Citation for Mark, winner 2016 JFC Young Journalist award




Since 2012 when she won the Coca Cola/ NBC Entertainment Reporter of the Year Award for The Nation Newspaper’s Campus Life section, Esther Mark has come very close to winning two local and one international media award without succeeding.

She was the Runner Up, in the Promasidor Quill Award as the Best Online Reporter, 2016, Finalist, Nigerian Breweries One million prize money Golden Pen Awards Report of the Year, 2016 and Nominee: 2015 EU Lorenzo Natali Media Prize (Africa Category).

For this hard working, tech-savy and development journalism enthusiast today’s award is not going to be yet another ‘almost won’ episode. A friend who is obviously aware of her serial runner-up position in previous award warned her in a facebook post “No story this time, you better win”.

Today, by God’s grace Esther has broken whatever jinx that has prevented her excellent reporting track record from being rewarded with a first prize.

She is the third winner of the Journalists for Christ Innovative Young Journalist Award. Based on the scores the award judges the race for the first prize was a photo-finish between the nominees but Esther won based on the high quality of her reports complimented with graphic pictures.

According to one of the judges “Esther Mark’s The Superheroines of Jos Who Break Stones to Feed, Educate Their Families represents the true essence of a detailed reporting that takes the readers on the journey. Although long but it is clear, factual and easy to understand.

“ It is result-focused and represents what students of journalism were taught in school but only determined few like Esther willing to embark on outside the classroom.”

Another judge wrote about her impactful stories saying it is “Broad and deep alongside picture evidence!”

Without doubt, Esther’s entry typifies the high quality of impact-driven journalism still needed in this era of multi-media reporting.

“ To tell their stories ( Of Superheroines of Jos who break stones to feed and educated their families” , I was embedded with them over five months, getting to know them and their families, and having a holistic picture of their lives.

“ I studied, researched, conducted interviews, sought ethical clearance from the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) Ethical clearance committee to have the medical results of the women delivered to a third party (me),  took them for medical check-ups at JUTH, paid for  both medical bills and prescribed drugs.

“ I was a participant observer by joining them in the quarries as an apprentice, breaking rocks and sharing in their daily routines to get the real details. Though failed by the sociopolitical system, they won’t give up on themselves or their children’s future.

“ Already, a group known as Celebrate Plateau Woman – CPL, has indicated interest in helping the women, while expecting government to come to their aid- after the story was shared over 1500 times, sparking discussions on the Plateau.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the winner of the 2019 JFC Innovative Young Journalist Award, MARK, ESTHER ONYINYECHI.