Anuja Nadkarni, Indian Weekender’s frequent contributor, has won the ‘National Business Review Outstanding Journalism Graduate of the Year’ Award at the Auckland University of Technology.

Anuja graduated with a Bachelor of Communications degree majoring in Journalism from AUT in 2015.

Nevil Gibson, the National Business Review’s (NBR) Editor-in-Chief presented the award to Anuja at a ceremony at the AUT’s city campus on Tuesday, April 12. The award comprises a silver salver and a cash prize.

In her acceptance speech, Anuja thanked her teachers and tutors as well as her family and friends for the support and encouragement she received throughout her years at university.

Speaking to Indian Weekender after receiving the award Anuja said, “I feel excited and proud to have chosen this profession. And that’s not only because now I’ll get to share an experience that my grandfather and my father did as journalists, but with all the changes journalism is undergoing at so many levels, I’m sure it’ll be one very different from theirs.

“I think it’s always been exciting to be a journalist, but today the great work of amazing reporters around the world like those that broke the Panama papers stories, or are fighting for justice in Timor-Leste or Syria or just giving people a voice in the community, motivates me and inspires me.

“I hope to always do justice to the faith rested in my abilities by my respected teachers with the conferment of this award.”

A number of leading publications and websites in New Zealand and other countries besides Indian Weekender have published Anuja's writings.

Kiwi Media Group publisher Giri Gupta said, “Indian Weekender heartily congratulates Anuja on her achievement and looks forward to her continued association with us as a valued contributor to our paper and website while wishing her success in her media career.”

Born in Mumbai, India, Anuja moved to Fiji in 2002 and a year later, migrated to Auckland. She says it has been wonderful for her to experience diverse cultures at such a young age; something that also sparked an interest in travelling and hearing people’s stories. We spoke to Anuja to find out more about this budding journalist. Here are excerpts from the interview.

IWK: When did you develop an interest in journalism?

Anuja: Although journalism seems like it was an obvious option, considering my family history, it wasn’t really what I wanted to do in the beginning. I was interested in everything, from biology to law, business, psychology to television. I applied for it when I was applying for university in my last year of high school. But after some deliberation, I decided on the Communications Studies degree at AUT simply because it gives students the opportunity to try a little bit of everything in mass media—from radio to digital media and, of course, journalism. So I kind of stumbled into it and when I realised that journalism encompasses so many other careers, I thought it was a perfect fit for someone who likes a dynamic work life.

IWK: Your thoughts on winning the National Business Review Outstanding Journalism Graduate of the Year.

Anuja: It is a huge honour to receive recognition from my teachers for this award. It feels a little surreal but I’m so grateful to have been chosen as the recipient of this award out of my year considering the great talent and calibre of my fellow peers.

IWK: How do you plan to kick off your journalistic career?

Anuja: I think the best piece of advice my dad gave me was to just go with the flow, so we’ll have to wait and see. I’m excited to further explore the different aspects of journalism. I haven’t yet decided on what I want to do in my career, but what is certain is that it will be in the media and I’ll be telling stories.

IWK: With news and information now available on fingertips, how do you think journalism has changed from what it used to be?

Anuja: It is an incredibly interesting time we’re living in. Anyone at the right place at the right time can become a ‘reporter’ with the increased proliferation of smartphones and social media. But this still raises questions of credibility and accuracy and you still need to know legalities that can be quite complex, which is why basic training in journalism is still important.