Misa Awards to Honour Journalists

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK In recognition of journalism excellence in the country the 3rd Namibia Annual Media Awards 2006 was launched in the capital yesterday. The platform is now open for all journalists in all sectors of the media industry to apply for the numerous awards provided for under the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa). In raising the standards of quality journalism and professionalism in the industry, the latest media awards serve as benchmark against which local journalists can compare the professionalism of their work. At a press conference yesterday, the chairperson of Misa Namibia Robin Tyson said that the main idea behind such awards is that it is the only time in the year when journalists can be acknowledged for their hard work, skills and talents. Tyson reiterated that such awards would go a long way in fostering the culture of professionalism in journalism, especially for aspiring young journalists that need to look up to those that are already long in the industry. “Young journalists, just entering the profession, will be able to see exactly what we mean by good journalism and this will hopefully inspire them to reach even greater heights,” said Tyson, adding that there is also a need to boost the “flagging morale of the younger generation”. With a draft budget estimated at a quarter of a million, which will mainly go into the awards, the Misa Namibia Media Awards will be based on various categories to which journalists can hand in their work produced over the course of last year. Among them is the Specialist Writer of the Year Awards, including business, political, community, sports, cartoonist, photographer, best columnist of the year as well as the overall winning prize of the Journalist of the Year Award. For the younger journalists aged between 25 and 31, there is also the Young Journalist of the Year Award category. In order to prevent the handing in of fake entries to the competition, all applicants are required to have the endorsement of the News Editor. “This is being done to circumvent any false entries and this is standard requirement,” said the public relations officer of Namibia Strategic Business Communications Ferdinand Tjombe. He noted that there is broad range of 23 categories, while judging will consist of a preliminary screening process by judging committees before a final selection of winners from five short-listed candidates in each category will be done by the board of judges. Judges will consist of former journalists, media critics, industry practitioners, scholars and experts in the journalism and mass media communications field. Judging criteria will be based on six factors, namely, quality of research and investigation, originality, style, newsworthiness, creativity as well as balanced and fair reporting. Closing date for the 3rd Namibia Media Awards is on May 2nd 2006 while the main awards ceremony will be held on June 30, 2006 in the capital.