By Sekyen Dadik
Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) has honoured three journalists, a media veteran and Pathfinder International at the 3rd AMDF Journalist of the Year Award presentation ceremony, held at the just concluded Africa Conference on Development Journalism in Kaduna, Nigeria. The Conference held from 10th – 12th December, 2019.
The Award ceremony marked the opening of the conference on 10th December. Venessa Offiong of Daily Trust emerged the AMDF 2019 Journalist of the Year for her story entitled “Abuja Communities Where Girls Are Raped En route School”.
Damilola Banjo of Sahara Reporters emerged the first runner-up, for her story entitled, Blood – Thirsty Demons of Zamfara, While Oladeinde Olawoyin of Premium Times, second runner-up, for his story entitled “With Nigeria’s Fishes Disappearing Amid Government Neglect, Nation Spends Millions on Importation.”
The winner was presented with a plague and runners-ups received commendation certificates.
In the other categories, Mr. Akin Jimoh, Programme Director of Development Communications Network (DevComs), a Lagos-based media development NGO was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his immeasurable contribution to promotion of development journalism in Nigeria, while an International NGO, Pathfinder International was honoured with the Stand Out Performece Award for its contributions in the training Nigerian Journalists on family planning, a key component supporting the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Speaking, Chairman, Panel of Judges for the Awards, Mr. Joseph Edegbo, Managing Editor of Africa Prime News said, the panel revived 25 entries, out of which it shortlisted three as finalists, encouraging other journalists to always go in-depth in their stories.
“The entries were assessed to know whether they were ethically or professionally written, to which ratings were decided arising from these attributes; headline, story idea, news value, thematic richness, investigation & research inputs, and balance,” he said.
Also speaking, Executive Director of AMDF, Iliya Kure, congratulated the finalists for putting their best to bring stories that matter to the common man. He also congratulated the honorary award recipients for their work in promoting development journalism.
He tasked journalists to be resilient in their work of “holding power to account despite the challenges faced by journalists in Nigeria and around the world, saying journalism is not a crime”.
In a closing remark, Chair, AMDF Board of Directors, Dr. Yila Umaru, expressed appreciation to panel of judges and guests tasking journalists to promote stories that will enhance the wellbeing of the common man. He said, “it is only when you highlight issues around the common man that intervention will come in that direction.”