Ghanaian Journalist wins Top International Award


A Ghanaian Journalist, Mr. Kwaku Botwe has been awarded with a Top International Award, James W. Markham top paper prize, in the United States of America.

The paper was awarded the prize based on evaluations and accumulated points from blind reviewers, a study on health reporting by some Ghanaian journalists.
The annual prize is given under the International Communication Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).
Mr. Botwe, who spoke with, noted that his research paper titled “Factors Influencing Nutrition News Reporting among Ghanaian Journalists” that won the James W. Markham top paper prize, entered into the competition when he submitted it for the 2020 AEJMC research conference, slated for San Francisco in August.
According to Mr. Botwe, he received a mail from the Markham Research Competition Chair, Dr. M. Delwar Hossain, stating that “The selection of papers and extended abstracts was based on standardized scores calculated from the reviewers’ rating sheets.” Kwaku’s presentation is scheduled for Wellness Worldwide, COVID-19, and Health (Mis)Information, Thursday, August 6, 1:30-3 p.m. He will receive his award, including a cash prize, in the International Communication Division (ICD) Business Meeting at 6:45 p.m. Friday, August 7, 2020”.
Mr. Botwe who could not hide his joy when he received news said that his ultimate aim is to investigate ways to boost health reporting, especially nutritional health, in the Ghanaian media space.
“The media in Ghana can play a significant role in informing the public about health issues. But in Ghana coverage of nutrition is low. The results of a cross-sectional survey of Ghanaian journalists (n=105) show that reporting on nutrition is influenced by gender, media dynamics, journalists’ health orientation, and the three constructs of the theory of planned behavior. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed”
“When I received an email that said congratulations, I actually thought my paper has been accepted. I did not know that it has been accepted and gone ahead to win an award, and so I was very pleased”
“It was a moment of joy and fulfillment for me to be called to receive the award”, he said.
Mr. Botwe explained that he has always been a health advocate, with a background in Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Ghana adding that, the research was focused on Journalists to outline factors that would promote nutrition or health writing among journalists.
He said that journalists are major agenda setters; hence if people knew what works for them, there would be more space created in the media space in terms of health and nutrition issues.
“Matters of Nutrition have always been health; most importantly I have always been concerned about that”, he stated.
He explained that as a Journalist who have interest in conducting research, that was his first time entering and winning such a competition.
He said “I was not even expecting a prize or win an award. I was more importantly concerned about work and whether my paper would even be accepted because there were so many rules, as to how to send the paper, if you do not follow the rules your paper would be rejected, and they will check if your paper is good enough before it is accepted into the conference”.
The award ceremony and all presentations would be done virtually after the conference was moved online due to the current coronavirus pandemic.
Way forward
Mr. Botwe said he would be engaging in further research in health mostly nutrition. He revealed that there is a research project he is embarking on with Professor Seow Ting Lee in Ghana, on information seeking and the predictors for people seeking health information.
“That is something we have already designed and the budget has been approved and looking forward to distributing the questionnaire after it has gone through the ethical committee, once that is done we will get the research started”, he added.
Kwaku Botwe is a Journalism Lecturer at the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI). He authored the study or research paper on Ghanaian Journalist’s Health reporting.
Kwaku, a practicing journalist, is one of the lead researchers of the Presidential Encounter Project which ranks journalists based on the quality of questions they ask during presidential press encounters. He is currently at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he is undertaking further studies, PhD in Strategic Communication and teaching as well.
He has worked with Citi FM, Joy FM, and Radio XYZ and a freelancer with Inter Press Service, a global news service.
By Agnes Melissa Yovo |



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