Volker Obermayr awarded the Horst Knapp Prize 2012

  • Volker Obermayr, deputy head of the business desk at ORF Radio, was awarded the prestigious Horst Knapp Prize in a ceremony on Tuesday evening

Awarding the prize for outstanding economic journalism, Bank Austria CEO Willibald Cernko declared: "Delivering high-quality journalism day in, day out is not just a particular challenge in turbulent economic times. Someone like Volker Obermayr, with his many years of national and international experience, who understands perfectly how to present complex issues so they are readily comprehensible to the listener without, however, slipping into banality, while doing full justice to the material's complexity, sets a shining example to their colleagues. And someone who strives to tackle business and economic issues objectively from a whole spectrum of different perspectives is a journalist in the true spirit of Horst Knapp and is thus a worthy prize-winner. It is by no means a certainty these days that a journalist will not only literally be heard but will also be understood, including through the medium of radio, or that he or she will succeed so masterfully in bridging the gap between mass media and consistently high-quality information."

In his speech praising this year's recipient, Professor Ewald Nowotny, Governor of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian central bank), acknowledged: "Volker Obermayr is, and always has been, keen to awaken his listeners' interest in the wider economic contexts and to make economic policy in general comprehensible. His reports and interviews are characterised by their thorough research and precise questioning, and he is able to present complex facts in the best possible way on the radio. He places great importance not only on shedding light from different angles on issues that concern us all but also on preparing these issues thoroughly from a technical perspective and setting them in a wider context."

Born in Graz, Volker Obermayr (46) started his journalism career 1989 as a freelancer for the news service (radio and television) in ORF's regional studio in Styria. Two years later, he moved to Vienna's radio news service, where he worked as a news editor and a presenter for Ö1 and Ö3's magazine programmes. From 1996 to 1997, he worked as a correspondent in ORF's Bonn studio. On his return to Vienna, Obermayr became the presenter and head of broadcasts for Ö1's magazine programmes, before moving in 1998 to become a presenter and the head of Ö3's news desk. Two years later, he relocated to ORF's Brussels office, resuming his role as a correspondent. After that, Obermayer, who is an officer in the reserves and a keen motorcyclist, went back to working as a presenter for Ö1 and Ö3, heading up ORF's studios in Bonn (focusing on economics and politics) from 2001 to 2003. From mid-2003 to mid-2010, Obermayr worked as a correspondent at ORF's Berlin studio (focusing on politics, economics, culture and sport). He has been back working for Ö1's business desk since August 2010, where he is now deputy head of the department.

The Horst Knapp Prize has been sponsored annually by Bank Austria since 1996 and is awarded to journalists by an independent jury in memory of Professor Horst Knapp, who for many years was the doyen of Austrian economic journalism. The award is for EUR 6,000. The jury is headed by Ewald Nowotny, Governor of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank. The Horst Knapp Prize recognises outstanding journalistic achievements that present complex economic issues in a particularly clear, comprehensible manner.
The independent jury includes other renowned members: Karl Aiginger, head of the Austrian Institute for Economic Research; Margarete Freisinger, a freelance journalist; Martin Halama, corporate spokesman for Bank Austria; Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger, professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business; Andrea Helige, a public relations consultant; Veit Sorger, former president of the Federation of Austrian Industries; Josef Zechner, professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business; and the winner of last year's prize, Dieter Mascher, deputy editor-in-chief and head of the business desk at the daily newspaper Oberösterreichische Nachrichten.

The following journalists are the previous winners of the Horst Knapp Prize: Reinhard Göweil and Waltraud Langer (1996), Georg Wailand (1997) and Regina Forster ("Most Promising" award 1997), Michael Hann (1998), Liselotte Palme (1999), Andreas Schnauder (2000), Walter Sonnleitner (2001), Margarete Freisinger (2002), Richard Wiens (2003), Christine Domforth (2004), Michael Csoklich and Eva Pfisterer (2005), Renate Graber (2006), Helmut Gansterer (2007), Michael Nikbakhsh (2008), Luise Ungerboeck and Franz Schellhorn (2009), Michael Bachner (2010), and Dietmar Mascher (2011).

Enquiries: Bank Austria Media Relations
Matthias Raftl, Tel. +43 (0) 50505-52809
E-mail: matthias.raftl@unicreditgroup.at

Print-quality photos are  here available to download from our website www.bankaustria.at. Reproduction is free of charge.