Ms Gift Barry-Oba, a reporter with OgunWatch online news platform, has won the Most Outstanding Developmental Journalism Practitioner of the year award in Ogun State.
The award was presented to the promising journalist by the Prestige Newspaper on Sunday in Abeokuta, the state capital, alongside other journalists, civil servants, politicians and other personalities honoured by the 32-year-old newspaper, blazing the trail in grassroots journalism.
Published by a renowned journalist and author, Dada Olaonipekun, the Prestige Newspaper celebrated its 32nd year anniversary at the epoch-making occasion held at the NUJ Hall, Iwe-Iroyin, Okelewo, Abeokuta.
For the second year running, the media category of awards was sponsored by Mrs. Iyabo Odulate, a former head of service in the state.
Ms Barry-Oba, a graduate of Mass Communication from the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, clinched the award as the best development journalist of the year.
Some of her recent reports focused on menace of child labour on cocoa farms as well breeding prostitution among young ladies in Ogun State.
Bunmi Adigun of the OGTV won the Best Investigative Reporter of the Year (Broadcast), Micheal Azeez-Ogunsiji, the Chairman of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, won Best Sport Organizer of the Year.
Mrs Seun Boye was adjudged Public Relations Woman of the Year, while Consolidated chapel of NUJ won the most Outstanding Chapel of the Year.
Tunde Oladunjoye, the Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was awarded as the most Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year,
In her remarks, Mrs Odulate praised Prestige Newspaper as a grassroots publication that satisfies everyone and challenged other media outlets to model themselves after community newspapers in order to produce fair and impartial reporting.
In his Lecture tittled “The Role of Community Media In Nation Building”, the former Director of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Sir Eddy Aina noted that the media is not contributing enough to the development of the country.
“ We as elites and media, we are not doing enough in building this Nation. Nations are built when people have the spirit of give and take. Nations are built where justice is addressed, Nations are build when there is a conscious effort to build that Nation”
Speaking on media organisations lacking funding, he blamed the nation’s licencing system for the dearth of funding for media houses.
Oladunjoye charged the media houses to reiterate their duties and see their job as a tool for the unity of the Nation.
“What the media needs to do is to continue it basic obligation and expectation, education, information, entertainment and enlightenment. We will be continue to talk about what brings us together than what put us apart. Our colleagues should know that the media is very powerful. Don’t just assumed that what you are writing especially in this ages at the corner of your room it will have so many implications.
The Publisher of Prestige Newspaper, Dada Olanipekun, while narrating his journey and sustainability in the chosen career encouraged his junior colleagues to use ideas as their source of sustainability instead of receiving peanuts, also known as ‘brown envelopes’, in exchange for their services.
“The journey has been tough and has turned me to somebody who has passion for this Journalism business, who believes in it and who has been able to identified.
“If you are a professionally trained person, you will want to practice and you won’t deviate from the ethical aspect of your profession. Honestly, I feel proud and I i feel good that God has been wonderful to me in terms of sustainability of the Newspaper. Papers are dying and many things are wrong by either the publishers or reporters.
“It is our social responsibility to root for the citizens. They have nobody because they go up and down, they will come for you. The media must look at the pain people are going through and be able to identify the pain of the masses because the media too is within the masses. We are human beings too and we must make sure that the interest of the masses is our priority. You are practicing and you are not bothering about human beings or communities but you are only bothering about the government, I’m afraid because those in government will leave and become citizens too and they will be running after you.”
Highlight of the event was the unveiling the new edition of the Prestige Newspaper.