Queensland Country Life’s Sally Cripps has been awarded the prestigious 2017 LGAQ Bean Lockyer Ticehurst award for excellence in regional journalism at an awards evening in Gladstone tonight (Monday).
Ms Cripps was awarded the top gong for a series of stories on the battle by graziers and landowners to stop a Defence Department plan to forcibly acquire their properties.
Her coverage of the landowners’ plight, involving plans to expand military training areas for Singaporean troops gained national attention and ultimately helped to force a Defence Department backdown.
Local Government Association of Queensland President Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said Ms Cripps’ coverage was pivotal in ensuring the landowners’ concerns were heeded.
“Sally is one most experienced and well-connected journalists working in regional Australia and all of her skills were on show with this story,’’ he said.
“She is a deserving winner of this award, which is all about using persistence and commitment to the craft of journalism to highlight the issues affecting regional Queensland.”
The award, which comes with a $15,000 prize, commemorates the work of John Bean, Paul Lockyer and Gary Ticehurst, a deeply respected media crew who died in tragic circumstances in 2011.
Ms Cripps dedicated the award to her friend and former local government colleague, the late Winton Mayor Butch Lenton who passed away earlier this month.
“In days before Butch’s passing I got to speak with him and hear how much the public values the work we do in highlighting regional issues,” Ms Cripps said.
“I’ll keep on working in the years ahead with his encouragement in my ears. I am so grateful to the Queensland Country Life in allowing me to follow the story, and to the people of Charters Towers and Marlborough for helping us tell their story.”
The LGAQ issues an award for excellence in regional journalism and to encourage other journalists to adopt the doggedness and professionalism that Bean, Lockyer and Ticehurst show in pursuing their craft.