Quill awards not just for Lagos journalists
What propelled Promasidor Nigeria Limited to institute the Quill Awards?
In 2011, during the tenure of our immediate past Managing Director, Chief Keith Richards, who is now the Chairman, we sat to agree on what we could do to support our community as part of our CSR portfolio and strategy. In partnership with our PR Agency, we were able to get to the position where we decided to support the media. Since commencing our business in Nigeria, we have maintained a fantastic relationship with the media. Reporters and media organizations have helped us to penetrate every part of the country, as we strive to make our products available to millions of Nigerians. While we toil to build an enduring brand through hard work and dedication to our customers, the media complement us with their reportage and promotional messages of our products.
We then felt that if we could start something to encourage them; it will make a difference. We looked at the market place to determine how many awards were available for the media at the time and saw very few. It was in recognition of this that we launched the Quill Awards in 2012 as a platform for assessing, recognizing and rewarding excellence for outstanding journalistic work. The Awards seek to remind journalists of the importance of their role in society and to society, the need to encourage professionalism and appreciate outstanding work.
What is the expectation for this year’s edition?
Well, we want more participants and good entries. There are so many good write-ups that appear in the newspapers everyday and we want those people to enter for the awards.
Part of the feedback we got from the last two editions came from journalists who informed us that the venue of the awards influenced their fun for the day. So this year we are using Sheraton Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos, which is more central and easily accessible.
Secondly, we also realized we had alienated some sections of the media by holding the awards on a Saturday. Based on the feedback from some journalists, we decided that it should be brought to Friday.
Just like previous years, we have also maintained the existing seven categories. Also, the winner of winners, as was the case last year, will still attend the Thomson Foundation training. That has not changed.
This year the School of Media & Communications training is off. Is this not backtracking on the high feat already attained?
It is natural for recipients of awards or potential beneficiaries to assume that we are backtracking. But, these things are not done without careful thought and reasoning. The main challenge we had with the School of Media and Communications-SMC training is that we had winners who had previously attended their courses. Thus, they could not attend these same courses or training again. Getting another institution with the same profile of SMC was a bit daunting thus we settled on the overall winner still going for the Thomson Foundation training. Besides, we are committed to giving high-end laptops for the category winners as well as high-end camera for the best photojournalist.
There are complaints from contestants that uploading their entries is rebuffed usually by Internet connectivity?
The challenge on this was noticed in the first year. It made us quite unhappy because from our back end, our operations are robust enough to receive the entries even when we do our dummy runs we do not have any problems. But bandwidth and internet issues of some contestants were identified. Let me take you back, the reason for having e-platform is to take care of media men/journalists who are outside Lagos and South West.
What we want is the word format, and a scanned copy of the published work. What we present to the judges are coded numbers of the word version having removed the names of the contestants. This makes for unbiased assessment by the judges. With the e-platform, there is an instant acknowledgement of entry. The website also has helplines and email addresses where any issues are promptly attended to.
What message do you have for potential contestants from outside Lagos and Western part of the country?
The beauty of it all is that the Quill Awards is media awards for journalists in every part of the country. Our message has always been to the media houses to encourage their staff. This has not changed. We have judiciously done what we are supposed to do. It is now left for the target audience of the awards to realise that this is a credible platform with adequate rewards.
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