Observer shines at National Journalism Awards
BY JAVENE SKYERS Observer staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, November 30, 2015
IT was a grand and rewarding evening for media professionals as they celebrated the past year’s journalistic achievements at the Press Association of Jamaica’s (PAJ) annual National Journalism Awards on Saturday night.
The National Journalism Awards, held at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston, culminated this year’s celebration of National Journalism week under the theme ‘New Media, New Challenges’.
The Jamaica Observer copped awards in both the general and prestige awards categories, along with several certificates of merit. Art Director Rorie Atkinson copped the award for Best Cover Design (newspapers), while head photographer Bryan Cummings won the Aston Rhoden Award for News Photography. Cummings was awarded for his iconic capture of Member of Parliament Everald Warmington flipping his middle finger at media professionals at the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party’s Belmont Road headquarters in Kingston earlier this year.
Meanwhile, the Observer also won the Best News Website award, while Staff Reporter Kimberley Hibbert was one of the winners of the coveted Hector Bernard/ Theodore Sealy Award for News, which was listed in the prestige awards category. Certificates of merit were presented to Observer Associate Editor Ingrid Brown for human interest feature; Hibbert for health reporting; Howard Walker, sport reporting; Kenyon Hemans, human interest photography; and senior photographers Joseph Wellington and Garfield Robinson for sports photography.
Chief judge and former PAJ President Patrick Harley noted that there was a 63 per cent increase in the number of entries submitted this year, with 276 pieces of work submitted, compared the 173 pieces last year.
Harley said that, despite the increase in quantity, the quality of a number of the entries submitted were “variable” and he appealed to media workers for only their best submissions. This year’s awards also saw the submission of entries from radio stations, which Harley said was an improvement as no radio station had submitted any entries last year.
The category of Best Blog was added to this year’s list in keeping with this year’s theme and to recognise journalistic efforts in new media.
Three categories this year had no winners as the judges stated they did not feel any of the submissions “rose to the standards of awards”. One of these categories was the Carlton Alexander Award for Finance and Business”, where the two entrants received certificates of Merit for their submissions. In addition, there was no submission in two categories — Best Newspaper Magazine and Excellence in Tourism. The category of Cartoons was also suspended for this year.
Meanwhile, veteran journalist Barbara Gloudon received the Special Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by J Wray & Nephew Ltd, in commemoration of the company’s 190th anniversary to honour the career achievements of a journalist who has worked continuously in journalism for several decades; has made national impact with his/her work; and has made a significant contribution to the PAJ.
Gloudon, a current Observer columnist who was the host of the popular RJR Radio programme Hotline for close to 30 years, travelled back in time along with the audience, through a special video presentation in her honour that captured her prolific career over the many years.
“I just want to say to everybody, thank you so much. It’s not easy to find yourself at this point where people think you’re kinda cool, and mi not old yet. I intend to stay around here until some a oonu learn fi write properly,” a jovial yet sincere Gloudon told the audience.
The media veteran thanked her colleagues for the years of support, congratulated PAJ President Dionne Jackson Miller on a job well done, and said that she was grateful for her colleagues whom she said saved Jamaica from time to time by doing their work properly.
Meanwhile, among the night’s other notable achievements were the naming of CVM TV’s Tyrone Reid Journalist of the Year and The Gleaner’s Tameka Gordon Young Journalist of the Year.