A story uncovering how a candidate in last year’s local government election lied to the Adelaide Hills Council about the theft of a confidential council email has won Courier journalist Genevieve Cooper the Excellence in Journalism Award at the Country Press SA awards.
The accolade was one of three awards won by the newspaper at the ceremony held in Tanunda in February 2015.
The paper was also judged to have published the best front page in 2014 from the 31 member newspapers and Courier sports photographer Laura Wright took out the Best Sport Photo award.
Mrs Cooper’s story centred around mayoral candidate Leone Taylor and the evidence she gave to a council investigation into the leaked email in 2012.
Ms Taylor told senior management that when a councillor visited her home she accessed his council i-Pad when he left the room.
She wrote that she was “opportunistic, took advantage of the situation and could be said to have acted in poor taste” when she emailed a letter from the i-Pad to herself.
However, when questioned by Mrs Cooper in the lead-up to the 2014 election, she admitted deliberately lying to protect the councillor.
She admitted she was sitting next to the councillor on her couch when the email was sent with the pair later deciding to send a false response to the investigation in order to “save (the councillor’s) bacon”.
Judge Kym Tilbrook said the story required “a huge amount of good, old-fashioned journalistic legwork”.
“The Courier withstood threats of legal action and published, deciding (the story) was clearly in the public interest.”
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