TEARS OF JOY: Border Mail recognises year of talent

Click or flick across to see the best news photographs for this year. 

WHEN it came to Wang­aratta Council, it was clear from the outset that it could all end in tears — and Border Mail journalist David Johnston was there every moment the drama unfolded.

“The personalities, the conflicts were all so apparent from the start,” Johnston said.

“There were 150 more stories I could have done.”

Johnston, who started at the paper almost 20 years ago, was one of six of the Border Mail team to be recognised for their work yesterday.

He received the T.H Mott award for excellence in journalism for his coverage of local government on the Border and across the North East, particularly Wang­aratta Council’s tumultuous year.

Editor Di Thomas said that, throughout the story, “David has always been ahead of the game”.

“His stories have prompted coverage from other local media outlets, including national media,” she said.

“His has been an outstanding effort in getting to the nub of the dispute and the views of the parties involved.”

Johnston started his career at the Bairnsdale Advertiser before moving on to the Ballarat Courier.

He joined The Border Mail team in 1995 as a sports reporter covering the Ovens and Murray Football League and local horse racing — and to this day, he’s not missed an Albury Cup.

He was later editor of the Mid-Week Express until it closed at the end of last year, which presented a good opportunity to get stuck back into general news reporting.

What keeps him inspired is simple: “Finding the next good story”.

Meanwhile Tara Goonan was awarded the Alex Massey memorial photographer of the year award for her selection of news and feature photos.

Goonan, who has been with the paper almost four years after moving to the Border from Melbourne, said it felt “amazing” to win.

“I really didn’t expect it, just because of the standard of photographers here — it could have been anyone,” she said.

“Everybody in the team always comes back with really great images so it lifts the level and makes me want to take better pictures.”

Ben Eyles and Mark Jesser couldn’t be separated for the best news picture.

Company awards were also presented to graphic designer Ashini Wijayaneththi and advertising representative Natalie Beddoes.

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