Newshub, Lisette Reymer, Karen Rutherford win at 2023 Voyager Media Awards

Lisette Reymer and Karen Rutherford have won at the 50th annual New Zealand Media Awards.
Lisette Reymer and Karen Rutherford have won at the 50th annual New Zealand Media Awards. Photo credit: Newshub.

Newshub's coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has won a top honour at the 2023 Voyager Media Awards and the judges also recognised Europe correspondent Lisette Reymer with a second award for her work on the ground there.

The Russia-Ukraine war coverage won the Best Coverage of a Major News Event, with judges saying Reymer and camera operator Daniel Pannett provided "superb" storytelling.

"I'm exceptionally proud Newshub has been recognised for our coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine," said Sarah Bristow, Director of News at Warner Bros Discovery ANZ.

"Lisette Reymer and Daniel Pannett in particular have shown an unwavering dedication to telling this important story through a New Zealand lens. Their coverage showed our audiences the human faces of this war and is utterly deserving of this accolade."

The judging panel said: "Lisette Reymer and Daniel Pannett gave Kiwis something they were unable to get from any other New Zealand newsroom - world-class, regular, on-the-ground coverage of the most globally consequential event of 2022.

"The storytelling was superb, the camerawork beautiful and the dogged determination shown to overcome immense logistical difficulties and repeatedly revisit some of the most war-torn parts of Ukraine made this entry shine in a highly competitive category."

Lisette Reymer and Daniel Pannett in Ukraine.
Lisette Reymer and Daniel Pannett in Ukraine. Photo credit: Newshub.

Reymer also won the Best Reporting - General category, with the judges commending her for being "one the first reporters on the ground for a New Zealand organisation and her very personal account of the realities of war made her stories powerful and compelling".

"Her calm and genuine approach to reporting allowed the story to do the talking rather than over-hyping it. Her commitment (and that of Discovery/Newshub) to telling the story is a credit to them both."

Newshub's Karen Rutherford was named Regional Journalist of the Year, with the judges singling out her "outstanding portfolio" of work on the likes of the Enchanter tragedy and the Marakopa missing father story.

"This reporter proved you don't have to be based in a main centre to get big stories," the judges said.

"Karen Rutherford used her investigative skills and local contacts in the Waikato to break stories which captured not only local but national attention. From tracking down the survivors of the Enchanter sinking, finding the ex-wife of the Marakopa disappearing father, changing a government decision to close a special school, to a searing expose of hellish conditions in Hamilton's emergency housing, hers was an outstanding portfolio.

Bristow said: "Karen is a brilliant journalist who has a dogged determination and an amazing ability to gain the trust of people - allowing them to feel comfortable to open up and share their stories. This award is tremendous recognition of her work."

Newshub's Investigations Correspondent Michael Morrah was named runner-up in the Broadcast Reporter of the Year - News, with the judges commenting on his "outstanding body of investigative work."

The Huis's Mihingarangi Forbes and D'Angelo Martin have won at the 2023 Voyager Media Awards.
Mihingarangi Forbes; D'Angelo Martin. Photo credit: Warner Bros. Discovery

Former The Hui presenter Mihingarangi Forbes won the prestigious Te Tohu Kairangi Award at the ceremony. 

"Mihi provides a master class in interviewing and story telling with a level of mātauranga Māori that navigates some very weighty subjects. Her perseverance and determination to 'tell the story' adds to the viewers' engagement," the judges said.

The Hui's D'Angelo Martin also took out the award for Best Junior Reporter, with the judges commending "his passion for storytelling".

"D'Angelo Martin's work stood out in a crowded field not only because he upholds the core missions of journalism - holding the powerful to account and giving voice to the seldom-heard - but also because his passion for storytelling and his manaakitanga shine through," they said.

The awards were handed out at a black tie event at The Great Room at Cordis, Auckland on Saturday night.

There was a total of 279 finalists across 64 awards selected by more than 100 judges.

A list of all winners along with accompanying judges' comments can be viewed on the official News Publishers' Association website.