Award winning journalist and Head of Programmes, Royal FM Ilorin, Kwara State, Babatunde Okunlola, (FTO) has emerged the first runner up at this year’s edition of the Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) journalists of the year award.
Gabriel Ogunjobi of the Nation Newspapers (Nigeria) emerged the winner of the awards while a correspondent of the Sun Newspapers in Kaduna, Sola Ojo, emerged the first runner up of the award.
Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) is a Media Development Organisation that provides professional support to media and development initiatives while Journalist of the Year Award was first introduced in 2016 to promote the culture of in-depth development journalism in the African media space.
Presenting the awards towards the closing of this year’s Africa Conference on Development Journalism (#ACDJ2020) held virtually between December 2-3, Chairman of the Panel of Judges, Mr Joseph Edegbo said, this year, the panel received 24 entries from six (6) African countries, namely, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.
“It was tasking, but the panellists professionally did their jobs and have come out with the best.
“On the whole, we took into considerations some key areas like the story idea, the headline that talks on the story itself, the news value, presentation of the story, grammar, investigation, research, data to back up the story, especially the ones that need data.
“Of course, there are some that need actuality, that is, audio, or picture to go with the story, and most importantly the effect of the story, or the change it brought.”
“This year’s entries are not far from what obtained last year, though the scope this year is wider, as we received stories from many African countries”, he said.
An Honorary Lifetime Award for Journalistic Excellence was also presented to distinguish media veteran – Mrs Miriam Menkiti, former Deputy Director News, FRCN/General Manager, Radio Nigeria Purity FM Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria, for her immense contribution to the development of Journalism in Nigeria.
Speaking on behalf of the awardees, the overall winner, Gabriel Ogunjobi, thanked the organisers of the award and promised that the awardees would continue to pursue development stories in the overall interest of the vast majority of Nigerians.
Earlier in an address, the Executive Director of AMDF, Iliya Kure described the conference as one that brings together influential journalists, media executives, media development organisations, academics, donor partners, civil society organisations and government representatives to discuss around development journalism and how to move Africa forward through journalism.
“We conceived the idea of holding development Journalism Conference because we want to encourage African journalists to embrace development journalism, being the type of journalism that focuses on national development, especially in under-developed countries like ours in Africa.
“All we have been seeing in African media is greater attention to political leaders and markets, instead of issues that affect the common man. But as professional, we know, development journalism is what we need at this time to move this continent ahead.
“AMDF’s vision is that Journalists who participate in this conference would be motivated to start writing stories that will lead to positive government policies, programmes and actions in favour of citizens.
“Journalists should focus on stories that give voice to the voiceless, monitor and evaluate public programmes and policies and follow-up on stories, to ensure that public pronouncements by officials are translated into actions” he added.
Speaking on this year’s theme, “Emerging Technologies and Future of Development Journalism”, Iliya said, “no doubt we are witnessing the emergence of new technologies that are beginning to change the way things are done”, and 21st-century journalists could not afford to be left behind, hence, the need for restraining to blend with the trend.