Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Award winning journalism

I was in London last Thursday for the Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards. It was a hot week in the city, and for some journalists who came over for the ceremony, the first time they had been to London.

It was great to put faces to names, and to have the opportunity to meet some of the leading journalists from around the world. Each had something insightful to say about the role of the media in Africa, their personal position, country, career.

Kerry Dimmer, winner of Best Infrastructure feature with ‘The Scramble for Blue Gold’ in African Decisions, South Africa, made a great speech commenting that these awards really help promote the journalists who win them. Uganda's Francis Kagolo from New Vision said the same of his award (Agribusiness / Environment feature) that it puts him in the field of greater journalists in Africa, all of whom should be working to put forward the best reporting.

When ‘Spark Africa Series’ by Peter Vlam and his team at Africa Interactive won Best Use of New Media in a Story, I didn’t quite realise the extent to how widely they work; 800 freelancers, mostly on the continent, so as well as creating content this is an exercise in capacity building and empowering local media.

Felix Dela Klutse of the Daily Guide Newspaper, Ghana, who won best business news story with ‘China Takes African Market by Storm’, got a great reception. Perhaps some fellow countrymen in the audience, or a general affinity with Ghana given their success in the World Cup (who were knocked out the next night, much to my dismay).

I was also privileged to meet with Oby Ezekwesili, the Vice President of the World Bank for the Africa region. Having been in conference calls and board meetings all afternoon, she arrived fresh and smiling, happy to have her photo taken with the finalists, after speaking about the economic opportunities on the continent.

Stephen O’Brien Permanent Under Secretary of State for International Development, who was born in Tanzania, talked about the role that government and business has to play, and the importance that the perception created by the media plays in investment decisions. He made the point that when sat round the boardroom table, looking where to put your money, you have about 3 minutes per country. Not long for in-depth analysis, therefore key indicators and headline reports are crucial.

Good to see some of the journalists represented at the awards last week already making that headline difference.


  1. I had a nice time there with Diageo and Africa Practice - keep up the initiatives.

  2. Hi Ali,

    It was great meeting you and the AP team!

    Bertil van Vugt
    Africa Interactive