PREMIUM TIMES’ assistant editor, investigation desk, Taiwo Hassan-Adebayo, has emerged the Investigative Reporter of the year at the 2021 Diamond Awards for Media Excellence (DAME).
Mr Hassan-Adebayo, who won the same category in 2020, is one of the very few Nigerian journalists to record such a feat in the 30 years of DAME’s existence.
His investigative report on the alleged multibillion naira railway fraud that lingered from the regime of former President Goodluck Jonathan to the current President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration won against entries from Samson Folarin of the Punch newspapers and Olatunji Ololade of The Nation newspapers.
“This is back to back success at the DAME, having won the same prize in the 29th edition last year,” said Lanre Idowu, editor-in-chief of Media Review, the organisers of the award.
Meanwhile, at the event, which held at the Shell Hall, Muson Centre, Lagos, two other journalists with PREMIUM TIMES- Ade Adesomoju, head of judiciary, human rights and anti-corruption desk, and Medinat Kanabe of the development desk, also emerged runners-up.
While Mrs Kanabe was ranked second in the Nutrition Reporting Category, Mr Adesomoju came third in the Judicial Reporting Category.
The entries by Mr Adesomoju and Mrs Kanabe were published by their former employers- The Punch and The Nation newspapers, respectively.
In his reaction, Mr Hassan-Adebayo commended the brains behind DAME for what he described as their consistency within the last 30 years, saying it takes focus, determination and integrity to “be so consistent.”
He also thanked his colleagues and the management of PREMIUM TIMES for supporting his vision to excel on the job, pledging to do more in the new year and the years to come.
He said; “I’m grateful to the DAME organisers for what they have been for 30 years, consistently honouring and decorating journalists across generations for their good work.
“And on a personal note, I feel honoured and I am even more determined to do more in the area of digging and reporting. I dedicate it to my colleagues with whom I work at PREMIUM TIMES and the fixers, who facilitated my reporting on the railway fraud across eight states.”
11 categories without a winner
Speaking at the award ceremony, Mr Idowu said 24 categories were advertised in the award but that only 13 categories had worthy entries.
He said DAME did not find entries for 11 categories that were worthy of its awards and that the organisation has resolved to put in place a programme to improve quality of entries in the coming year.
He said journalists are very important people in the society and that they deserve to be rewarded for the good work that they do.
Other winners at the event included Adedoja Salaam-Adeniyi of Television Continental who won the Lagos Reporting category of the award, and Afeez Hanafi of The Punch newspapers who won the Nutrition category.
Also, Oladimeji Rahman of The Punch Newspapers, won the Judiciary Reporting category, among other winners of the night.
The winners received plaques, certificates, and cash awards while those categories that enjoy corporate sponsorships such as nutrition and child trafficking come with additional tools such as laptop and tablets.
Also, copies of the book, titled; “Media on My Mind- Ethics, Governance, and other Matters (2009-20017)” written by Mr Idowu, were also presented to the winners.
Newly introduced categories
Beginning with the 30th award, DAME has also introduced a category called the Honorary Fellowship award with four veteran journalists awarded as pioneer recipients.
The recipients included the former managing director of the Guardian Newspapers Ltd and Lade Bonuola, who was honoured with the 2021 Lifetime Achievement award.
Others who received the honorary fellowship are the editor-in-chief of Vanguard Newspapers, Gbenga Adefaye; Lagos State Information and Strategy commissioner, Gbenga Omotoso, and the septuagenarian former editor of the Nigerian Tribune, Folu Olamiti.