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Sierra Leone News: Awoko reporters top SLAJ awards

Two Awoko newspaper reporters won prestigious awards over the weekend for outstanding and professional journalism in the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) annual Media Awards 2018, presented at the SLAJ Annual General Meeting in Kenema.
Zainab Iyamide Joaque won the Best Reporting on Health category and Bernard Turay bagged the Best Sports Reporting award.
The SLAJ Media Awards are presented every year to deserving and outstanding journalists who enter their best work via e-mail or through the SLAJ offices. The 2018 Awards are the fourth edition of the gala gathering and was superbly hosted by the “We Yus” famed, Lucy Ann Ganda, and the indomitable, Mamadi Gobeh Kamara.
Betty Milton, a senior reporter at Awoko, said,
“To be recognized by the parent body of journalists… it means we are really doing well.” She noted that professionalism and the basics of good quality journalism is something the Awoko management stress… every day and in every article. “Awoko remains neutral, fair, objective and accurate,” she added.
Joaque’s winning entry was on the increase in sexually transmitted infections and the cultural practices that precludes women from getting their partners to come for treatment. She highlighted the issue in the 32 catchment villages in Braimaia Chiefdom, Kambia District, close to the border with Guinea.
Receiving the award, Joaque underscored, “I really wanted to win this award because it serves as a move towards media self-regulation and as motivation towards increased professionalism in journalism in Sierra Leone.” She stressed, “It’s something that I and my colleagues at the office strive for every day… professional, responsible, reporting. We’re not always successful, but we try. These are the values we live with every day.”
She continued, “It’s a great privilege to be able to do what I do. I’d like to thank the management and staff of Awoko newspaper for creating the platform for me.”
Bernard Turay, who won the Best Sports Reporting award for 2018, wrote a feature-length article on the state of women’s sport in Sierra Leone. In his article, “What is wrong with women in sport,” he decried the sorry state of support for female athletes. He also noted how female athletes, across all sporting disciplines, suffer discrimination, abuse and alienation at the hands of their male counterparts. After receiving his award, he thanked SLAJ for the honour and promised to work harder and enter another story for next year’s awards.
Ahmed Nasralla (DeMonk), introduced the awards ceremony by highlighting the judges comments. “The judges noted a slight improvement in quality of journalistic work including more sources and background research,” he said. “But,” he added, “there were no entries from the provinces, which is a shame because we know there’s good work being done in the regions. Hopefully, journalists from outside Freetown will enter the awards next year.”
The 2018 SLAJ Media Award winners:
Tuesday July 17, 2018.

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