Three former staff of Newswatch, including Maureen Chigbo, editor of Realnews shine at media merit awards for excellence
| By Pita Ochai | Dec. 24, 2012 @ 01:00 GMT
SATURDAY, December 8, was a memorable day for journalists who distinguished themselves in the profession in the year 2011. On that day, Ideas Communications limited, organisers of the Nigerian Media Merit Award, NMMA, gave awards, in 51 categories, to journalists whose works were found to be excellent. The awards ceremony held at the Expo Centre of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, attracted media practitioners across the country.
Three of the awardees were former staff of Newswatch, who were outstanding in four categories. Maureen Chigbo, former general editor, Newswatch, and now editor, Realnews magazine, Chris Ajaero, former deputy general editor, Newswatch, and Anthony Akaeze, former principal staff writer, and Emmanuel Uffot, assistant editor, Newswatch, all went home smiling with awards. Chigbo won two awards out of the four nominations she had which includes Power Reporter of the Year and Columnist of the Year. She was adjudged Defence Reporter of the Year, and Oil and Gas Reporter of the Year. The two awards were on stories written when she was working for Newswatch magazine whose publication has been suspended by Jimoh Ibrahim, the new owner of the publication, after buying 51 percent of the company.
Chigbo, who had won five NMMA awards in the past, including print journalist of the year, and investigative journalist of the year, was happy that the 2012 award also lived up to expectations. To her, it marked a successful conclusion of a sojourn in Newswatch enroute Realnews, a new online newsmagazine. She said that the award proved that the reasons given for the closure of Newswatch was unprofessional.
Ajaero, and Akaeze, jointly won the Environmental Reporter of the Year while Uffot also won the Aviation Reporter of the year.
This year’s award marks the seventh for Uffot, who expressed happiness that his efforts in the profession had been recognised by the organisers of the award. According to him, each award encourages him to work harder in the profession. The awards were all based on stories written last year before Newswatch was shut down. In the Defence Reporter of the Year category, the two nominees are all staff of Realnews. Ishaya Ibrahim also an ex staff of Newswatch and Chigbo were both nominated but the latter clinched the award.
According to the organizers, there were 3,000 entries for all the 51 categories. Tell magazine carted away 13 awards, the highest that night. Tell also won the Newsmagazine of the Year. The Nation won in four categories namely, Industry Reporter of the Year, Cartoonist of the Year, Newspaper Reporter of the Year, and Columnist of the Year. The Punch newspaper also won in three competitive categories – Telecommunications Reporter of the Year, Editorial Writing of the Year, News Photographer of the Year. The Punch Editor, Joseph Adeyeye, was adjudged, Editor of the Year, beating Steve Nwosu of The Sun and Debo Adesina of The Guardian. The Punch capped it all with the Best Newspaper of the Year award, beating The Guardian and The Sun. The Guardian won in two categories: Sports Reporter of the Year, and Tourism Reporter of the Year. Vanguard newspaper won the Investigative Reporter of the Year, while the Culture & Tradition Reporter of the Year went to Sulaimon Olanrewaju of the Nigerian Tribune.