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MediaApril 14, 2023

Weird: The Spinoff only outlet nominated for Voyager Media Awards

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Here’s all our 14 nominations and what they were for.

Journalists around the country flocked to the Newspaper Publishers’ Association website this morning to learn that The Spinoff is the only outlet nominated* for Voyager Media Awards in 2023, with 14 nominations across the 64 award categories.

In a genuine win for all, our editorial work is heavily supported by our Spinoff members, and these nominations represent just a fraction of the work that we’ve been able to do thanks to that support. If you appreciate the work we do, become a member today.

Feature writer of the year (longform) and best reporting (lifestyle): Alex Casey

Senior staff writer Alex Casey has been nominated not once but twice. One of those nominations is for feature writer of the year (longform) for her stories on music teacher David Adlam’s relationships with his students and her cracking yarn on a luxury ham that showed up in a flax bush in Hobsonville.

The other nom, for best reporting (lifestyle), is for her stories on the rise of vape waste in New Zealand, the dangers of cheap piercings, and the cunning ways Chemist Warehouse gets customers to come inside and keep buying.

Junior feature writer of the year: Shanti Mathias

Staff writer Shanti Mathias has been with The Spinoff for a little more than a year and has made excellent use of that time. Her nomination for junior feature writer of the year is thanks to a varied portfolio that includes the Chatham Islands’ access to high speed internet, the dangers of light pollution and the rising costs of outsourced, privatised healthcare.

Best first person essay: Emma Espiner

“Sometimes the television news has an update on our hospital before the communications team sends an update to my inbox announcing the latest “this is fine” angle on the pandemic. I get home from work and try to massage my N-95 ravaged face back into its normal shape and see Michael Morrah standing outside the door I just exited on the 6pm news. People send me messages saying they’re thinking of me on the frontline, and I feel like a fraud because this sucks for everyone, and we aren’t routinely thanking anyone else for their sacrifice, for just doing their job, or simply surviving while the world disintegrates around them.”

Best first person essay: Stacy Gregg

“Back then, we lived on the other river, on Waikato Esplanade. Location is important in Ngāruawāhia because it speaks to who you are. We were the Māoris from the town side – the Pākehā side. The other side of the river where Tūrangawaewae stood, formidable and imposing, was where the real Māoris lived. They were the ones who knew tikanga, spoke the language and lived the culture.

The disconnect between urban Māori and the marae is often spoken of. What is less recognised is the separation that happens in a small town between those Māori who connect to their marae and those who do not. We were right there, right next to what should have been our place too, but we knew it wasn’t ours. There was quite literally a river dividing us.”

Best reviewer: Claire Mabey

Our esteemed books editor Claire Mabey is nominated for her reviews of James Norcliffe’s take on the frog prince fairytale, Brannavan Gnanalingam’s thriller Slow Down, You’re Here, and Ruby Tui’s memoir Straight Up.

Best feature writing (general), best sports journalist, best opinion writing: Madeleine Chapman

A haul for editor Madeleine Chapman who snagged three nominations. Her nomination for best feature writing (general) is for her feature on Heath Davis, the first openly gay Black Cap.

Her portfolio for best sports journalist includes that Heath Davis feature as well as a reflection on the Rugby World Cup semi-final, Joanah Ngah-Woo’s winning hand, and her obituary of basketball coach Kenny McFadden.

The opinion writing nomination is thanks to this piece about Voices For Freedom, this one about the Sydney Morning Herald outing Rebel Wilson, this one about private schools and this one about the NZ Rugby board.

Best sports journalist, best opinion writing: Dylan Cleaver (shared with The Bounce)

Dylan Cleaver, who runs the excellent Substack newsletter The Bounce, is nominated for best sports journalist as well as best opinion writing alongside Chapman. His pieces for us in the past year include an evocative feature on All Black Carl Hayman’s struggle with early-onset dementiathe death of Siobhan Callaghan and the shift by Auckland schools away from broadcasting rugby games.

Best reporting (arts and culture): Sam Brooks

Staff feature writer Sam Brooks is nominated for his stories on the media firestorm that erupted around Creative New Zealand’s decision not to fund the Shakspeare Globe Centre, a follow-up story on the feedback CNZ gave regarding that decision and a story on what Wayne Brown’s cuts would mean for arts and culture in Auckland.

Best community journalist: Justin Latif

Former South Auckland reporter and current contributing writer Justin Latif received another nomination for best community journalist after winning the award in 2022. His portfolio for The Spinoff last year includes stories on food banks in South Auckland, siren battles and fears about gentrification in Māngere.

Best artist/graphic design: Toby Morris

Toby Morris receives a nomination for best artist/graphic design for his work on two Side Eye comics (We Destroyed Mountains and The Table) as well as this moving (literally) feature on how our oceans connect us.

*Other media outlets nominated include NZME (50), Stuff (81), and Newsroom (21). You can find a full list of nominees here – congratulations to all.

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