Nigeria’s best student journalists to be honoured (LIVE UPDATES)

The winners from L-R: Adekunle Adebanjo; Best Oponion Piece, Okafor Chiamaka; Best Community Journalism story and Best campus reporter, Kabir Adejumo, Best investigative story, most prolific writer and best male campus reporter during the campus journalism awards.
The winners from L-R: Adekunle Adebanjo; Best Oponion Piece, Okafor Chiamaka; Best Community Journalism story and Best campus reporter, Kabir Adejumo, Best investigative story, most prolific writer and best male campus reporter during the campus journalism awards.

The best student journalists across Nigeria will be honoured on Thursday in Abuja.

The event is organised by the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ).

The campus journalism awards ceremony would be chaired by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, and holds at the Stonehedge Hotel, Central Business District, Abuja.

According to the organisers, the award signifies the end of the pilot phase of PTCIJ’s NextGen programme; created to help nurture and facilitate the emergence of a well-equipped and empowered generation of journalists capable of leading the media to new heights across the country.

Seven categories of awards are to be given. These include: Best Opinion Piece; Best Community Journalism Story; Best Investigative Story; Most Prolific Writer; Most Active Campus; Best Female Campus Reporter; and Best Male Campus reporter.

All the reviewed stories are those published on the website, maintained by the PTCIJ.

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The ceremony has been named after the late Alfred Opubor in honour of his pioneering contributions to the profession of journalism.

Alfred Esimatemi Opubor was the first Nigerian Professor of the Department of Mass Communication at the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

The award programme is actively supported by Ford Foundation and executed in partnership with the National Union of Campus Journalists.

PREMIUM TIMES brings you live updates of the event from 4:00 p.m.

4:15pm – It’s a clear evening at the Stonehedge hotel in Abuja. The temperature at present is 24 degrees celsius, though it is expected that the evening will get cooler with time

4;17pm – Though the event is meant to start by 4 p.m. but dignitaries are just coming. On ground is the publisher of Premium Times, Dapo OLorunyomi as well as Ayo Ojebode, a professor of Communication and Language Art at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State.

4:52: Though the programme is yet to start, people are still trooping in.

Coming into the hall is the Editor – in-Chief of Premium Times, Musikilu Mojeed. With him are the children of Alfred Opubor, after whom the campus journalism award is named.

Alfred Esimatemi Opubor was the first Nigerian Professor of the Department of Mass Communication at the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

5:14 The moderator, Adenike Aloba, takes the stage. She said everyone is aware of late Alfred Opubor’s immeasurable contributions to journalism.

5:17 – She expressed her appreciation to all the mentors of the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism campus programme.

5:19- Event has started, Mrs Aloba calls to the podium the Executive Director of Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, Dapo Olorunyomi, to give his opening remark

5:21-Mr Olorunyomi welcomes attendees to the Alfred Opubor Campus Journalism Awards.

Mr Olorunyomi says the significance of Alfred Opubor cannot be undermined as he helped in establishing journalism programme in Unilag.

5:25 – Mr Olorunyomi commended the Editor-In-Chief of Premium Times for his commitment to the Job and his belief in revolutionalising journalism.

5:29pm – Mr Olorunyomi said there was serious ethical challenge and corruption and this was affecting the journalism profession.

He said there was lack of resources to the job. For you to be able to do journalism, you need resources, he said.

5:37– The idea behind PTCIJ is for us to renew the whole idea of story telling and how they are redistributed, he says. We realise that there were clashes between the teachings in the classrooms and what is happening in the newsroom, Mr Olorunyomi say

5:38pm– Mr Olorunyomi said a website was created for campus reporters where their stories are published.

5.40pm- John Opubor, son of the late Alfred Opubor, takes the stage for his speech.

5:45 pm- Mr Opubor said his father “Alfred Opubor” always told him about the process to gain knowledge and process knowledge. My father always talked about integrity, he says.

5:41-“You can’t talk about journalism without integrity,” Mr Opubor says.

Mr Opubor said his father was always interested in conversing with young minds.

I hope that this can re-energise journalism in Nigeria and I think he will be eternally grateful, he concluded

5:50pm- Mercy Njoku, General Manager, Capital FM, takes the stage for her speech.

5:57pm- Ms Njoku talks about the ethics of journalism. She said young minds need to understand the term ‘responsible journalism’ because some journalists practice irresponsible journalism.

5:57pm- She says the future of journalism is the new media and urged young journalists to key into it.

6:00pm: She said young minds should know that journalism should be fact-based and not profiling.

She said most journalist do not get paid which can cause lots of misconduct in the course of production

“How will a journalist be earning 25k in Abuja,” she lamented.

She said when journalists are diligent, hardworking and creative, they will go places.

She urged journalists to desist from blackmail.

“In whatever you do, you are setting up your testimonials,” she says

Also taking the stage is a member of the judging panel, Fisayo Soyombo, editor of Sahara Reporters.

6:00pm – Mr Soyombo said he is encouraged by the calibre of people of people seeking to study journalism.

“A lot of times, I fear for the future of this profession; but with these student journalists, I have hope for the future,” he concluded.

6:06pm– Giving the general briefing on the selection process, Adedeji Adekunle from PTCIJ said some of the benchmarks used in scoring the stories include quality of writing, news worthiness, necessity, impact and depth

6:14pm – Mr Adekunle said it takes lots of passion, dedication, and hard work to write stories and hold authorities accountable.

He commended the campus journalist editor, Hassan Adebayo, for his dedication.

6:17pm- According to him, some of the judges are Mahmud Jega from Daily Trust, Motunrayo Alaka, Chido Onumah and Lanre Arogundade.

6:20pm Also speaking is a professor from Bayero University, Kano, Umaru Pate.

Mr Pate said good journalism matters. He said good journalism requires integrity, creativity, truthfulness and knowledge.

He explains that bad journalism is disruptive and poisons the mind of the public.

“I tell my students that a good journalist must be versatile, as journalism entails information,” he said

He said it is sad that what we see in journalism is poverty.

6:37 pm- The moderator takes back the stage to announce the special recognition award, which goes to Akin Akinbulu, the Executive Director of Institute of Media and Society and Lekan Otufodunrin, Editor of the Nation Newspaper.

6:40pm The moderator takes the stage to announce the best opinion piece which goes to Adekunle Adebajo

6:40pm – The best community journalism story award goes to Okafor Chiamaka for the story “UNIZIK community laments 21- Day power outage.”

6:42pm – The best investigative journalism award goes to Kabir Adejumo for the story “Nigerian university website hacked.”

The most prolific campus reporter goes to Kabir Adejumo of OAU

The most active campus award goes to Obafemi Awolowo University.

The best female campus reporter goes to Chiamaka Okafor and the best male campus reporter goes to Kabir Adejumo.

After the award, the moderator calls on the programme director of PTCIJ for a closing remark

The award dinner has commenced with people eating and interacting with one another.

Joshua Olufemi of PTCIJ thanked attendees for coming and wished them safe journey to their respective homes.

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