Dan Schulz’s Water Watch interview with Menindee resident George Looney has won the 2023 South Australian Community Broadcasting Association’s (SACBA) Bibly Award for Best Interview.
Mixed with music from Aimee Volkofsky, the interview saw Mr Schulz and Mr Looney finding the place where tragedy meets beauty while walking along the banks of the Darling-Baaka River on the morning after March’s mass fish kills.
Speaking to the Barrier Truth, Mr Schulz said the win enforces the effort to cover water injustice on the river is a collaborative one. He said it shows the value of participating together in getting the story out there and helping people understand the importance of the Darling-Baaka River and Menindee Lakes.
“Firstly, winning an award derived from covering a story that is really tragic and shouldn’t have happened in the first place makes me feel uncomfortable,” Mr Schulz told the Barrier Truth.
“Secondly, that the award really needs to recognise the interviewee, Geoff Looney, because while I produced it and went out there to cover the story, it really recognises the power and value of community members voices on these issues.
“Geoff is an important voice in that space, and he’s been working really hard over decades, photographing the river and the lakes and the birdlife and trying to advocate for the importance of that ecosystem. It’s his story that he’s being recognised here, not so much my work as a community radio journalist.”
Of the interview itself, Mr Schulz said there needed to be a community-minded focus on the topic, something he believed came across in the conversation and overall episode.
“People who care about Menindee or the Baaka or any of these communities do so from a place of urgency and a place of fear that these things don’t get covered as much as they should,” he said.
“I guess it’s more connected to seeing the significance of the story as needing to be covered and covered from the perspective of people on the ground who have the knowledge about their river. That needs to be a part of the story, the human side, and the everyday violence of events like this sometimes get lost in other national media.”
Water Watch is broadcast on the nationwide Community Radio Network and can be heard on 2DRY FM every Thursday evening from 6pm-6.30pm. It’s also available as a podcast episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts.