Australian Community Media cadet Andrea Cantle was named the National Rural Press Club's Young Journalist/Cadet of the Year in Canberra on Tuesday, December 1.
The Bay Post reporter, of Tomakin, was recognised for her coverage of the bushfires and the 2020 recovery.
The awards recognised rural and regional journalists working in the ACT, NSW South Coast, Yass, Goulburn and Snowy Mountains region.
"It was an honour to receive the National Rural Press Club award for best young journalist/cadet on Tuesday," Ms Cantle said.
"Being congratulated by Senator Bridget McKenzie and Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Resources Ed Husic, and sitting amongst Canberran journalistic champions was an experience in itself.
"The highlight of my cadetship over the past two years, however, has been meeting wonderful people on the Far South Coast and becoming part of this community.
"Moving far away from friends and family in Wollongong as a 25-year old was an adjustment.
"Evacuating and covering the bushfires in my first year was life-changing.
"We may live far from capital cities, but these awards tell me the world is listening to our community's stories, they change lives and must continue to be told."
Tuesday's winners included freelancer and The Australian photographer Sean Davey won the overall Excellence in Rural Journalism award for his heart-wrenching photo of a Cobargo farmer shooting a burnt calf after the fires.
Rosie Lewis, who also works for The Australian, took out the award for Scoop of the Year for her piece exposing the NSW Nationals' plot to sabotage the Liberal vote in the Eden-Monaro bi-election.
National political reporter Clare Armstrong, of the Daily Telegraph, won the Best News Story for "Farmers left high and dry, the politics of drought".