Thumbs-up for innovative young journalists

Kelechi Amakoh reports on the inaugural Innovative Young Journalist Award won by fresh graduate and freelance journalist, Jennifer Ehidiamen

Three young journalists got rewarded for their innovative input to journalism in Nigeria in 2013 at a media award organised by the Journalists for Christ International Outreach (JFC International) in Lagos, Nigeria.

The inaugural ceremony of the Innovative Young Journalist Award meant to promote excellent multimedia practice among young journalists was held along with the end of year fellowship of the Christian journalists group in Lagos on Saturday, December 28, 2013.

Jennifer Ehidiamen, a graduate of Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Lagos and a New Media Fellow at International Reporting Project emerged the winner of the award.

She also writes for the Global Press Institute on health and development in Nigeria.

Ehidiamen’s entries for this award were said to be top of the range in terms of uniqueness of the topics, dept of research and multi-media presentation.

Her articles and books on diverse issues are not only in print but available on various online platforms including her blog

Her latest book Half a Loaf & a Bakery (Learning by doing before graduation) can be  downloaded  free  via android app and is on  Okadabooks ( via Googleplay store for free.

Hannah Ojo, a freelance journalist with The Nation Newspaper and Alade Abiodun of National Mirror Newspaper were the first and second runner-up respectively.

The winner got N30,000, a plaque and a certificate while the second prize was N20,000 and a certificate and N10,000 and certificate for the third prize.

Ehidiamen thanked God for the award saying “It will be foolhardy of me to ascribe the glory to myself.”

“I thank my senior colleagues and mentors for the standard they have maintained in this profession. I pray my generation will keep it up,” Ehidiamen stated.

It was commendation galore for Ehidiamen who in her citation was said not to be “ashamed of the gospel despite her accomplishments”.

According to her citation: “She doesn’t hesitate to quote Bible scriptures on her blog.  She believes God created Youth for a purpose and thus should not be wasted in frivolity.

“Timothy 4:12 “Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young.” She quotes on her blog. Her favourite quote is I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4.4),” .

Journalist and Educationist, Fola Adekeye who presented the plaque to winner noted that the exploits of the nominees signify a rebirth of journalism practice in the country.

“For those of us who are not able to withstand this technological advanced age, I urge us we endeavour to learn. Learning will improve our work and make us not to be obsolete in this ever changing world of journalism.”

An impressed Editor of Telegraph on Sunday, Emeka Madunagu hailed the efforts of the enterprising young journalists noting that the skills they have are ‘needed to excel in the new journalism world.’

“What this means is that journalism has a future in Nigeria. In the next ten to fifteen years when we will be off the stage, these younger ones will be able to carry on with the standard set and even raise it higher,” an optimistic Madunagu said.

Tolulope  Ojemuyiwa, Ehidiamen’s  lecturer at NIJ lauded her efforts and that of the runner-ups.

“The first day I met Jennifer, I knew that she was destined for the top. This is not the first time she is winning an award so I am not surprised. The sky is her stepping stone to success.  She has made me proud today.”

Publisher of Praise The Lord Newspaper, Julius Adegunna said he was particularly impressed by the ability of the winner to be “openly Christian in a secular media environment.”

“For Ehidiamen to be able to quote scriptures on her blog and other platforms shows that we can be excellent journalists and not be ashamed of the gospel as the source of inspiration, ”Adegunna noted.

President JFC International, Lekan Otufodunrin said the award was part of the group’s activities to promote excellence in the Nigerian media based on Christian principles.

“As Christian journalists we must excel in our work and be a good example to others based on the biblical principles which should be our guiding principles.”

He thanked members of the group for the support for the award and promised that more spiritual and career enhancing activities will be organised next year.