THE Jamaica Observer's
Editor-at-Large HG Helps was a big winner at the 12th annual Jamaica Broiler's Group Fair Play Awards yesterday, taking first place in the print category for the human interest feature "Death Postponed".
Helps won a trophy and $150,000 for the series which the judges described as an "absorbing and intriguing insight into the lives of people who experience near death".
The judges also commended Helps for the series which they said "gives the victims a sense of closure", was "heartbreaking" and "hit emotional chords that all readers can relate to".
Television Jamaica (TVJ) won the Fair Play Award for Television media for the investigative series Working in Danger - Asbestos Alert. The well-researched series, presented by Kirk Wright, gave a balanced report on the danger of asbestos, brought public awareness to an important health issue and forced public officials to act, the judges said.
The TVJ team received a trophy and $250,000 for their efforts which the judges said "has the potential to save many lives".
TVJ also copped third place overall for Illegal abortion drug Cytotec while the Gleaner's Tyrone Reid was
awarded second place for Unhealthy State of Affairs.
There were also Certificates of Commendation for TVJ and The Gleaner's Reid.
At the awards luncheon at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St Andrew, chief judge Professor Hopeton Dunn commended entrants for steady improvement over the years. There were 25 entries this year, one more than last year. Six entries were in the print category, and 17 from television.
Prof Dunn announced that a Fair Play Award would be presented to a student of the Caribbean Institute of Media and ommunication in honour of media practitioner Christine Bell, who died earlier this year.
Bell, through her company, Innovative Ideas, helped to conceptualise the Fair Play Awards.
Christopher Levy, president and chief executive officer of Jamaica Broilers Group, sponsors of the Fair Play Awards, said that the media had an important role to play in setting the tone for conversation in the nation.
United States-based Jamaican social media entrepreneur Saadiq Rodgers-King advised media practitioners and business persons to use social media to maintain a sincere relationship with their customers.
"If you are on every single platform and trying to do the minimum, just to check the box... you are not going to succeed in any of your objectives. If you click and you do those things, that will give you far more than trying to sprinkle your efforts around," he said.
In a presentation, which took the format of an interview with journalist Dionne Jackson-Miller, Rodgers-King — who co-founded and built the mobile application company Hot Potato before selling it for US$10 million to social media giant Facebook — said that new media would likely be a part of the total media experience in the future rather than replacing traditional media.
"Including (social media) in the conversation is going to make our media experience that much better," Rodger-King said.
Commenting on the future of Facebook which has lost a lot of its value in recent weeks, Rodgers-King said he was not worried about a company which has a billion customers.