Background

AJEA was launched in 2011 to recognize excellence in reporting on a wide variety of topics including development issues, inequality, human rights, governance, media freedom and poverty eradication. Since the inception of the awards, the journalism categories have been expanded and repeatedly redefined in response to emerging trends and the changing news environment.

This is the eighth AJEA which will be held in August under the auspices of the Annual Media Summit 2019. AJEA are a continuous annual celebration of journalistic excellence and achievement in Kenya. The awards culminate in a gala dinner organized to showcase professionalism in the media industry.

In the past, the gala events have seen journalists drawn from across the country celebrated and receive recognition for their outstanding work in print, digital and broadcast categories. The event provides a good opportunity for partners to interact with media stakeholders and industry players.

AJEA 2019

Judging of the Media Council of Kenya Annual Journalism Excellence Awards (AJEA) entries entered its final phase on June 24. A panel of judges comprising distinguished media professionals is evaluating the final shortlist of 188 entries.

More than 600 entries were submitted by Kenyan journalists by the June 7, 2019 deadline. The entries are spread across digital, print and broadcast. The first phase of the judging process came to a close on June 23 after all the entries were subjected to scrutiny by the first set of judges who read through, watched and listened to all entries in the 13 categories of the awards.

The MCK is mandated to set media standards and ensure compliance with those standards as set out in Article 34(5) of the Constitution and for connected purposes. In this regard the Council conducts the journalism excellence awards every year as a way to encourage and promote professional journalism in Kenya.

The Annual Journalism Excellence Awards by the Media Council of Kenya is the only major journalism awards event in Kenya which is open to all journalists, regardless of medium, and which has a focus on recognising work which is ethical, interesting to the public and in the public interest.

AJEA honours print, broadcast and digital stories that consistently demonstrate superior execution of editorial objectives, innovative techniques, noteworthy enterprise and imaginative design. The awards have 13 categories including Gender Reporting, Development and Devolution, Business and Governance, Photojournalism and Camera work and Health.   

The process

The process has two judging levels with panels comprising journalists not in active practice, media experts, trainers and academicians in journalism who review and select the outstanding entries. The judges, numbering 15 senior journalism professionals, are chosen for their independence and expertise, and formed into two panels. During the process the judges read print and digital texts, listen to radio and watch television story submissions to evaluate them against a criteria developed along the journalism code of ethics, creativity and style, investigative skills and good news writing skills.

The first panel evaluated all submitted materials according to the quality of information and how it contributes to raising awareness and interrogation of critical social issues affecting citizens and the country. This team shortlists stories in each category that demonstrate high quality of professional journalism and ethics and score highly on story writing techniques.

The second panel whose work commenced on June 24 will appraise all shortlisted stories looking for work which shows journalistic skill and rigour, is revelatory and which serves the public interest.  The judges will be looking for the most incisive comment which has brought new ideas and thinking to bear when discussing a matter of public interest. Other attributes such as originality, style, and quality of research and investigation will also be assessed.

Wining stories will be announced at the AJEA gala dinner to be held on August 9, 2019 and the writers awarded trophies, gifts and certificates in recognition of their excellence in journalistic work.