The quality of Notre Dame’s Journalism program has once again been recognised with Tom de Souza receiving the Outstanding Journalism Student Award at the WA Media Awards in October 2016. It is the second consecutive year that a Notre Dame student has taken out this prize.
The final year student claimed the award after submitting a number of outstanding feature articles, published by Fairfax Media across Australia, for the judges’ consideration.
In awarding this significant prize, the judges said Tom’s ability to source original stories with national and international implications sets him apart as “one of Western Australia’s most promising young journalists”.
The judges agreed that Tom displays a passion for his story topic and delves beyond surface judgements to understand issues affecting people from all walks of life.
“de Souza showed maturity in his perspective and storytelling beyond that associated with student reporting, particularly in his profile of a subculture choosing to live in their vehicles and his written exploration of the reliance upon drugs at Indonesia’s Gili Trawangan,” the judges’ comments went on to say.
Recently, Tom spent three months in the Kimberley region of Western Australia working with Karajarri rangers who are responsible for 33,000 square-kilometres of Indigenous Protected Area.
“During that time I was travelling around and seeing a few things in Broome, saw how different people lived their lives which was rewarding. Hopefully this story makes a bit of a difference to their people and their culture so that others can see the good work these rangers are doing,” Tom said.
“It was nice to be able to receive the award. But the biggest reward for me was being able to make a difference to people’s lives and giving a voice to those who might not have one.
“I find people really fascinating as everyone has their unique story to tell. A lot of the times the stories that don’t get told are the best ones. I hope to make the world a more just place one word at a time; that’s what drives me to succeed.
“Studying journalism at Notre Dame has provided me with a really solid foundation so I can grow in my career. I will look back on the time I have spent at Notre Dame with really fond memories.”
In 2015, Notre Dame graduate, Line Stenseth, received the Outstanding Journalism Award – further highlighting the teaching quality and student learning outcomes within the University’s journalism course. According to the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching website (qilt.edu.au), Notre Dame is first in WA for Skills Development, Teaching Quality and Graduate Employment Rate in Communications.
Dr Mignon Shardlow, Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts & Sciences, says the journalism program is delighted that the highly regarded award for most outstanding journalism student in WA has been won by Notre Dame students two years in a row.
"Tom's award is well-deserved recognition of his strong sense of news values, his ability to capture social trends from a unique perspective and his excellent writing skills,” Dr Shardlow said.
"I'd like to thank the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance for generously providing an opportunity for journalism students to be recognised in the prestigious industry awards.”