WAMECA 2022 – Here are the members of the grand jury

The MFWA is delighted to announce the jury for the 2022 edition of the West Africa Media Excellence Awards.

The jury, made up of distinguished and experienced media experts in Africa, will assess and shortlist deserving entries and also determine the ultimate winners of the various categories in the 6th edition of the West Africa Media Excellence Awards. The Awards will be held on October 22, 2022, at the Alisa Hotel in Accra, Ghana.

Below are the profiles of the judges:

Catherine Gicheru – Kenya

Gicheru is an ICFJ Knight Fellow. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, She founded the Africa Women Journalism Project (AWJP). The project brings together female journalists and data analysts to produce data-driven coverage of underreported health, gender and economic issues. Gicheru leads a team of editors, mentors, data specialists and designers who work with women journalists in eight countries — Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa and Senegal.

Earlier in her Knight fellowship, Gicheru led a panAfrican women’s data journalism network, WanaData (“daughters of data” in Swahili), a project developed in a partnership between ICFJ and Code for Africa, one of Africa’s premier organizations promoting digital journalism.

Gicheru also co-founded Kenya’s first fact-checking news site, PesaCheck. She has kept up the fight against mis- and dis-information by sharing effective techniques across the Sub-Saharan region.

The founding editor of the Star newspaper in Nairobi, Gicheru was also the first female news editor at the Nation Media Group, the largest and most influential media group in East Africa. She is a recipient of the International Women’s Media

Foundation’s Courage in Journalism Award and was named by New African magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans of 2018.

Gicheru is a member of the board of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and also serves on the board of directors of the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF). She is also a member of the advisory committee of the recently launched Nigeria Media Innnovation Program.

Gicheru is a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, a Reuters Institute Journalism fellow at Oxford University, and a 1992 IWMF Courage in Journalism award winner

Hamadou Tidiane Sy—Senegal

Hamadou Tidiane Sy is the founder and Director of E-jicom, a journalism, communication and digital media school based in Dakar. He is also the founder of the award-winning online media organisation Ouestaf News (ouestaf.com).

Tidiane Sy is a seasoned Senegalese journalist, now mostly active as a journalism trainer and consultant throughout Africa. He has worked for major media outlets, including the BBC, AFP (Agence France Presse), Global Radio News, Channel Africa, etc. Tidiane is also involved in the activities of the West African Investigative Network “CENOZO” where he edits investigative reports.

As a reporter Tidiane, extensively covered Africa, and more particularly the West African region and has conducted major investigations, including participation in the global “Panama Papers”, “the Swissleaks”, and “Fatal Extractions” projects. He is recognised as a social innovator in the field of “News and Knowledge” by the Ashoka and Knight Foundations. He is a board member at Cenozo and Africa Check.

Reyhana MasterSmith—Zimbabwe

Reyhana Masters-Smith is an experienced and distinguished Zimbabwean Media and Communications Consultant who has worked as a reporter, editor, media trainer and researcher for many local and international organisations.

Reyhana has served as the Editor for So This Is Democracy, a publication by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) which analyses the political and economic landscape and media policy frameworks in Southern Africa. She has also worked as the Editor and Content Creator for the MISA Regional Website and Communication Portal.

For many years, she worked as the deputy features editor of  The Daily News – the first privately owned daily newspaper established in Zimbabwe in 1999 and as the Moderator of the African Media Barometer, an analytical tool that measures the national media environments in the African continent.

Currently, Reyhana Masters is the Sub Saharan Africa regional editor of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) and also serves as the chairperson for the Information for Development Trust—an investigative journalism media hub she co-founded.

Selay Marius Kouassi, PhD – Cote D’Ivoire

Selay Marius Kouassi is a renowned award-winning investigative journalist, media trainer and academic.

His works over the years have spurred civil society organisations and global decision-makers to take action while holding political leaders to account across Africa.

Selay initiated the transnational investigation into ‘Fair-Trade’ chocolate, ‘The Fair-Trade Chocolate Rip-Off.’ joining the Swiss Leaks Project team, an investigation initiated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), to trace billions lost annually in Africa in the chocolate industry.

Selay has worked with various international media outlets including The Guardian, DPA (German Press Agency), SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) and the BBC.

He is a part-time trainer for the ‘Wealth of Nations, a programme run by the Thomson Reuters Foundation to investigate tax abuse and illicit financial flows from and in Africa.  He is also the co-founder and member of the AIPC (African Investigative Publishing Collective) and a member of FAIR (Forum for African Investigative Reporters).

Joseph Warungu—Kenya

Joseph Warungu is a media and communication consultant and trainer with 30 years of experience in international journalism. He was head of the BBC African News and Current Affairs Department and is a former Knight International Journalism Fellow. He is widely travelled in Africa, working as a journalist, trainer and moderator of public debates on radio and TV.

He specialises in media management training and building the capacity of media to tell in-depth and compelling stories on development issues such as health, education, business and technology. He led the African Story Challenge, a continent-wide competition to inspire and support African media to tell more and better stories on development issues.

Warungu also runs Top Story – a national mentorship programme for young journalists in Kenya, which takes the form of a popular reality TV show.

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