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The Owl: 2022 year in review

2022 year in review

What a 2022 it has been! In The Owl‘s first year of operation, our student journalists absolutely smashed it out of the park and set a very high bar for 2023.

Here’s a little snapshot of The Owl‘s 2022 in numbers:

  • 210 stories published
  • 32 episodes of radio produced
    (that’s 1,647 minutes!)
  • 3 episodes of TV produced

Let’s take a moment to look back at The Owl‘s year and wrap the highlights, including the most read stories, our projects, and the JERAA Ossie Awards. But please make sure you read right to the end for the inaugural presentation of The Owl Awards.

Top 5 most read stories

The Owl team published over 200 stories this year, but which were the most popular with readers?

Power Moves book

In fifth place is The most powerful book of all – Hamish and Andy’s ‘Power Moves Vol. 2’ by William Makepeace. A review of, well, the most powerful book of all!

In fourth place is Five things parents should know about raising ten-year-old boys by Sarah Cathie. A gift of advice from one parent to other parents.

Boy smiling into camera
The entrance sign to the Night Noodle Markets in Canberra.

In third place is A weekend at Canberra’s Night Noodle Markets by Cara Ginnan. An account of the return of this Canberra event after the pandemic, that even the damp weather couldn’t ruin.

In second place is Women in dragon boating by Maddi Green. A visually exciting introduction to the sport in Canberra.

Women paddling a dragon boat
A cricket player in red hits the ball in front of the wicket

And in first place is “I had no idea who it was”: the puzzling phone call that changed Blake Macdonald’s cricket career by Hayden Blackmore. A particularly impressive win since this story has only been live on the site for less than a fortnight!

The Locker Room

The Locker Room logo

Sports Media student journalists were super busy this year covering sport from across the spectrum. But it was during the NRL and NRLW finals that they really hit their straps.

Throughout the finals period, The Locker Room team produced live blogs of every game, weekly podcast wraps of all the action, and several episodes of Locker Room TV.

Screen shot of The Locker Room live blog

2022 Federal Election

In May, The Owl swung into action to cover the 2022 Federal Election. In the weeks leading up to the poll, we published a series of Q&As and profiles looking at local candidates and electorates. And on election day, a team of student journalists spent the day in the field gathering material before returning to our election newsroom on campus to turn it into a two-hour live broadcast on UCFM. The team also maintained a live blog throughout the evening as results rolled in.

Podcasts and radio

Throughout the year, The Owl launched several new shows, including some that were broadcast live on UCFM. But don’t fear, you can still listen to all of them … (wait for it) … wherever you get your podcasts.

'Listen on' badges
The Hear Owl About It crew broadcasting live from The Well

Hear Owl About It started in week one of semester two as a half-baked idea, and by week 13 it had evolved into a professional live broadcast from The Well. Each week, a rotating roster of student journalists quizzed each other on topics from news to sport to entertainment to crime, and then turned the tables on lecturers and staff from the Faculty of Arts and Design. We can’t wait for a new season of HOAI next semester.

Long Brunch was a series of two-hour live broadcasts on UCFM each morning during the semester two teaching break. A team of ten student journalists worked collaboratively to put together four programs from scratch, including pre-recorded content, live studio interviews, and up-to-the-minute news bulletins. Fingers crossed, we’ll be able to produce more episodes in 2023.

A collage of photos from inside the UCFM studio during Long Brunch production
Glenda Stevens and Emily Haynes in the UCFM studio

Listening to Canberra Voices is a series focused on the experiences and perspectives of Canberra’s diverse community. Armed with this broad brief, students set out to find and interview residents of Canberra across demographics, starting conversations and exploring the richness that diversity brings to the city.

Owl Chats is an occasional series in which student journalists sit down for a chat with the people who make, consume and think about the media. In episode one, Kelsang Dolkar spoke with ABC Heywire’s Katie McAllister.

Kelsang and Katie smiling and posing for a photo in the UCFM studio

JERAA Ossie Awards

Ossie Awards certificates for Sara Garrity and Megan Hobson

Last week, the Journalism Education & Research Association of Australia presented its annual Ossie Awards at the JERAA conference in Perth. We are very proud of two of our student journalists who were officially recognised for their work.

A man holding a book of photos from the Canberra bushfires

Sara Garrity won in the category Best text-based story by an undergraduate student – over 750 words with her story Today’s solution and tomorrow’s problem. The judge commented that Sara’s “balanced, thoughtful and well-written piece on building on bushfire-prone land humanised and clarified an important policy issue in which there are no easy answers.”

And Megan Hobson was highly commended in the category Best Visual Journalism by an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Student (all media, individual or group) with her story A trip down Brick Lane.

Vintage clothing hanging on a rack in a thrift store

The Owl Awards 2022

The Owl Awards 2022

And last but definitely not least, we’re really excited for the inaugural presentation of The Owl Awards. Each year, The Owl Awards will recognise the student journalists who went above and beyond in their work for The Owl.

This year, we have seven awards to present.

The Owl Award for highly commended contribution to The Owl in 2022 goes to:

  • Ben Signor
  • Amy Briggs
  • Lila Greyling
  • Anthony Lewsam
  • Liam Mulhall
  • Lara Stimpson

These six members of our team have worked consistently throughout the year to help build The Owl’s personality, voice and profile, giving up many hours of their time outside of the requirements of their studies. Well done … and thank you!

And The Owl Award for most outstanding contribution to The Owl in 2022 goes to Maddi Green.

2022 The Owl Award for most outstanding contribution to The Owl in 2022, awarded to Maddi Green

Maddi has been the driving force behind most of The Owl‘s special projects this year. She has endless enthusiasm and just gets things done, and brings her unique blend of professionalism and humour to both the production team and the product itself. Thanks for all your efforts, Maddi.

Finally, a big thank you to every single member of The Owl team who helped to produce content for the website, social media, podcasts or UCFM in 2022, with a special shout-out to Joshua Groch, Jasmine Burns, Andrew Liang and Kelsang Dolkar.

So, that’s it for 2022! We hope you stay safe over the summer and come back ready for an even bigger year for The Owl in 2023.