Award cel­e­brates fo­cus on older per­sons

Central Leader - - News -

Cen­tral Leader re­porter Scott Mor­gan and pho­tog­ra­pher Ja­son Ox­en­ham took out top hon­ours in the in­au­gu­ral Age Con­cern Pa­tron’s awards in Welling­ton last week.

At a cer­e­mony to mark In­ter­na­tional Day of Older Per­sons, Scott and Ja­son were given the award for best re­port­ing for a story pub­lished in May on Garth Bri­den, Ian Wal­lace and Lloyd Buck­ing­ham as they pre­pared for the Mon­go­lian Char­ity Rally, a 16,000km driv­ing odyssey through 18 coun­tries.

Age Con­cern’s pa­tron judge Ken Ma­son and a panel se­lected the win­ner from five fi­nal­ists, which had been whit­tled down from more than 70 en­tries.

“Too of­ten, the de­pic­tions of older peo­ple in the me­dia aren’t rep­re­sen­ta­tive of older New Zealan­ders,” says Mr Ma­son.

“Worse, there are great gaps where older peo­ple are not seen in the me­dia at all, and if they’re not in­vis­i­ble, too many older peo­ple are lit­er­ally face­less – they’re shown only from the back or in part.

“The me­dia are both the mir­ror and shapers of so­ci­ety, so we de­cided to cre­ate an award to en­cour­age and re­ward pos­i­tive por­tray­als of older peo­ple.

“Our Pa­tron’s award en­cour­ages and re­wards me­dia de­pic­tions of older peo­ple that chal­lenge neg­a­tive at­ti­tudes.”

The judges say the winning story showed that it’s pos­si­ble to have a great ad­ven­ture at any age.

“It de­picts older peo­ple’s sense of ad­ven­ture and com­rade­ship,” they say.

“An added di­men­sion is that the ad­ven­tur­ers were rais­ing money for char­ity, re­in­forc­ing the al­tru­ism we see in many se­niors.”

Cen­tral Leader ed­i­tor Katherine Forbes says she’s thrilled Scott and Ja­son’s work has been recog­nised, par­tic­u­larly be­cause the sto­ries were nom­i­nated by peo­ple who read the pa­per rather than the jour­nal­ists and pho­tog­ra­phers in­volved.

“We’re al­ways mind­ful that there are so many peo­ple do­ing amaz­ing things in our com­mu­nity and we want to cel­e­brate that no mat­ter how old they are.

“In fact, some of the sto­ries we’ve writ­ten over the years on older peo­ple and their achieve­ments will put a lot of younger peo­ple to shame.”

Mr Ma­son says the judges also wanted to ac­knowl­edge Sub­ur­ban News­pa­pers and its com­mit­ment to older peo­ple.

Of the 26 short­listed en­tries, more than half came from Sub­ur­ban News­pa­pers.

Photo: CRAIG SIM­COX

Winning team: Scott Mor­gan, left, and Ja­son Ox­en­ham cel­e­brate their win at the Age Con­cern Pa­tron’s awards.

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