Celebrating excellence: Griffith Industry Fellow takes out Queensland media award

Stefan Armbruster was announced winner of the award for multicultural reporting at the 2020 Queensland Clarion Award ceremony. (Photo supplied)

The Queensland Clarion Awards are prestigious state-based awards promoting excellence in the media. The winners of the 2020 Queensland Clarion Awards were announced on Saturday September 19 at a cocktail event where Stefan Armbruster took out the award for multicultural reporting. Best known as Queensland and Pacific correspondent for SBS News, Stefan recently joined the Griffith Asia Institute (GAI) as an Industry Fellow and member of the Pacific Hub.

2020 Queensland Clarion Award winners, Stefan Armbruster (SBS News) received the award for multicultural reporting, Amy McQuire (independent journalist) received the award for Indigenous reporting and Douglas Smith (NITV) received the award for best regional and community broadcast. (Photo supplied)

Stefan’s Pacific work has taken him to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and elsewhere in the region. But for this award-winning collection, he turned his gaze closer to home to shine a light on the experiences and stories of Pacific people who live here in Queensland. From an extensive portfolio, he selected three items that told his audiences of things they might otherwise never have heard.

The award-winning stories covered the destruction of historic rock walls built by the South Sea Islander community of the Tweed valley, the PNG inspiration for the Pippi Longstocking books written by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren and the case of Troyrone Lee, a Papua New Guinean born Australian who is fighting a legal battle with Home Affairs to keep his Australian citizenship. Stefan told us:

“It’s wonderful to receive this award recognising how powerful stories from the Pacific diaspora are and it’s a great credit to SBS News, which has for so long backed coverage of the region and the migrant communities of our closest neighbours.”

And when it comes to being associated with GAI, he added: “It’s also great to have the support of GAI’s Pacific Hub as their industry fellow which allows me to engage with these issues on an in-depth level.”

The judges’ comments on Stefan’s entry reveal the value that his work brings, stating that, The destruction of stone walls to make way for a hospital car park in Cudgen, NSW, could have been unremarkable. Stefan Armbruster’s report brought home just how important the walls were to the descendants of the South Sea Islander labourers who built them. It was a moving story, highlighting the little-known history of possibly Australia’s worst-treated migrant group.

“Stefan’s diverse stories from multicultural communities were of deep significance to the people involved.”

Stefan’s work at SBS makes him the perfect fit for GAI’s Pacific Hub as an industry fellow. Director of the Institute, Professor Caitlin Byrne said that as an industry fellow of the Griffith Asia Institute and member of the Pacific Hub, Stefan’s expertise provides invaluable support to our research agenda. We place a high value on the work that he and SBS do to raise Pacific literacy in Australia and we are very proud and pleased to see Stefan receive this acknowledgement.”

“Stefan’s reporting provides a bridge between the Pacific and Australia, and within Australia he amplifies the voices of Pacific people who live here.”

Stefan was also a finalist in the ‘Best TV News Report’ category for his coverage of the Bougainville independence referendum in November 2019.