Thursday, December 16, 2010

Media Awards is for Excellence

In this year’s Media Awards, the judges dropped several categories of awards. The main reason is that in those categories only one entry or no entries at all were submitted. This does say a lot about the organizations and media companies’ obligation to those hard working media personnel such as journalists, broadcasters, and TV reporters, programmers, and producers. For a start we don’t have a crowded media industry as illustrated by two dailies, one weekly, two TV stations, and a handful of radio stations. Nominating media personals and programs from these media organizations should be an important responsibility of a responsible media industry. The people who work so hard and with tireless commitment to achieve excellence in their respective media should be rewarded and encouraged to set the standard for excellence.

It is also fulfilling to see some of the students I had a part in their formative education at UPNG receive award in this year’s Media Awards night. Congratulations to them and other winners.

I make these remarks as someone connected to the media industry as a columnist in one of the dailies. If every organizations and media companies can submit their nominations in call the categories for the awards then a high percentage of excellence is achieved.

Talking about excellence I think some remarks as a reader, listener, and viewer is in order. The issue of language and stylistics need also to be addressed in bringing out excellence in quality of writing in newspapers. A reader is easily distracted by poor handling of language. Editing and proof reading of newspapers must be meticulous before they are printed. So many poor lexical errors in writing lower the standard of excellence. The challenge is to maintain excellence in stylistics through high standard of editing and proof reading.

TV presenters need to have clear, voice, and language training before they appear before the cameras. Nothing is more distracting than the poor voice inflections and improper pronunciation of words. Poor lighting on subjects distracts concentrated viewing of TV news and programs.

Radio broadcasting has been around for ages. Difference in radio personalities and approaches are necessary, but voice choice and program control are also necessary to bring out undistracted presentation. Listeners switch stations easily because they cannot bear the way some radio personalities carry on with trivia and unimportant conversations.

Having said that let me return to what I think should be included in next year’s Media Awards. In my view the Media Awards should include Best Editorial in a newspaper, because of the function editorials play in making the most important and sharp statement as the newspaper sees it. I also think the overall quality and presentation of a newspaper should also be considered. The award should also include the commentaries and columns of newspapers as these are written by people other than journalists employed on a full time basis by the newspaper companies. These commentaries inform, educate, prompt, and disseminate knowledge to a broad spectrum of society, helping to initiate political action, enlighten the way people see and do things, and inform people about knowledge that improve their understanding of the world and their own lives.

The media awards should also include the best TV programs that are creative, innovative, and illustrative of the kinds of TV programs that Papua New Guineans like to view. Television and other electronic media in Papua New Guinea are recent innovation that influence people in very profound ways. The total participation of Papua New Guineans in this technology driven media is still developing. Future awards may include categories such as TV documentaries, programs, presenters, and innovative community media programs.

For radio programs I think a survey of the listening public on what radio station they tune to often, and what programs on radio are important to them should be the basis for nominating a radio station or its programs for awards. The public should be the judge on this and not the judges of the media awards. I bet some of the judges might not be radio listeners at all. All radio stations must submit their entries for the Media Award. Having the same station or stations win awards every year does nothing good to setting of standards in radio.

As I remember Mr. Toguata’s comments on this year’s awards, the judges’ decisions were based on what they have before them. If nominations of competitors were made then these were judged accordingly within the categories they were nominated under.

A challenge to the Media Council of PNG is to recognize the benefactors of the Media Council funding through its Community Initiative Programs. I think an award should be created to recognize the media initiatives in our communities and also programs that promote the role of media in the development of Papua New Guinea. Recognizing community initiatives should promote a receptive, responsive, and an enlightened community to media technologies and influence. It would also show the development partners and partner organizations that their funding has achieved the desired result.

So many people are critical of media ethics and standards, especially the politicians. Maybe the Parliament or any critics of media should sponsor an award for ethics and standards of quality in next year’s awards to make the point that this is the kind of ethics and standards they are bragging about. That should set the benchmark for other media organizations and companies to strive for in their conduct. It should also demonstrate a sense of ownership of what people want of media in terms of ethics and standards to follow.

The views I make here do not necessarily reflect those of the daily newspaper that I contribute as a columnist. The views expressed here are made in appreciation of the media’s role and function in our society. The awards made this year, no doubt will, improve and raise the standards of excellence expected of media personnel and media organizations.

The challenge is to remain on top without compromising to the unwitting demands of our societies.


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