COSMOS Editor Named Higher Education Journalist of the Year

Luna Media Press Release | 2 March 2011


ELIZABETH Finkel, a contributing editor of COSMOS magazine, has been named the Higher Education Journalist of the Year for 2011.


The prestigious national award, which is conducted in conjunction with the National Press Club in Canberra, was for her story "The Trouble With Genes", dealing with the groundbreaking research undertaken by the University of Queensland’s Professor John Mattick.


National Press Club president and chairman of the judging panel, Laurie Wilson said, “Elizabeth’s story displayed all the hallmarks of outstanding journalism – she tackled an extremely complex topic, translated it into layman’s language and turned into a great story.”


"The Trouble With Genes" traces John Mattick’s quest to decode genetic material and translate what was once considered ‘junk DNA’, something which Finkel says “puts him way ahead of the curve”.


“We know he is leading the scientific world with his ideas and we really ought to be writing about them,” says Finkel, who herself trained as a geneticist, “but it is difficult to understand what he has discovered – one seems to require degrees in both computing and genetics.”


The Higher Education Awards are judged in two categories, each with awards for print and broadcast. The Journalist of the Year is selected from the category winners and wins a $10,000 study tour funded by Universities Australia.


The two Higher Education prizes make it a total of 44 awards and commendations won by COSMOS since it was launched in 2005.


The judges were Laurie Wilson, President of the National Press Club; Dr Matthew Ricketson, author and former journalist who is now professor of journalism at the University of Canberra; Misha Schubert, National Press Club Vice-President and political reporter for The Age; and Malcolm Colless, journalist, media consultant and former director of News Ltd.


Awards were presented by Peter Coaldrake, chairman of Universities Australia and Vice-Chancellor of Queensland University of Technology.


The full list of winners and commendations appears below:


Category 1: Award for excellence in communicating knowledge of Australia’s university sector

  • WINNER - PRINT: John Ross, Campus Review - “Death by a Thousand Cuts”

  • Special commendation - print: Sarah Jane Collins, The Age - “Foreign Students in Retreat”

  • Special commendation - print: Dinah Arndt, The Examiner - “Trouble at School”


Category 2: Award for excellence in communicating research and innovation, teaching and learning, equity and access, social inclusion or Indigenous education issues

  • WINNER - PRINT: Elizabeth Finkel, COSMOS magazine - “The Trouble With Genes”

  • Special commendation - print: Bernard Lane, The Australian - “Rudd’s ANU China Centre Puts Noses Out of Joint”

  • WINNER - BROADCAST: Rebecca Baillie, ABC TV 7.30 REPORT - “Indigenous Doctors”

Overall winner:

  • WINNER, HIGHER EDUCATION JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR: Elizabeth Finkel, COSMOS magazine

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