Cowra Guardian Sports journalist Damien Johnson has been awarded the 2012 Sir Harry Budd Memorial Award for Best Sports Story.
The award, which recognises outstanding journalism, is open to all journalists employed by Fairfax Media regional and agricultural non-daily newspapers throughout Australia.
The award was established in 1981 by the widow and family of Sir Harry Budd to honour his life and work as a prominent and influential editor, businessman and parliamentarian.
Damien started his career as a sports writer with the Cowra Guardian only last year - his first official ‘journo’ gig.
Although a relative newcomer to the professional ranks of journalism, Damien’s wealth of experience as a former high school PDHPE teacher and father of a very active family has provided more than enough base to launch his new career.
Man in the Middle, the story for which he won this year’s Harry Budd award, appealed as something a little different - a priest who has spent more than 20 years as a Rugby League referee.
It certainly caught the judges’ eye and has won him this year’s title.
“Being the recipient of such a prestigious award while my career is in its infancy is a pleasant surprise,” Damien said.
“It gives me some positive reinforcement that some of what I’m doing is good and provides encouragement to continue honing the skills of the job.
“My thanks to former managing editor of the Cowra Guardian Andrew Fisher for his nomination of the story and to Father Laurie Beath who was a tremendously open and honest subject.”
The winners of the other categories in this year’s Sir Harry Budd Award were Best issues coverage and overall winner:Kandos Cement Plant Closure, Darren Snyder, Mudgee Guardian; Best News Story: Glenn Ellard, South Coast Register; Best Rural Story: Annie Hesse, Katherine Times and Best Sport Story: Damien Johnson, Cowra Guardian.
If you would like to re-visit Damien’s award-winning story, follow our link: www.cowraguardian.com.au/