ABC cross-media reporter James Oaten has been named Journalist of the Year at the NT Media Awards, recognising his exceptional skill and dedication to quality journalism in the Northern Territory.
Oaten, who completed a Graduate Diploma in Journalism at RMIT in 2009, is employed by the ABC in Darwin and reports on local and national news in video, audio and written formats.
The NT Media Awards judges cited his reporting on Australians fighting ISIS in Syria as an example of his “tenacity in identifying and pursuing a story, maintaining a dedication to truth and accuracy, independent thinking, fairness, impartiality and humanity.”
His multiplatform reporting also won awards in the categories Best News Coverage and Best Current Affairs or Feature for TV/Radio.
Describing it as “an incredible honour”, Oaten said he was shocked to receive the coveted award of Journalist of the Year.
“The Northern Territory may be a small place in terms of population, but it is never short on a story and there are plenty of great journalists here, so it’s really nice to be recognised for the work you have done,” he said.
Maree Curtis, Program Manager of the Graduate Diploma in Journalism, described Oaten as “one of our quiet achievers” and paid tribute to his dedication to the craft of journalism.
“As a student, he worked hard and was always focused on what he wanted to do in his career, which was to be a broadcast journalist,” Curtis said.
“He was willing to do what he needed to do to build his career, such as move to the regions and interstate to take up opportunities.
“The awards he has won are recognition of his hard work, diligence and journalistic excellence. We are all very proud of him.”
Oaten decided to pursue journalism after spending five years studying international relations as an undergraduate, and credits RMIT with preparing him for the rigours of a career in journalism.
“The Graduate Diploma taught me to tighten my writing considerably and also taught me the value of writing simpler sentences.
“Before I started my Graduate Diploma. I had just finished a 15,000 word thesis.
"By the end of my journalism course I would finish my essays under the word limit, which is a very good thing for a journalist.”
Story: Bradley Dixon