Newshub takes out Voyager Media Awards for best coverage of major event, best reporting social issues

Newshub's Investigations Reporter Michael Morrah, The Hui host Mihingarangi Forbes and Newshub's National Correspondent Patrick Gower.
Newshub's Investigations Reporter Michael Morrah, The Hui host Mihingarangi Forbes and Newshub's National Correspondent Patrick Gower. Photo credit: Newshub

Newshub has taken out a range of categories at the 2021 Voyager Media Awards, including best coverage of a major event for the COVID-19 crisis.

Hundreds of people gathered at the Auckland Town Hall on Friday night to honour the best journalism of the past year.

In the hotly contested category Best Coverage of a Major News Event, Newshub with investigations reporter Michael Morrah clinched the top prize for coverage of the COVID-19 crisis.

The judges noted in their comments that 2020 had been "a tough year to be a journalist", but Morrah had risen to the challenge.

"With trust in Government at record levels, holding power to account took a great deal of judgement and resolve. The winning entry had to preserve the traditional role of journalism as society's conscience while engaging constructively with this new context. Beyond that, journalists - and indeed all New Zealanders - were being confronted with a pandemic, the magnitude of which we'd never seen before. 

"Michael Morrah of Newshub presented a series of reports revealing a dire lack of border worker testing, issues with PPE, and shortages of required medical equipment. Through the tenacity, clarity and quality of his reporting, Michael Morrah made New Zealand's response to COVID-19 stronger. This is a significant achievement, and the reason we have selected him as the winner from a very impressive field."

Newshub's other award went to national correspondent Patrick Gower for Best Reporting - Social Issues, including health and education.

He was commended for his reporting on the meth crisis and Trikafta. 

Mihingarangi Forbes from The Hui, which airs on Three and, took out the Best Reporting - Māori Affairs category, with the judges making note of her stories about Jamie Kaiwai, who went missing from Tolaga Bay in October 2019. 

"Mihingarangi's fearless storytelling married with high production value puts her in a league of her own," the judges said. 

"Her investigation into missing Uawa woman Jamie Kaiwai not only gave a powerful voice to the marginalised, it exposed failings of justice and expectations of the public service. Mihi's equally compelling report on Taekwondo world champion Janae Whakarau told an all too familiar tale of abuse of authority and sexual indecency towards a minor, but in a way that helped restore mana to the very courageous Janae. Koia kei a koe e Mihi."

Newshub, which is owned by Discovery, also placed runner up in three categories including Broadcast Reporter of the Year for political editor Tova O'Brien.

The judges placed particular emphasis on her post-election interview with former Advance New Zealand co-leader Jami-Lee Ross which went viral online.

"The impact - local and global - of Tova's interview with outgoing MP Jami-Lee Ross can't be underestimated," the judges said. 

"It struck a chord worldwide, and within the world of journalism, at a time when misinformation itself had become so insidious. Tova reminded broadcasters what their job is."

The Newshub Late team was runner up for Best Breaking News Video for the Auckland August lockdown, while the Newshub design team came second for Best Artist/Graphic Design for the 2020 New Zealand election.