Standard Group journalists feted for science stories

KTN News reporter Philip Keitany (right), his cameraman Japheth Makua (second right) during the presentation of the dummy cheque for the overall winners of OFAB Kenya media awards. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Standard Group journalists excelled at a science journalism awards fete bagging the two top most trophies for their reporting on agricultural biotechnology.

KTN’s senior business reporter Philip Keitany and cameraman Japheth Makau were jointly named the winner while Radio Maisha’s Rose Mukonyo scooped the first runner-up award at the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) awards Thursday night.

The awards, which are the Kenyan chapter, recognise journalists for their consistence in reporting and sensitising the public on agricultural biotechnology.

Apart from winning the top honours, Keitany and Makau also jointly won a cash prize of Sh100,000 as first and second runners up bagged Sh75,000 and Sh50,000 respectively.

The winners will be invited to participate in OFAB Africa Media Awards (OMAs) scheduled for September 2018 in Burkina Faso with the overall winner being nominated to compete in the Awards.

Philip Keitany, Japheth Makua (C) and Rose Mukonyo with their awards. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Speaking at the awards Agriculture Research Principal Secretary Prof Hamadi Boga underscored the importance of collaboration between scientists and journalists in reporting on biotechnology.

“Most of the time what we see is scientists talking to themselves. This is a very important initiative where we are able to reach the public through the journalists,” he said.

Dr Margaret Karembu, the OFAB Kenya Chapter chair, acknowledged the role of media in building up public awareness on agricultural technology saying that media coverage about the technology had risen over the past one year.

“Journalists have a critical role in creating awareness and shaping public and policy opinions that can lead to speedy adoption of agricultural biotechnology,” she said.

The awards come a week after Standard Group journalists posted a strong showing at the 2018 Annual Journalism Excellence Awards (AJEA) where the journalists bagged 8 awards including the prestigious Journalist of the Year award given to KTN's Hussein Mohamed and Sharon Momanyi.

The duo was awarded for their story titled Coaled Case that offers an indepth critical look at the 1050MW coal plant being built in Lamu County.