Uganda National Journalism Awards 2018 open for entries

African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) is pleased to announce the call for entries and nominations to the Uganda National Journalism Awards 2018.

The annual Uganda National Journalism Awards were launched five years ago. They are aimed at improving the quality of journalism in Uganda by inspiring and recognising excellence in reporting that informs and empowers the public, increases the voices and spaces for information, and holds the powerful to account.

“This is the premier journalism award scheme in the country and the awards gala is arguably the biggest event on the media calendar in Uganda,” says ACME Executive Director Peter G. Mwesige.

“We recognise excellence in our journalism through a professional, transparent and credible process,” he adds. “Our independent panel of judges comprises eminent Ugandans who are or have been leaders in the fields of journalism, media and communication.”

Dr Mwesige says with support from partners, including media houses, ACME continues to invest considerable resources (human and financial) to ensure that the process of rewarding excellence in journalism remains of the highest standards.

This year a new category, Breaking News, has been introduced to the Awards.  It recognises skill in storytelling, substance and completeness in covering an unanticipated, unplanned or developing new event within the day. The emphasis of this awards is not only on the ability of journalists to report under the pressure of deadlines, but on subsequent days, their ability to sustain reporting that illuminates key issues pertinent to the original event in a manner that provides context and depth.

Two categories were renamed, broadened or refined for clarity of description and scope. News Illustration is a new category that has been expanded from Editorial Cartooning to include news cartoons, comics, live sketches, graphics and illustrations. What was previously the Photojournalism category has been expanded and renamed photo and video journalism to recognise excellence in visual storytelling.

The 2018 awards are open to all professional journalists working in print, television, radio and online news platforms in Uganda for stories published or broadcast between 1 January and 31 December 2017. The objectives are to:

  • increase the quantity and quality of public affairs reporting and investigative journalism;
  • promote accurate, knowledgeable and enterprising investigative reporting in all media;
  • advance innovation in storytelling and news presentation;
  • motivate aspiring and young journalists to attain and uphold standards of excellence in their profession; and
  • increase the diversity of voices in media coverage and spaces within which journalists operate.

Awards categories

The Uganda National Journalism Awards 2018 will be given to the best reporting in 20 categories, namely:

1.      Agriculture reporting 11. Health reporting
2.      Arts reporting 12. Investigative reporting
3.      Breaking news reporting 13. Justice, law and order
4.      Business, economics and financial reporting 14. Local reporting
5.      Data journalism 15. National news reporting (Broadcast)
6.      Education 16. National news reporting (Print)
7.      Energy, oil, gas and mineral resources 17. News illustration
8.      Environment reporting 18. Photo and video journalism
9.      Explanatory reporting 19. Political reporting
10.  Feature writing 20. Sports

The judging process

An independent expert panel of 16 members will select winning entries based on accuracy, initiative, originality, clarity of interpretation, storytelling ability, public benefit, audience engagement, innovation, and writing and creative flair.

The prize

Both the winner and first runner-up in each category will receive a substantial cash prize. Plaques and certificates will also be given. A separate prize for exceptional journalism shall also be awarded to a participant in UNJA who exhibits extensive knowledge of his or her reporting beat, provides evidence of growth over the period of assessment, consistently produces quality work, and is highly regarded by others in the profession. Winners will be celebrated at a grand gala to be held in Kampala in April 2018. Additionally, winning entries will be published online and in a booklet to be distributed by ACME.

How to participate

All submissions must have been published or broadcast in a Ugandan media outlet or a regional outlet with a substantial Ugandan audience during the 2017 calendar year. Web-based news organisations that follow a strict code of journalistic ethics and publish original reporting on a regular basis may also submit entries.

To submit an entry for the awards, visit the Entry Rules and Submission Guidelines page on the ACME website.

Key dates for the Uganda National Journalism Awards 2018

  • Entries open: 21 November 2018
  • Entries close: 31 January 2018
  • Judging process: Februray – April 2018
  • Awards gala: May 2018

Further information

For more information about the Uganda National Journalism Awards 2018, write to, subject: UNJA 2018 inquiries.

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