Two Ugandan journalists have scooped the 2015 David Astor Journalism Awards that promote and support emerging journalistic talent in East Africa.
Solomon Arinaitwe, 25, a political reporter at the Daily Monitor and Gloria Nakajubi, 27, a features writer with the New Vision, were selected for their “evident talent, integrity, and long-term commitment to African journalism, and displaying the requisite qualities to excel in the profession”.
They, together with Daily Nation reporter Jacqueline Kubania from Kenya, undertake a six-week work experience attachments with newspapers in the UK and South Africa later this year.
The three journalists were selected after a rigorous six-month review and assessment of 40 locally nominated candidates. Their attachments are intended to expose them to different news reporting environments and opportunities to expand their professional capabilities.
Each of the winners already received a nominal cash award of $500 (Shs1.4 million) from the Joffe Charitable Trust.
On winning the award, Gloria Nakajubi said, “this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m so excited about it. I have huge expectations and I don’t want to take any minute of the three months for granted.”
She added: “This is actually not an award for me as a person but for New Vision and print journalism as a whole. I would like to be able to have an impact on this vocation that I have chosen for my life. I’m very grateful to the editors who gave me an opportunity to do what I love most, writing.”
For Solomon Arinaitwe his success is a gratifying acknowledgement of the work he has done in his three years as a journalist.
“This recognition, however, cranks up the pressure on me to improve on the journalism that I practice in an industry now dominated by young journalists,” he said. “With a placement at some of the best newsrooms in the world and the attendant exposure, I hope to come off as a better journalist with an influence on new journalists in the trade.”
The trio is now part of 16 previous award winners from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, supported by The David Astor Journalism Awards Trust, a UK-based charity.
Jim Meyer, the Executive Director David Astor Journalism Awards Trust, said these journalists “are clearly marked out for future leading roles in African journalism” due to their abilities, determination and potential.
“We are delighted to have the chance now at this formative stage to invest in and support their career development,” Meyer said in a statement released on 10 February 2015.
2014 winner, Sulaiman Kakaire, a reporter with The Observer, said the award opens opportunities for young journalists to learn and interact with colleagues in more established newsrooms in the UK and South Africa.
“The award is inspiring. It shows that you are worth it and can go far,” he enthused.
Kakaire added that the regional nature of the programme allows for the sharing of opportunities and reporting insights into the East African Community.
The runners-up of the 2015 award are Christine Mungai from Mail & Guardian Africa, Frankline Sunday from The Standard in Kenya; Emmanuel Ainebyoona and Frederic Musisi from the Daily Monitor in Uganda, each of whom received $250 (Shs700,000).
Past Ugandan winners
- 2014: Sulaiman Kakaire, The Observer
- 2013: Patience Akumu, The Observer
- 2012: Yasiin Mugerwa, Daily Monitor
- 2010: Raymond Baguma, New Vision
- 2009: Barbara Among, New Vision
- 2008: Tabu Butagira, Daily Monitor
About the awards
The David Astor Journalism Awards Trust was founded in 2006 to promote, strengthen and support independent journalism in Africa. It honours the late, distinguished editor of The Observer newspaper in London from 1948 to 1975, who was a lifelong champion of African development, human rights, and other social justice causes. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is Patron of the Trust.
SABMiller plc and Tullow Oil plc are principal sponsors of the awards this year.