The Kennedy Foundation has announced a partnership with Coca-Cola, which will see the top prize at the 5th Annual NRMA Kennedy Awards for Excellence in Journalism, named after the company.

The 2016 Coca-Cola Kennedy Award Journalist of the Year will be presented with a $25,000 prize, with the winner of the Kennedy Award for Young Journalist of the Year receiving $5,000.

“We can’t underestimate how challenging the profession of journalism is these days. It’s so important for us to recognize those that do it great and support those that need it,” said Christine Black, director, public affairs and communications at Coca-Cola South Pacific. 

Coca-Cola Amatil and Coca-Cola South Pacific will also support a $20,000 donation to the Kennedy Foundation to assist past and present news media professionals in hardship.

“The media landscape has changed so much over the last few decades,” Christine said. “When I started my career in the 90s we were looking at newspapers in hard copy and recording the nightly news on VCRs so we could replay them the next morning. No one had an email. News websites did not exist.”

The NRMA Kennedy Awards honour the memory of legendary Sydney crime reporter Les Kennedy, who died aged 53 years in 2011.

Kennedy Foundation chairman, Peter Kogoy, said “To have the support of both Coca-Cola Amatil and Coca-Cola South Pacific is a major breakthrough for the NRMA Kennedy Awards, now in our fifth year.”

The awards will be held at Royal Randwick on August 12.