Tuesday, July 23, 2024
Ignite the mind.

22-Year-Old IBBUL Graduate Scoops Top Honour at Aisha Wakaso Awards for Young Female Journalists

Challenges the over-dependence on AI generated stories while inspiring the next generation of young female journalists to take on the baton of media reporting and storytelling based on high ethics and practices of journalism.

Twenty two years old Salamatu Abdullahi Abubakar, a recent graduate of Mass Communication of the Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida University has emerged overall winner of the 2nd Edition of the Aisha Wakaso Award for Young Female Journalists.

The first and second runners-up Ruth Moses Seyi and Habiba Abdul respectively, also recent graduates, clinched the 2nd and 3rd place awards meant for young, up and coming female journalists between the ages of 18 to 29 years based in Niger State.

Abubakar’s essay came top among the 12 entries that were submitted for the competition based on the theme of the essay: “Paving the way for Gender Equality in Media Representation.”

The Judges which include a retired journalist with the Niger State Broadcasting Corporation (Radio Niger), Sa’adatu Alhassan, the Managing Director of Ultimate FM Minna and CEO of Lina TV, Celine Moses as well as a Lagos-based journalist and Media Trainer, Joke Kujenya stated that Salamatu’s report effectively highlighted the impact of gender inequality on women journalists, portraying them as marginalised and silenced within the industry.

First Place Winner, Salamatu Abdullahi Abubakar receive her prize from the organiser of the Wakaso Award for Young Female Journalists in Niger State, Ms. Aisha Wakaso at IBB PEN House, Minna, Niger State. June 12th, 2024. PC: Ashishana.

According to the Judges, “The entry stands out as the first-winning report due to its comprehensive analysis, evidence-based approach, practical solutions, and engaging presentation. It effectively educates, persuades, and inspires action, making a compelling case for gender equality in media representation.

“By providing concrete examples of discrimination and underrepresentation, the report creates empathy and understanding among readers, strengthening its persuasive appeal. Moreover, the report’s emphasis on the role of the media in shaping societal perceptions of gender adds depth to its argument.

“The entry recognizes the media’s influence as a double-edged sword, capable of perpetuating harmful stereotypes but also driving positive change. This nuanced understanding demonstrates a sophisticated grasp of the issue and enhances the report’s credibility”, the Judges stated.

Moses Ruth Seyi emerged the second winner while Habiba Abdul took the third winner spot.

The winners were announced during the award ceremony held at the IBB Pen House in Minna and were awarded cash prizes, a certificate and a book titled Distortion, an investigative Mental Health Crime Novel written by Lady Ejiro Umukoro, a Distinguished Changemaker Recipient of the United Nations Agency for Global Media published by LightRay! Media to inspire young female journalists to see more opportunities where their storytelling skillset can also add value in mainstream literary discussions. It will be noted that DISTORTION is endorsed by the Ministry of Eduation as the literature of study for schools.

Ruth Moses Seyi received her prize as the 2nd Place Winner from Founder of the Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation (HCAF), Baba Dzukogi, in Minna. June 12th, 2024. PC: Ashishana.
Third Place Winner of the Wakaso Award for Young Female Journalists, Habiba Abdul. Award ceremony was held at the IBB Pen House, Minna, Niger State. June 22th, 2024. PC: Ashishana.

The overall winner got N100,000 cash prize, second winner got N60,000 cash prize and third winner got N40,000 cash prize.

The Organizer and Special Adviser on Print Media to the Niger state Governor, Ms Aisha Wakaso said that the annual event which is meant to commemorate her birthday is aimed at empowering and encouraging young female journalists who are the future of journalism.

She lamented on the over reliance of young people on Artificial intelligence (AI) which reflected when the essays were submitted disclosing that out of the 12 entries received, six were disqualified because they were found to be 100 per cent written by AI.

“AI has come to make life easy but not to make you dumb. AI helps finetune what you have in you. The AI written entries were disqualified.

“I intend to groom young, courageous and bold ladies to take up the baton of journalism, young ladies who can move soar higher. I want to see young female journalists defend themselves and be better”, she stated.

In his keynote address, the Founder of the Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation (HCAF), Baba Dzukogi tasked young journalists to abide strictly by the tenets of the practice which demands that they become judges over the government and its activities.

“Journalists are street judges, they are among those who should ensure justice and equitable distribution of resources. I want to remind you to keep up to your responsibility because after the court, you are next.”

The Director of Administration in the Niger state Ministry of Communication, Hajiya Suad Yakawu applauded the Organiser for the award while urging the winners not to let the fire burn down but to embrace journalism and keep to its ethics.

The State Commissioner of Lands, Barrister Maurice Magaji harped on the need for the winners and other young journalists to place importance in discipline, career path and value for life pledging to support the award so that it would become a national award to encourage young female journalists across the nation.

Overall Winner of the 2nd Edition of the Aisha Wakaso Award for Young Female Journalists, Salamatu Abdullahi Abubakar. PC: Ashishana. June 12th, 2024, IBB PEN House, Minna, Niger State, Nigeria.

The winner of the competition, Salamatu Abdullahi Abubakar while appreciating the organizer for the award said she did not expect to win and appreciated God for the award.

Abubakar said that she is passionate about learning new things to broaden her knowledge horizon adding that she also finds delight in baking. According to her, she envisions a future as a successful Journalist “where my pen tells a story that makes a difference and gives voice to the voiceless.”

The third winner, Habiba Abdul says she intends to further her education adding that she wants to make a mark in the field of journalism and intends to be mentored by well known journalists.



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