Media AwardJohannesburg, 13th November 2015-Sixteen journalists have been recognized for their exemplary work in reporting on development issues in Africa at the first edition of the Zimeo Excellence in Media Awards held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The awards also recognized institutions that support the development of viable media across Africa, and media organizations that exemplify the adoption and application of best practice in governance and leadership. South Africa led the winners list with four awardees, followed by Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya and Nigeria with three each.

The competition, the latest addition to the array of services offered by the African Media Initiative, received more than 500 entries from print, broadcast and online journalists. A technical team reviewed the entries and submitted its initial short list to independent panels of judges representing east, west, central, south and north Africa.

Speaking at the awards ceremony at the Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference Centre in the East Rand area of Johannesburg, judging coordinator and head of the technical team Wangethi Mwangi noted that “Zimeo is a new kind of competition because it doesn’t intend to confer the title of journalist of the year. Instead, it seeks to identify journalism excellence in the various sectors of development on which society’s survival hinges.”

Competition judge Joachim Buwembo noted: “The winning stories were unique in their approach, and helped create interest in daily phenomena. The effective use of citizens’ voices and the exploration of the complexities – social, economic, and more- makes the stories a great example of quality journalism on the continent.”

African Media Initiative CEO Eric Chinje congratulated the winners and thanked the awards sponsors for their continued investment in journalism on the continent. “The entries,” he said, “were quite diverse in terms of subject matter, quality and relevance to the continent’s development agenda. At AMI, we are excited to launch these awards and look forward to growing the competition in the years to come.”

The winners of the first Zimeo Excellence in Media Awards are:

OSISA Award for Excellence in Media: Data Journalism Reporting 
Eunice Kalunde Kilonzo and Michael Mosota of Daily Nation, Kenya 
Story title: Tobacco war graphics

Zimeo Award for Excellence in Media: Millennium and Sustainable Development Goals Coverage 
Suy Kahofi Jischvi of Abidjan Live News, Cote d’Ivoire 
Story title: Femmes, Faites-Vous Depister Pour Sauver Votre Bebe

Cherif Sy Award for Excellence in Media: Peace and security Reporting 
Boowurosigue Hyacinthe Sanou of L’observateur Paalga, Burkina Faso 
Story title: Nuit Du 29 Octobre 2014: Nous Etions A La Chambre 143

Open Society Foundation Award for Excellence in Media: Technology Reporting 
Jay Caboz of Forbes International, South Africa 
Story title: A rat race against death

Zimeo Award for Excellence in Media: Infrastructure Reporting 
Anthony Akaeze of TELL magazine, Nigeria 
Story title: Lagos ticking time-bomb

The Rockefeller Foundation Award for Excellence in Media: Agriculture and food security Reporting 
Geoffery Kamadi of African Business magazine, Kenya 
Story title: Greater autonomy in store for Kenya’s farmers

Zimeo Award for Excellence in Media: Education Reporting 
Stephen Ssenkaaba of New Vision, Uganda 
Story title: Children with disabilities left out of Universal Primary Education

Zimeo Award for Excellence in Media: Energy Reporting 
Oketola Adedayo Eriye The Punch, Nigeria, 
Story title: Power failure: Nigerians burn N17.5tn fuel on generators in five years

Nation Media Group Award for Excellence in Media: Maritime Economy Reporting 
Jay Caboz of Forbes Africa magazine, South Africa 
Story title: The dead port that rose again

African Wildlife Foundation Award for Excellence in Media: Environment and Conservation Reporting 
Fousenni Saibou of Kanal FM, Togo 
Story title: Dossier assèchement des cours d’eau au Togo

Ford Foundation Award for Excellence in Media: Gender Reporting 
Eugene Nforngwa Ndiboti of the Standard Tribune newspaper, Cameroon 
Story title: The broken lives of Akwaya’s money

Ecobank Award for Excellence in Media: Health Reporting 
Yolandi Groenewald and Sipho Masondo of City Press, South Africa 
Story title: Dirty water killed our babies

African Development Bank Award for Excellence in Media: Natural Resources Reporting 
Yao Ossene Ouattara of, Cote d’Ivoire 
Story title: Bondoukou: Les Realites Insoutenables de L’Exploitation Miniere.(Unsustainable realities of mining)

Dr. Ameena Gurib- Fakim Award for Excellence in Media: Science Reporting
Veronicah Okeyo of Business Daily, Kenya 
Story tile: Medics prescribe measures to tame rising drug abuse

United Bank for Africa Award for Excellence in Media: Business and Finance Reporting 
Akinyole Adebayo Apollos of The Punch, Nigeria 
Story title: Bittersweet banking: World of Nigeria’s mobile traditional bankers

The Rockefeller Foundation Award for Excellence in Media: Youth Reporting 
Stephen Nartey of Joy FM, Ghana 
Story title: Narcotic schoolboys.

The other categories, recognizing media support institutions and media organizations, are:

Mo Ibrahim Foundation Award for Excellence in Media: Governance and Leadership 
Winner: Mail & Guardian Online, South Africa

Maria Kiwanuka Award for Excellence in Media: African public institutions that support Media 
Winner: Support and Media Development Fund, Cote d’Ivoire

The Zimeo Excellence in Media Awards judging panels were led by Chief Judges Dapo Olorunyomi, Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of Premium Times, Nigeria; Professor Levi Obonyo, Dean, School of Communications, Languages and Performing Arts at Daystar University, Kenya; Agnès Kraidy, senior journalist at Fraternité Matin, Cote d’Ivoire; veteran Cameroonian journalist Alex Gustave Azebaze; Michael Didama, Managing Editor, Le Temps newspaper in Chad; veteran journalist Joachim Buwembo of Uganda; Kafu Kofi Tsikata, Senior Communications Specialist at World Bank in Ghana; and Tunisian-based Lotfi Madani, former Chief Communications Specialist at the African Development Bank.

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