FROM CONFLICT zones to corporate boardrooms, spanning print, broadcast and digital, journalists who have upheld the highest standards of their profession will receive the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards from President Ram Nath Kovind in New Delhi on January 20.
Administered by the Ramnath Goenka Memorial Foundation, and instituted as part of the centenary year celebrations of the founder of The Indian Express to celebrate outstanding contributions in Indian journalism, the awards are now in their fourteenth year.
This time, with prize money of over Rs 25 lakh, the awards have over 16 categories covering critical areas in print, digital and electronic media, including business and economics, sport, political reportage, film and TV journalism, civic journalism, environmental reportage, journalism in conflict areas, and regional-language reporting.
In 2006, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presided over the first edition of the awards. Last year, Union minister Rajnath Singh was the chief guest, and handed over awards to 29 winners in 18 categories.
The winners were chosen by an eminent jury that included Tom Goldstein of the Jindal School of Journalism & Communication, OP Jindal Global University; SY Quraishi, former chief election commissioner; Pamela Philipose, journalist and senior fellow at the Indian Council of Social Science Research; and former Supreme Court judge justice BN Srikrishna.
“Like every year, judging the winners turned out to be a difficult job. The standard of entries is very high, and the documentation is really good. It was an interesting and educative experience,” said Quraishi.
Goldstein, who has previously served as dean of journalism schools at Columbia and Berkeley, said, “The best entries were on a par with the quality of those in the contests I have judged in the United States.”
Philipose said that “Express has been at the forefront of news reporting, and through these awards, what they are able to do is to actually further this process by highlighting the best”.
What was interesting about this year’s entries, said Philipose, was that “new themes and trends were explored in the stories — how do we look at our world in a more granular way”. “Another new thing that we have this time is the prize for student magazines, that is encouraging journalism at the root,” she said.