By Tabitha Oeri
Science Africa the leading media outlet in Science publications in Africa has flexed its muscles in Solutions Journalism (SoJo) reporting as its scribe entered the finalist achievers.
Henry Owino was among nominated as the outstanding journalists in this year’s (2021) Media Council of Kenya’s (MCK)-Annual Journalism Excellence Award (AJEA). He was rated first runners-up along other contestants from television and radio under Covid-19 Reporting Category.
Owino achievement in SoJo story reporting comes barely a few months after Science Africa started recruiting and training journalists on SoJo stories, both in print and broadcast from various media outlets across Africa. This indicates milestone improvement in the new story bit coverage that might soon be offered a special category in the subsequent AJEA awards.
The outstanding Science Journalist worked on a SoJo story on Covid-19 pandemic in Kibera informal settlement situated in Kenya’s capital. The story focused on community-driven initiatives thus to provide water, sanitation, masking and awareness in Kibera, the largest informal settlement in Africa.
The story focused on how residents used every available resources in helping to protect vulnerable residents from Covid-19 pandemic. They never waited for politicians or well-wishers to provide for them personal protective equipment (PPEs)but made their own.
The story titled; “Into Their Own Hands: Kibera, Kenya’s Largest Slum, Tames COVID-19”. The links are; Links: https://scienceafrica.co.ke/into-their-own-hands-kibera-kenyas-largest-slum-tames-covid-19-2/
The story has been published in three different media outlets and now recognized by MCK-AJEA Awards 2021 as a finalist. Owino said this was the most memorable experience in his journalism career though he has several other outstanding achievements in the media industry.
“I would like to encourage fellow journalist to always understand their story ideas, angles, and know their audience for the story engagement. Journalists should start focusing on SoJo stories as many audiences are fed up of political stories and stories that are stressful. People want solutions to problems,” Owino emphasized.
According to Maina Muiruri, MCK Chairman, the Council received a total of 1,119 entries following the call for submissions announced on 8 March, 2021. Out of the entries received 120 stories were shortlisted and subjected to a two-phase judging process.
Sixty (60) winners from various media houses across the country were awarded. The awards marked the peak of celebrations of this year’s World Press Freedom Day held on 3 May 2021.This year’s theme is; “Information as a Public Good”
The event organized by MCK was presided over by the Acting Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Kenya Lady Justice Philomena Mwilu which also marked the climax of World Press Freedom Day celebrations.