Students from UTS have made up two of the three finalists in the Alan Knight Award for multicultural student journalism.

Mikala Theocharous and Arshmah Jamal were highly commended by judges in the Premier’s Multicultural Communications Awards, which was won by Sydney Uni’s Rhea L Nath.

Jamal’s story ‘You thought it was tough coming out… try doing it as a Muslim’ and Theocharous’ profile of Barbara McGrady ‘Photojournalist who demanded First Nations people be seen’ were both published on Central News.

Minister for Multiculturalism Natalie Ward said the 13 awards given out across different disciplines recognised the vital role of multicultural communicators in delivering critical information and connecting with diverse communities.

“Our multicultural media professionals have been tireless in sharing crucial health messages throughout the pandemic and have been instrumental in helping keep our community safe,” she said.

“I commend this year’s winners and finalists and would like to thank them for their ongoing support in communicating with diverse audiences across NSW.”

Because of the lockdown no ceremony took place this year and winners and runners-up were informed by email. However, they will be included in the Premier’s Harmony Dinner next year.

SBS, Desi Australia and Sydney Today were among the media companies honoured, but the awards also recognised other sections of the community engaged in communicating with diverse communities, and winners also included Royal Life Saving New South Wales and the Australian Taxation Office.

Media and marketing entries were recognised across categories including Best Audio-Visual Report, the Public Interest Award and Business Campaign of the Year.

The student award, which was won last year by UTS’s Georgios Platias, is named after the former UTS Head of Journalism professor Alan Knight.

Photojournalist who demanded First Nations people be seen

Theocharous’s portrait of McGrady was originally written for an assessment in the UTS FASS Digging Deeper course and in collaboration with UTS Social Justice and Inclusion and their Glebe Connect program.

“I sincerely congratulate our outstanding winners and finalists for bringing an important voice to topics such as racism, migrant exploitation and the impact of COVID on our diverse communities,” Mrs Ward said.

“I am delighted that the NSW Government is the only state in Australia to recognise multicultural communicators with a stand-alone awards program.”