UTS journalism student Boushra Elkheir won the Alan Knight Award for student journalism at the annual Premier’s Multicultural Media Awards in Sydney last night.

Elkheir picked up the award at a glitzy event at the Wharf Theatre in Dawes Point for her video How the West was lost – about the state government’s handling of the COVID-19 lockdowns in western Sydney and how it differed from the treatment of more affluent communities in the east and north of the city.

The 21-year-old, in the fourth year of a dual journalism-law degree, said: “I wanted to show how residents of western Sydney were made to feel.”

She beat fellow UTS journalism student Suzy Monzer and Sydney University’s Iqra Saeed.

In the Young Journalist of the Year award third year UTS student Mikala Theocharous was also nominated, but was beaten by Rhea L Nath from Indian Link.

The event was attended by NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure and multicultural media organisations from across Sydney.


Premier Dominic Perrottet speaking at last night’s awards ceremony.

“I’ve been in parliament for 11 years and with my background I didn’t really have a great appreciation until very recently of the importance of multicultural media and communications,” Mr Perrottet told the audience.

“But over the last few years I certainly have. It’s been a very difficult three years for the state of NSW; we’ve  gone through droughts, bushfires, floods and the pandemic.

“When we’re all working together, right across the board to get every single person through and have the strongest health response we could possibly have, to keep business open and keep people in work, was incredibly important.


“The government from my perspective provided strong financial support, but the government was never going to achieve what we achieved alone.  We could only achieve that together as a people and everyone in my view played their part.

“I saw firsthand the role multicultural communications had by providing key health messages to communities right across our state. And the work that many of you here in this room did, I believe, had a lasting impact that we should never forget.”

The late Alan Knight was a former head of journalism at UTS and his widow Kathy Egea presented Elkheir with the award. Her winning video documentary, which features on UTS student site Central News, was created as an industry portfolio piece under the supervision of Helen Vatsikopoulos, who recently left the university after 10 years.

Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure praised Sydney’s multicultural media companies.

“There is a newspaper, magazine, online publication or radio station for almost every language and culture here in NSW,” Mr Coure said.

“They speak directly to those communities, keeping them not only informed, but also connected to their culture and language.

“I am proud that NSW is the only state in the country to recognise multicultural communicators with this standalone awards ceremony.”

Full list of winners

  • Best audio-visual report – Plus61j Media
  • Best text report – Indian Link’s Pawan Luthra, Rajni Anand Luthra
  • Publication of the Year – SBS Dari/SBS Pashto
  • Young Journalist of the Year – Rhea L Nath from Indian Link
  • Alan Knight Student Award – Boushra Elkheir
  • Best Audio Report – National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Mimi Chau
  • Public Interest Award – SBS Insight
  • Best Use of Digital or Social Media – Muslim Women Australia
  • Agency Campaign of the Year – Loud and Identity Comms
  • Business Campaign of the year – NSW Department of Customer Service, NSW Health and MHCS, UM/Identity, Etcom
  • Community Campaign of the Year – South Eastern Community Connect

Main image Boushra Elkheir, in white dress, with Kathy Egea, second from left. Photo: Martin Newman.