UTS journalism major Suhayla Sharif has won the Alan Knight Award for Student Journalist of the Year at the 2023 NSW Premier’s Multicultural Communications Awards.

Sharif, 21, was honoured for a series of articles written for Indian Link, where she has been working for the past year. Fellow UTS student Mohamad Youssef was one of the two runners-up at a ceremony on Thursday night.

“Winning the Alan Knight Student Award is still a shock to me,” the third-year student told Central News. “I am incredibly lucky to be recognised as an emerging voice in the Australian media industry, especially so early on in my career.

“To know that multicultural perspectives are being celebrated is so encouraging as I step forth into a journalism career that I dedicate to amplifying diverse voices.”

Labor Premier Chris Minns told the audience at the Sydney Theatre Company in Dawes Point, New South Wales was one of the most successful multicultural states in the world.

“Our people come from all across the globe, with one in three of us born overseas, one in two with a parent born overseas and one in four speaking another language in the home,” he said.

“These awards acknowledge that diversity and I commend everyone who entered because providing information in community language is what keeps our society strong.”

There is a crucial responsibility associated with communicating the kaleidoscope of multicultural perspectives and I will … continue bringing light to countless stories like mine.

NSW Minister for Multiculturalism Steve Kamper noted no other Australian state yet recognised multicultural communicators with a stand-alone awards program for media presented in community languages.

“Strong, resilient multicultural media and marketing agencies are vital to ensuring everyone has access to information in a language they feel comfortable using,” he added.

UTS student Mohamad Youssef was one of the two runners-up for the Alan Knight award, alongside University of Sydney’s Torsha Sen, for video packages published on Central News on the Turkish earthquake appeal and Ramadan. Youssef, who also works at Channel Ten, said he was “honoured” to be nominated.

The Premier’s awards night has become a major event in the calendar for multicultural news publishers, and UTS students have also done well at it. Last year Boushra Elkheir took home the Student Journalist award, with UTS’ Suzy Monzer a runner-up and Mikala Theocharous nominated as Young Journalist of the Year, while UTS students were nominated in 2021 and in the winner’s circle in 2020.

The late Alan Knight was a former head of journalism at UTS and his widow Kathy Egea presented Sharif with the award.

Sharif said she was committed to authentically representing the people “who weave the intricate fabric of multicultural Australia”.

“There is a crucial responsibility associated with communicating the kaleidoscope of multicultural perspectives and I will use this award as a stepping stone into a future where I can continue bringing light to countless stories like mine,” she added.


Full list of winners

  • Best Audio-Visual Report – Sharon Offenberger and Ghousoon Bisharat, Plus61J Media
  • Best Audio Report – Stephanie Corsetti, Claire Slattery, Marcus Megalokonomos and Hannah Kwon, SBS
  • Best Text Report – Dr Salih Yucel, AMUST
  • Young Journalist of the Year – Olivia Yuan, SBS Mandarin
  • Publication of the Year – Pawan Luthra and Rajni Anand Luthra, Indian Link Media Group
  • Alan Knight Student Award – Suhayla Zahira Sharif
  • Public Interest Award – Addison Road Community Organisation
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Haralambos Anargyrou Kritharis, known as Harry Crethar.
  • Agency Campaign of the Year – Think HQ and Cultureverse for the Australian Human Rights Commission
  • Business Campaign of the Year – Savings Finder Campaign, Department of Customer Service
  • Community Campaign of the Year – Moving Forward Together, Stop Racism Now
  • Best Use of Digital or Social Media – Western Sydney Wanderers.

Main image pictures supplied.