2015 Media Award winner and finalists

Winner

Fire risk caused by the use of non-compliant building products

After the 2014 Docklands Lacrosse apartment complex fire Katherine Towers, a journalist from The Australian newspaper, reported on the cause of the fire and has continued to keep the issue alive in the public domain.

Her first story was published  post MFB’s incident report release into the cause of the blaze on 29 April 2015, and Katherine has continued to write articles on the dangers of the use of non-compliant and highly flammable aluminium cladding by some of Australia’s builders and developers.

Despite facing difficulties in obtaining information throughout her investigation, Katherine has established firm contacts to expose the risks leading to national concern and action over the extent of the use of flammable and non-compliant aluminium cladding, particularly with regards to the recent building boom of high-rise apartment complexes.  Katherine’s reporting is helping to bring about change in regard to this important public safety issue and has assisted with the establishment of a Senate Inquiry into Non-Conforming Building Products.

Finalists

Bushfire season is here, the fire crews are ready – are you?

“Bushfire season is here, the fire crews are ready – are you?” was a series of articles written by Darren Gray, a journalist with The Age. Early in the bushfire season, Darren wanted to address community complacency and remind people of the dangers posed by bushfires.

In the articles, Darren highlighted a community who was responding to the summer bushfire threat early in the summer before the threat became extreme. The main interview subject was Warrandyte, due to the severe fire threat the community faced in February 2014. Darren highlighted that the 2014 fire was a frightening wake-up call for locals.

Illegal Rooming House Hazards

Alexis Daish’s Illegal Rooming House Hazards’ story for Nine News included thorough research and tip offs from contacts over a period of months to produce an exclusive investigation into illegal rooming houses and the extreme fire safety hazards which are associated with them. When it was revealed that over-occupied rooms had added fuel to the

Lacrosse building fire, it became clear that tenants of these residences lacked some understanding of fire prevention and awareness.

In conducting an interview with a tenant, the report was able to highlight some of the crucial causes of illegal rooming houses hazards in a broader context. It highlighted that vulnerable members of the community are being targeted and that – sadly – their desperation for a home takes precedence over fire safety. In doing so, the story raised awareness of the fire safety hazards in these homes and communicated to other victims in the community that they do not have to accept these fire hazards. Ultimately, the goal of the report was to highlight to other tenants the fire safety issues they face and to urge them to take action to protect themselves and their families

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