The Kenya Editors’ Guild (KEG) on Wednesday announced the inception of The Ng’weno Prize starting this year in honour of late veteran journalist Hilary Boniface Ng’weno.
The award, according to KEG President Churchill Otieno, has been launched in honour of Ngw’eno’s contribution in the growth of independent journalism.
Mr. Otieno said the prize shall be awarded annually during the Editors Convention and it will recognize “a journalist who demonstrates strength of mind and spirit in executing editorial leadership and innovation.”
“The ideal journalist would be an exceptional individual – having confronted editorial danger with ethical fortitude, and/or exhibited astute leadership at the newsroom, corporate or mentorship levels, and/or brought editorial rigour to entrepreneurship,” he said.
“The Trustees of the Editors’ Guild shall every January nominate a jury for ratification by the Executive Council, which jury shall then search for the fitting laureate. The jury’s decision shall be final.”
The KEG President described Ng’weno as a trailblazer for being among the first journalists to be promoted from reporter to the position of Editor-in-Chief of a local daily after only 10 months on the job.
He said the Ng’weno would, one year down the line, go on to leave the job because as it did not resonate with his vision.
“From 1965, he launched one of the most successful journalism careers ever established in this part of the world. Records show that he served a good 24 years as the Editor-in Chief of various publications from 1964-1988, a feat that has not been attained before, and it is unlikely that it will be, given the challenges of the work of the modem-day editor,” he noted.
Ng’weno served the Daily Nation from 1964-65, the Joe magazine from 1973-1979, The Weekly Review from 1975-1999, the Nairobi Times 1977-1983 and the Financial Review 1987-1988.
“His actions bore the symbol of courage, timeliness, relevance, balance, factualness, verifiability and dependability. During all these years, Hillary brought honor, dignity, respect and unparalleled incisiveness into the practice of journalism in Kenya and in the region, inspiring great minds upon whom media work thrives to this day,” stated Mr. Otieno.
“I stand here exultant that Hillary took it upon him to selflessly lay the foundation – working under the most difficult of circumstances hoping that Kenyan media houses may not have to endure the same experiences. His departure therefore must trigger, within all editorial gate keepers, a renewed zeal to stand steadfast to innovatively uphold the values that enhance honour, integrity and respect to the practice of journalism.”
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