Standard Group journalists shine at the AJEA Awards

Standard Group Journalists scooped a string of awards during, this year’s journalism awards where top scribes were feted for their excellence in different categories.

Of the 41 winners announced during the ninth Annual Journalism Excellence Awards (AJEA) in Nairobi on Tuesday evening, eight came from Standard Group.

Photograph of the year at the AJEA 2021. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) honoured print and broadcast journalists separately in most of its categories.

In the print section, The Standard Journalists who took top honours are Caroline Chebet, Kamau Muthoni and Denish Ochieng.

Denish Ochieng, Photographer of the Year. (Jeniffer Anyango, Standard)

Chebet was the first to head to the podium after winning the Development Reporting Award in the print category for her story ‘Inside restoration plan to save chocking Tana Delta,’ which was published in The Standard.

Muthoni bagged an award in the Governance Reporting category for the story ‘Heir to Sh2 billion estate dragged through courts for 24 years,’ while Timothy Otieno was awarded for the story Access Denied in the Television section.

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In the Sports Category, Television section, Moses Isaiah was awarded for his story on the life of World Marathoner, Eliud Kipchoge while Levis Musumba won the Best MCK Grantee Award.

Denish Ochieng’s spectacular image of a pupil wearing worn-out sandals outside a school site in Kisumu County saw him walk home with the Photojournalist of the Year Award.

And the Journalist of the Year Award in the Television section went to Timothy Otieno, along with the cameraperson who shot the video of his story Access Denied.

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In this year’s awards, there were 21 categories for Print, Television and Radio. There are new categories that were introduced, like the Covid-19 Reporting and another, Podcasts to fit in the new platforms introduced in the newsrooms. There were 18 winners from an initial pool of 1119.

Chief Guest Philomena Mwilu said as lockdowns became the norm, the importance of the media was further magnified.

KTN’s Timothy Otieno, Journalist of the Year TV category. (Jeniffer Anyango, Standard)

“You kept us informed, your characters entertained, you kept us accountable. We need to reflect this republic recognition and appreciation by taking better care of journalists and media practitioners,” said Mwilu.

“What did we do as consumers of the sweat of the brow of journalists to appreciate to them? Don’t journalists belong in that category (essential workers)? Did they not bring us the information concerning the pandemic, how to stay safe? They fit on all sectors, is that not commendable?” Mwilu posed.

KTN Cameraman David Otieno, Journalist of the Year TV category. (Jeniffer Anyango,Standard)

MCK Chief Executive David Omwoyo said it is interesting that while the very best has very good quality and display of journalism, currently, we are seeing journalism in very difficult situations.

“We are facing economic challenges in the newsrooms. There is a lot of technological revolution, some of us not very sure what to do, or rather technology moves so first,” said Omwoyo.

He said apart from Covid-19, there is also a pandemic of fake news.

“But in the midst of all these, we have seen, extremely high quality pieces of journalism, and we hope that the awards today, the recognition, will have more people encouraged to practice their work,” said Omwoyo.

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