Beef Central’s Eric Barker receives excellence in Rural Journalism awards

Beef Central, 03/02/2023

AGCARBON Central editor and Beef Central journalist Eric Barker has been recognised with three awards for excellence in rural journalism for his reporting aimed at fostering greater awareness and understanding of the growing agricultural carbon sector.

Eric Barker receives his award for highly commended as runner up in the Queensland Rural Story of the Year award, presented by Bob Gee, director general of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

A series of five stories written by Eric explaining the development of the carbon industry in agriculture along with explainer articles on carbon credits and breaking news in sector was won the print category for best agricultural writing at the annual Queensland Rural Media Awards at a Rural Press Club of Queensland lunch in Brisbane yesterday.

Eric’s series was also awarded runner up in the overall Queensland Rural Story of the Year award, and he was also selected from a field of 11 finalists to be named as runner up in the Queensland Young Rural Journalist of the Year award, which recognises talent and leadership potential in rural journalists under 35 years of age.

Judges said Eric’s series of articles on carbon credits did “an incredible job of explaining a complex and vital issue”, noting that his explainer and follow-up pieces provided a comprehensive look at a timely subject, covering all angles, from government to academia to opposition and industry.

“Eric shows a strong ability to tackle complex issues and present them in way which the reader can more easily understand,” judges said.

“His leadership with the development of the AgCarbon Central site was a clear standout and his application showed he is a clear leader in the agriculture journalism sector. Very topical reporting of carbon stories creating impact.”

The award for Queensland Rural Story of the Year was presented to ABC Landline reporter Halina Baczkowski for her story titled Ability Agriculture, which was also named Best Television Story. Judges said Halina’s story provided a comprehensive and compelling package on the important issue of the experiences of people living with disability in agriculture.

The Queensland Young Rural Journalist of the Year award was won by Australian Community Media journalist Lucy Kinbacher, editor of Queensland Country Life and the North Queensland Register.

The award for Best Radio Story was won by Jennifer Nicholls, ABC rural reporter for the Sunshine Coast, Gympie and Moreton Bay. The Broadcast Digital Online category for multiple-platform story telling was won by Elly Bradfield, senior producer with ABC Rural Queensland, with ABC Toowoomba journalists David Chen, Nathan Morris and Alys Marshall named as runners-up.

In the Queensland Rural Photography awards, Blackall-based freelancer photographer Lisa Alexander won overall Queensland Rural Photograph of the Year and Best Nature/Landscape photo. Brisbane-based photographer Allie Lee was named as the winner of the best People photograph, and Cairns-based photographer Brian Cassey won best Production photo.

Eric Barker became the founding editor of AgCarbon Central in July 2022, playing a key role in launching the dedicated news platform for the Australian agricultural carbon industry.

He joined the Beef Central, Sheep Central and Grain Central rural reporting team in October 2021, following five years with the ABC in Mount Isa and Cairns.

The Queensland Rural Media Awards were judged by an independent panel of nine experienced media, communications and photography professionals working across the journalism and agriculture sectors.

The awards were sponsored by the University of Queensland, Nutrien Ag Solutions, and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.


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  1. Kim Krilich, 07/02/2023

    Congratulations Eric, a great achievement.

  2. Adam Coffey, 04/02/2023

    Well done Eric, keep up the great work!

    Thanks Adam

  3. Mick Sullivan, 03/02/2023

    Congratulations Eric

    Well deserved

    Thanks Mick

  4. Johann Schroder, 03/02/2023

    Well done, Eric. I thought just today, having read one of your articles, that I should write and thank you, but I was beaten to it. Congratulations

    Thanks Johann, I’m sure both of us will be writing plenty more about it.

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