award for Excellence in Regional Journalism.
The Courier-Mail and Sunday Mail health and social affairs reporter Jackie Sinnerton was named winner of the award this evening at the Local Government Association of Queensland’s (LGAQ) 127th Annual Conference in Gladstone.
LGAQ President and Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said this year’s award entries showed journalists continued to tackle issues important to communities in the regions, from the winning health entry, to housing, environment, road safety and industry.
“Jackie’s work is a great reflection of an important issue for rural and regional communities across the state – where access to healthcare remains a primary concern,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“What set it above the other strong entries was it helped – along with other behind-the-scenes voices – effect change, get critical services restored and significantly improve the liveability of communities.
“Jackie should also be congratulated on her long-term commitment to covering the issue of health services in the bush and regional areas.
“In Australia’s most decentralised state, councils and their communities should receive reliable, available health care services.
“Work like Jackie’s continues to highlight concerns and give a voice to those communities.”
Mayor Jamieson also congratulated the other entrants in what was a strong field.
“It’s tremendous to see some smaller organisations entering – and being competitive – as well as major newspapers, radio and online outlets,” Cr Jamieson said.
Sinnerton said she was honoured to have her work recognised with the award and paid tribute to the regional communities that had fought hard for their health services.
“Thank you for this award – it has been an amazing surprise,” Sinnerton said.
“In my years in this job, I have become friends with many people in the regions – doctors, nurses, councillors, community workers and mums – and the one thing that has stuck out for me with all of them is their sheer determination to fight for health care they deserve in their own regions.
“They are amazing.”
About the Award
Cameraman John Bean, journalist Paul Lockyer and chopper pilot Gary Ticehurst were a pioneering storytelling team with the ABC, popular and respected throughout the regional communities where they did their best work. Their tragic deaths in 2011 generated considerable concerns among regional leaders who understood the huge contribution the trio made to ensuring regional Queensland was given a voice, locally and in the offices of decision-makers in the city.
The LGAQ commemorates John, Paul and Gary and their incredibly important work with this annual award, and seeks to encourage journalists to adopt the doggedness and professionalism for which the three were renowned.
Carrying one of the largest cash prizes on offer in Australian journalism, criteria for judging include newsworthiness, incisiveness, public benefit, and impact on the understanding of the issues and challenges facing regional Queensland.
For more information, please contact:
Dan Knowles, Media Advisor
Local Government Association of Queensland