Big draw for 14th Journalism Excellence Awards

Monday, 29 July 2013 00:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The 14th edition of the Journalism Awards for Excellence will culminate with the annual awards night next Tuesday, July 30 at the Empire Ballroom of the Mount Lavinia Hotel, the host hotel for the gala event. A record number of 310 entries were received for the 2012 Awards. The event, which was launched in 1999 by The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka and is now organised by The Guild in partnership with the Sri Lanka Press Institute, is the biggest media awards program in the country. The aim of the program is to recognise professionalism in the print media of Sri Lanka and reward excellence over a particular year. Overseas scholarships are also offered to young reporters together with the Lakshman Kadirgamar Foundation. Veteran journalist and editor Edmund Ranasinghe, who entered journalism at the age of 21 in both the Sinhala and English language newspapers at Lake House and later became Group Editor at Upali Newspapers Ltd., and is now a director of the company, will be the chief guest at this event. Ranasinghe has authored several books and retired in 2000 after mentoring an entire breed of journalists, many of whom are editors of national newspapers today. The Editors’ Guild also presents two special awards by its own nomination at the event – the D.R. Wijewardene Award for Recognition by Peers and the Public and the Sepala Gunasena Award for Defending Press Freedom in Sri Lanka. The event also honours those who have served the journalistic profession for more than 45 years with Lifetime Achievement Awards. The recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Awards this year are: Senadhira Piyasena, a product of the University of Calcutta who started his career in journalism in 1942 as an editor of the Communist Party organ ‘Janashakthi’. He later joined ‘Dinamina’ published by the Lake House Group and was parliamentary reporter for the ‘Sunday Observer’. He worked at ‘Radio Ceylon’, ‘All India Radio’ and ‘Davasa’, and as chief editorial executive at ‘Times of Ceylon’ before becoming press secretary to President J.R. Jayewardene. He has also written several books. Dunstan Wickramaratne, a well known photographer who started working in his father’s studio in Galle and then became a provincial correspondent for ‘Davasa’ in 1962 under legendary editor D.B. Dhanapala. He went on to join the staff of the ‘Sun’ and ‘Weekend’ newspapers, publications of Independent Newspapers Ltd. In 1990, he joined the ‘Sunday Times’ as pictures editor and retired as consultant editor (pictures) in 2009. Nagalingam Pathmaseelan, the editor of ‘Sudar Oli’, who counts 46 years in active journalism beginning his professional career as a reporter at ‘Dinapathy’, then becoming chief sub-editor at ‘Chinthamany’ and then the editor of ‘Thanthi’, an evening daily – all published by Independent Newspapers Ltd. With the founding of ‘Uthayan’ in Jaffna in 1985, he joined the newspaper as news editor and became assistant editor. When ‘Sudar Oli’ was published by the ‘Uthayan’ Group in Colombo, he was appointed acting editor and later became editor. Carol Rohini Aloysius began her career in journalism in 1969 with the ‘Evening Observer’ and ‘Sunday Observer’ published by the Lake House Group after graduating from the University of Peradeniya. She held the posts of women’s page assistant, children’s page editor, health page editor and became the features editor and associate editor of the two newspapers. She joined ‘The Nation’ and later returned to the ‘Sunday Observer’. She is a Fellow of the University of Michigan and is the recipient of the Dart Asia-Pacific Fellowship in Trauma and Violence and a host of local awards for reporting on health issues. Camillus Perera, a well known cartoonist, began at Lake House in 1964 as a pocket cartoonist for ‘Sarasaviya’ and then moved to ‘Davasa’ two years later where he drew the character ‘Thepanis’. He re-joined Lake House and launched ‘Don Sethang’ for ‘Janatha’ from where he joined ‘Lankadeepa’ and ‘Daily Mirror’ in the former Times of Ceylon. In 1967, he created the popular ‘Siribiris’ cartoon in ‘Silumina’ followed by ‘Dakkoth Padmawathie’ in the ‘Sarasaviya Weekly’ and ‘Mister Lovaris’ in the ‘Sunday Observer’. In 1972, he started his own comic weekly ‘Sathuta’ and introduced the ‘Gajaman’ cartoons. He launched his own publishing house in 1986 with the comic publications ‘Sathsiri’, ‘Gajaman’ and ‘Hapana’. He currently contributes to the Rivira group.