Nike Popoola, Kunle Falayi and Toluwani Eniola
Again, Nigeria’s most widely read newspaper, The PUNCH, retained its leadership position in the print media when it won the prestigious Newspaper of the Year award at the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence.
The award ceremony took place at the Muson Centre, Onikan in Lagos on Wednesday.
The PUNCH was announced as the winner for the third consecutive year, after defeating The Nation and The Guardian that were runners-up in the coveted category.
The editor of your darling newspaper, Martin Ayankola, was also adjudged as the Editor of the Year; while Gbenga Omotoso of The Nation and Abraham Ogbodo of The Guardian were declared the runners-up.
Ayankola has won the prize for three consecutive years.
Some other PUNCH reporters shone at the awards, carting away prizes in different categories.
A correspondent with the Saturday PUNCH, Gbenro Adeoye, won the News Agency of Nigeria’s Prize for Agriculture Reporting with his entry titled,”Working like elephants, eating like ants: Sad tales of Nigeria’s poor female oil processors.”
A Sub-Assistant Editor with Saturday Punch, Dayo Oketola, and Kunle Falayi of Saturday Punch were runners-up in the same category.
A Chief Correspondent with The PUNCH, Nike Popoola, who had two nominations, proved her dominance in her category when she won the Sovereign Trust prize for Insurance Reporting with her entry titled, “Nigerian insurers move to gain more market share.”
Popoola, who had won the Insurance Reporting award three times before, defeated Adekunle Yusuf of The Nation.
Two Punch correspondents, Toluwani Eniola and Umar Mohammed, were declared the investigative reporters of the year with their two-part story titled, “Gikin-de-gikin: Nasarawa’s condomless sex craze fuels HIV pandemic,” and “Agents of AIDS: How Nasarawa native surgeons spread HIV without knowing.”
Punch’s Oketola and Mojeed Alabi of New Telegraph were runners-up in the category.
Last year, Motunrayo Joel of SUNDAY PUNCH won the same prize for investigative reporting with her story: ‘Ovum trading: Inside Nigeria’s multimillion naira human egg business.”
The PUNCH was declared the winner of the Tunji Oseni Memorial Prize for Editorial Writing with its entry, “Nigeria’s economy and the future of oil.”
Premium Times and The Nation were named as runners-up.
Taiwo Alimi of the The Nation won the S.O. Idowu Prize for Sports reporting with his story, “Football: The magic and the nightmare,” while Anthony Akaeze of the TELL Magazine and Arukaino Umukoro, of SUNDAY PUNCH were first and second runners-up, respectively.
Thisday won the Best Designed Newspaper while New Telegraph and The PUNCH were the first and second runners-up respectively.
Thisday also won the UNICEF Prize for Child-Friendly Medium in Partnership with the NGE, while The Guardian and The Nation were runners-up.
Olatunji Ololade of The Nation won the UNICEF prize for Child-Friendly Reporting with his entry, “The child has no blame,” while Hannah Ojo also of The Nation and a reporter from a print media, Kunle Akinrinade were runners-up.
The Nation’s Ololade also won the Hon. Justice Moronkeji Onalaja Memorial Prize for Judicial Reporting with his story, “Life on death row: Tragic lives of Nigerian prisoners,” while Eric Ikhilae and Joseph Jibueze also of The Nation were runners-up.
Suleiman Husaini of New Telegraph won the Hakeem Shitta Memorial Prize for News Photography with his entry, “Collapsed building,” while Bunmi Azeez and Ayodele Ojo were runners-up.
Martins Oloja of The Guardian had two nominations to clinch the Hadj. Alade Odunewu Prize for Informed Commentary with his entry, “Why we need better universities, not more,” while Henry Boyo of The PUNCH was declared the runner-up.
The Editor in Chief of Premium Times, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Chief Executive Officer of Diamond publications and trustee of the awards, Mr. Lanre Idowu, said the judging process for the Dame awards was fair, open and transparent.
Idowu said that awards were not given in some categories, especially in broadcast, because the quality of the entries received was not good enough.
He said, “As the name, Diamond, you must measure up to the standard. For the first time since 1992, Dame did not give out awards for broadcast.”
Idowu said, “DAME will continue to sustain a partnership that restores public confidence in the media. The gaps in the reportage can be addressed by retraining reporters. A lot needs to be done by professional media groups by showing more interest. We plan a stakeholder meeting to find answers to this question of poor standard next.”
Idowu, who said that no one should abuse Nigerian journalists, added that the panel received abundance of entries that focused on the plight of Nigerian children, poor access to education, and the challenges of insecurity, especially in the North-East.
“We also received entries on some fascinating aspects of the productive sector of our economy,” he said.
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