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Ministry staff clinches Best MCK Grantee-Award

A Kenya News Agency (KNA) journalist, has scooped the prestigious award for the Best Print story award during the just concluded Media Council of Kenya award gala.

William Inganga, won the award beating other contestants in the category during the 9th Edition of the Annual Journalism Excellence Awards (AJEA) on Tuesday, May 4,held at a Nairobi hotel. Stories in broadcast, print and digital platform formats by Journalists from all over the country had been submitted. More than 60 journalists from various media houses were awarded for excelling.

Inganga submitted Lupus: Battle with self and an elusive diagnosis, published in the Daily Nation on May 26, 2020 and When the cost of fighting to stay alive is too high published in the Daily Nation of August 18, 2020 and the Star of August 25, 2020.

William Inganga in the field at Kajiado Referral Hospital where he collected material about a team of Tuberculosis victims who had defaulted on taking their drugs.

He highlighted the plight of patients who contend with the high cost of treatment for ailments that are not covered by the NHIF.

“I wouldn’t like to be considered as having done anything special,” the journalist says. “I was simply trying to discharge my duty to the best of my ability, my responsibility as a content producer,” said Inganga who considers the award as “just a bonus.”

The multi-skilled film officer mainly covers health, agriculture and climate change. He intermittently reports on other topical issues.

Even though he’s a cameraman, Inganga scripts for television and for print media. He has contributed immensely to the generation of diversified content for both TV and print media.

His sterling performance received praises from department of information, friends and colleagues who poured congratulatory messages.

The Ag. Director, Department of Information, Mr Vitalis Ragul was proud to receive news of Inganga’s win. The Director said he is one of the most accomplished, hardworking and committed journalists in the Department of Information. “I was not surprised at all when he was named one of the best print-winners in the Annual Journalism Excellence Awards (AJEA). His win is a testimony at KNA that we hold excellence in news gathering, processing, packaging and dissemination to the public,” he said.

The Acting Director said he would be happy to see Information officers motivated and emulate Inganga in future. “As the Department of Information, we congratulate Inganga for winning this award and we see the rest of Information Officers being motivated by his feat,” he said. “We would like to see other officers win similar awards in future and in the process make KNA a source of credible and award winning news, feature and documentary material,” he added.

What began as a search for a story targeting the 2020 World Lupus Day culminated in the journalist’s award. He acknowledges support from senior Directorate of Information staff who provided critical linkages to medical specialists who often have very limited time to grant Journalists interviews. He singles out Ms Esther Wanjau, who he says literally walked with him to doctor’s offices and clinics in Aga Khan University Hospital and another to the Nelson Awori Centre and to the Nairobi Hospital. She also linked him to an autoimmune patient in the United States whom he interacted with through zoom.

Inganga’s resilience and hard work set a record to other journalists to go the extra mile in gathering, packaging and disseminating news to the public. ‘I am delighted about Bill’s award, I had distinguished honour of knowing what he was planning for the award and he impressed me, like in his previous submissions, William chose to work on area that is rarely given attention such as defaulting on Tuberculosis medication in Kajiado, A documentary that won praise all over. He just demonstrated that he was a force to reckon with in journalism. His quest to share information has sent him to far places including Turkana,” says Ahosi K’Obonyo an Assistant Director of Information at the KNA editorial desk.

The MCK seeks to identify, inspire and motivate journalists to uphold democracy, integrity and accountability.

In April 2020, the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) launched a health-reporting award in partnership with the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA).

The purpose of the award was to support at least 500 MCK-accredited journalists to report on the coronavirus disease. Invitations were sent to journalists across the country, to propose the stories they would wish to produce. The proposals were analyzed and applicants, who had the most captivating storylines, were awarded between Sh 1,000 and Sh 25,000, to facilitate their work.

The grant was to be used for travel, communication, and other related costs in the production phases of the stories. Two more grants followed later in the year. Inganga was among the second batch of successful applicants.

Speaking during the event while awarding winning journalists, Acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu congratulated the journalists for playing a key role in society by collecting, processing disseminating useful information.

While commemorating world Press Freedom Day, Mwilu challenged journalists to enhance professionalism by telling the truth to the public and also provide platform where upcoming journalists can join and grow in their career. “There is more to be made to make information you disseminate to be characterized as a public good,” she said, calling on private and public sectors to support media industry.

Mwilu challenged journalists to observe media ethics while covering stories and avoid being partisans in their reporting.

MCK Chairperson Mr Maina Muiruri appreciated the winners for the hard work they have done to shine in their work “the more you excel the better we come out as media in Kenya”. The chair challenged journalists to work hard and specialize in their work adding that this will help them churn reports that are informative and educative. “We are having journalists realizing they do better when they are specialised and we are here at the end of every year, to award you when you excel,” he said.

While recognizing the efforts put in the profession, Muiruri encouraged journalists to keep trying and work hard. “Excellence in journalism is hard to achieve” he stressed. He further told journalists to enhance professionalism and identification by forming groups like the newly launched Crime Journalists Association of Kenya (CJAK). “These days, we have journalists congregating together with identity. The other day we launched the Crime Journalists Association of Kenya,” he said.

This year’s competition which attracted print and broadcast entries was marked amid Covid-19 pandemic which made it challenging for many journalists, partners and sponsors to come and interact with media stakeholders.

By Ian Chepkuto

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