17 Oct 2017
Recent New Zealand Broadcasting School (NZBS) graduate Alexa Cook took home five awards from the NZ Agricultural Journalism awards last weekend, including the top award from The Ministry for Primary Industries for excellence in agricultural journalism.
RNZ Rural reporter Alexa Cook with her swag of five awards from the NZ Agricultural Journalism awards
The judges were particularly impressed with a story about the impact of the Kaikoura earthquakes on one of the country’s most isolated stations, Muzzle Station. Alexa filed the story for her employer Radio New Zealand (RNZ) after being flown part of the way to the station, then jumping on a horse and joining the station muster for a week.
“I lived in the mustering hut with the family and shepherds, spent each day working on horseback with them and getting the story. This story was a lot of fun and a lot of hard work!” she said.
To capture video for the RNZ website for Mustering Courage, Alexa strapped a phone to a selfie stick and shot footage from the back of a horse.
Her rural upbringing comes in handy when she is out in the field. Alexa grew up on a farm in Central Hawkes Bay, where her parents still live. While studying communications at Massey University she rode horses in competitions and then at NZBS she covered as many rural stories as possible.
An internship with RNZ just two years ago then led to a full-time job as a rural reporter. “I love the variety of my job at RNZ and the excitement of presenting live radio daily. Each day is different. I get to talk to and meet really fascinating and clever people - and see a lot of kiwi ingenuity! RNZ is quick to support its journalists' story ideas, and with many different programmes there are plenty of options for producing different types of stories.”
While many stories are produced from Wellington, there is plenty of travel to rural and often spectacular regions of New Zealand “to cover events such as the World Shearing Championships in Invercargill this year, the National Fieldays in Hamilton and the cattle disease in South Canterbury” to name a few.
Alexa puts her success down to the training she received at NZBS at Ara (then CPIT). "Thank you to The New Zealand Broadcasting School and all the tutors for delivering such a great degree; it set me up well for a career in journalism and gave me the skills I needed."
The NZ Agricultural Journalism awards are run by the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators. Alexa won: The Ministry for Primary Industries Rongo Award for Excellence in Agricultural Journalism, Federated Farmers Broadcast Journalism Award, Alliance Group Red Meat Industry Journalism Award, AgResearch Science Writers Award and the Rural Women New Zealand Rural Connectivity Award.
Watch: Mustering Courage RNZ
Read: Alexa’s story A high country way of life for RNZ.
Read more: The NZ Agricultural Journalism awards
NZBS: Find information here