HARARE – In a further confirmation that the Daily News is the best newspaper in the country by a mile, the popular paper’s journalists scooped the highest number of awards at the 2012 National Journalism and Media Awards (Njama) held in Harare on Friday.
The Njama awards gave credence to Zamps’ latest readership report which confirmed that the Daily News is not just the fastest-growing newspaper in the country, but also the only national daily that is registering readership growth in the country.
Four of the newspaper’s nominated star journalists — Bridget Mananavire, Farayi Machamire and Eric Chiriga – together with famed photographer, Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, won first prizes and $3 000 each, while the paper’s veteran entertainment editor, Margaret Chinowaita, was awarded a runner-up prize.
The Daily News, which marked its first re-launch anniversary this year – following nearly eight years of forced closure by President Robert Mugabe’s government – took the biggest share of the awards. The paper had the highest number of nominations at six, and also won the highest
number of awards at Friday’s glittering ceremony.
The Herald and Manica Post were tied in second position, with three awards each; the Financial Gazette had two; and ZBCTV and the Sunday Mail one each. Other winners came from the Chronicle and Pungwe News.
Alpha Media, which publishes News Day, The Standard and the Zimbabwe Independent did not get a single award.
Chiriga won the Baobab Reinsurance Group Insurance Reporter of the Year; Machamire scooped the FBC Sports Reporter of the Year; the Photographer of the Year award – sponsored by ZUJ – went to Mukwazhi; and Chinowaita won the Delta Corporation Arts and Entertainment Reporter of the Year Runner-up award.
Mananavire, who won the Environment Reporter of the Year award was given the special honour to give closing remarks to the gala.
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) Group Editor, Stanley Gama – who attended the event – said the awards merely confirmed what was already known by the public, that ANZ’s newspapers and journalists were “the best in the market by far”.
“Facts are stubborn, no matter how much this may hurt our would-be competitors. It has now been established beyond doubt, through a number of credible and independent processes, that the Daily News is the best and most popular newspaper in Zimbabwe – notwithstanding that it is in reality the youngest daily on the market following its unjust and malicious closure by the government in September 2003.
Indeed we only came back at the end of March last year, well after our would-be competitors had attempted to fill the void occasioned by our barbaric closure.
“It is now clear to all that we have recaptured our position as Zimbabwe’s number one media brand by a mile in a mere 18 months since we came back. Just like Zamps confirmed our unparalleled popularity with readers, NJAMA has now also confirmed the leading quality and depth of our articles and visuals,” he said.
Gama thanked his young newsroom team members for their dedication, diligence, hard work and resilience in the face of hostility from the enemies of Zimbabwe’s emerging democracy.
“We face people who try to knock us down all the time because we tell it like it is, and in a way no other competitor has so far managed to do. Quite admirably, my colleagues have withstood this onslaught from these lowlifes without flinching, helping to water and nurture our fledgling democracy in the process.
“I congratulate the winners and wish them not just more accolades in future, but also more power to their pens. Similarly, great credit goes to those of my colleagues who work very hard behind the scenes to make us shine this well.
“Greater things are in store for us as a team particularly when one takes into account that two of our winners, Bridget and Farayi are fresh from college and have thus been in the trenches for less than a
year,” he said.
Gama added that the brutal closure of the Daily News nearly a decade ago had only served to strengthen the paper, which was now back with “a stronger bang”.
“Ours is truly a miracle story. Our detractors and haters thought that we could never come back, and that if we did we would not last. Well, these misguided people are now probably choking on their spittle as they witness our stunning progress – all proudly achieved without a cent of the so-called regime change or donor funds, or even diamond funds for that matter, that these lowlifes talk about all the time!” he said.