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The Gleaner takes lion's share of PAJ awards - Nationwide's Fitz Henley is Journalist of the Year

Published:Monday | November 28, 2016 | 11:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
The Gleaner team which won several awards at the National Journalism Awards Ceremony, held on Saturday at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston. From Left (front row) are: Dr Michael Abrahams, Jovan Johnson, Dania Bogle, Ryan Jones, Shereita Grizzle, Tameka Gordon, Errol Crosby; (back row from left) Damion Mitchell, Corey Robinson and Ian Allen.

The Gleaner's Ryon Jones, Abka Fitz-Henley from Nationwide News Network, and Kimmo Matthews from Loop News all produced excellent pieces of work in the last 12 months, which made it difficult for judges to name the Journalist of The Year.

However, it was Fitz-Henley who copped the coveted title on Saturday at the Press Association of Jamaica's National Journalism Awards Ceremony, which was held at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston. Jediael Carter of the Jamaica Observer was named Young Journalist of the Year.

The Nationwide News reporter who brought several issues to light, including 'Mystery Bugs Killing Babies at UHWI', said his priority is to always contribute to Jamaica's development and to maintain ethical standards within the profession.

"You know, when I am pursuing a story, an award is the last thing on my mind. Foremost is the zeal to make the country a better place and effect positive change. That said, I appreciate that in pursuing this zeal, this award has come," he said.

"Of course, I have to recognise the Supreme Being, [and] also Cliff Hughes (head of Nationwide News Network). He gave me an opportunity to contribute to national development at age 20. My family, I know, is pleased that this award has gone to me. They have put up with the demands that come with this profession and I salute them," he continued.

 

EXTREMELY SATISFYING

 

Jones was also a big winner as he made several trips to the stage to collect a number of awards, including four certificates of merit for the Carl Wint Award for Human Interest Feature Stories for the print section; the Award for Excellence in Reporting on Children's Rights; the President's Award for Investigative Journalism; and the Theodore Sealy Award for News for the print section. He was announced the winner for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment.

"It is an extremely satisfying feeling to be recognised by other persons in the profession for the work that I did throughout the year, especially because that work was not done with any award in mind. I did it because the stories were there to be told, and I very much love my job, so I immersed myself in it," said Jones.

"Whatever I achieve in the field of journalism, I never lose sight of the fact that without quite a few persons, it wouldn't have been possible. None more so than my editor, Arthur Hall, who has been an inspiration and a mentor. He's the reason why I am the journalist I am today," he declared.

Other standouts included Corey Robinson from The Gleaner, who won the Carl Wint Award for Human Interest Feature stories in addition to the Award for Excellence in Reporting on Children's Rights.

Zahra Burton from 18 degrees North took the President's Award for best Investigative Journalism. The Raymond Sharpe/Hugh Crosskill Award for Sports Reporting for the electronic section went to Shaun Grant of KLAS Sports Radio and Jordan Forte of Radio Jamaica (RJR). Sherdon Walker of The Observer was the winner for the print section, while Dania Bogle of The Gleaner received a certificate of merit. The Gleaner's Jovan Johnson was the winner of the Hector Bernard/Theodore Sealy Award for News.

>> See related photos on Page A6.