The seven have been selected after a rigorous scrutiny by an independent panel of judges comprising two journalism scholars from the Polytechnic, a constituent of University of Malawi, and an experienced editor. The judges—Ellard Manjawira, Mclan Kanyang'wa and Centre for Solutions Journalism Executive Director Brian Ligomeka—have been sitting in Blantyre since between January and February 2019 to determine the winners.
Winning journalists are Times Group’s Williams Gondwa in the Best Commentary/Columnist category that assessed overall league analysis, Mibawa Television’s Peter Fote as Best Journalist in the Television Category, Capital Radio’s Mcfarlene Mbewe and Rainbow Television’s Snowden Kadzakumanja as Best Television Cameraman. Nation Publications Ltd dominated the awards by scooping three of the seven categories available namely Best Photojournalist in Bobby Kabango, Best Online Journalist in Pledge Jali and Best Print Journalist in Joy Ndovi.
Overall, the seven beat a field of 28 contestants who submitted a total of 111 individual entries, presenting one of the toughest choices for judges, according to Head of the three-member judging panel, Ellard Manjawira.
“This was one of the closest contests in media competitions we have come across in so far as judging sports journalists is concerned. We are satisfied with the high quality of submissions and we would like to encourage sports journalists and others that submit their work for similar competitions to have an eye for quality journalism and analysis over quantity,” said Manjawira, who is the Head of Journalism and Media Studies at the Polytechnic.
Presenting the awards, TNM Chief Officer (Sales & Marketing) Dan Makata paid tribute to the critical role of sports journalism in providing critical review of the TNM Super League, which helps to shape the football industry agenda in Malawi and offers valuable feedback for decision makers in sports.
“As a sponsor, TNM believes that an informed audience is valuable to the TNM Super League’s growth and overall development of football in the country. The media are the mirror that give a reflection of what is happening in the league for critical decision-making and action by us as sponsor, fans, club owners and administrators, and football authorities such as FAM, SULOM and FIFA,” he said.
Makata said TNM Plc supports the revision in the format of the media awards as it has been designed to promote high quality work amongst sports journalists, which in turn will reflect in the quality of information passed for decision making aimed at developing the game.
It is the first time that the media competition component of the TNM Super League has run as a separate event and judged by an independent panel, a sharp departure from the tradition when it was combined with club and player awards.
TNM Plc entrusted the running of the media awards component to their advertising and PR agency, FD Communications Ltd who coordinated work of the independent judging panel.
“Under the previous format, categories carried supporting winners or runners-up, which made it difficult to distinguish truly outstanding work deserving of reward and recognition. The new format emphasizes on quality sports journalism and analysis as opposed to quantity,” said Manjawira. Every category winner receives K200,000 cash, a trophy, certificate and TNM branded goodies.