Information Officer, Jamal Weekes and retired Information Officer, Joy Springer, pose with their BARJAM 2020 National Media Awards. (S. Forde-Craigg/BGIS)

The hard work of officers at the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) was recognised recently during the Barbados Association of Journalists and Media Workers (BARJAM) 2020 National Media Awards.

Jamal Weekes, an Information Officer attached to the radio department of the BGIS, took home the award for Best Human Interest Radio Feature for his mini-series, The Nature of Man – Adjusting to My New Body.

In addition, Joy Springer, a recently retired Information Officer, was honoured with the Public Relations Officer/Corporate Communications Specialist of the Year award, specifically for the role she played in the island’s COVID-19 communication strategy.

Although she was the single nominee in that category, it was the only award where the winner was determined by media houses. The candidate was judged on engagement with the local media and the supply of information to practitioners between January 1 and September 30, 2020.

The award criteria also included the ease with which media personnel had access to the candidate; the speed in which queries from media personnel were addressed, and the quality of treatment given to journalists and media workers while on the job. 

“The award, while totally unexpected, is very much appreciated. It is heartwarming to be recognised one more time by my peers at the end of my career,” Ms. Springer remarked.

Jamal Weekes also expressed his gratitude for the recognition. He explained that the criteria for the Best Human Interest Radio Featurerequired a below-the-surface look at an issue, in addition to being uplifting and having a positive outcome.

His production The Nature of Man – Adjusting to My New Body delved into the lives of individuals who, through health and other circumstances, lost one or more of their senses or body functions.  It highlighted the stories of Barbadians who have and continue to fight against diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

“I’m glad that the work I produced is seen by my peers as worthy of an award. For me, it is all about telling the story of the average Barbadian. I love storytelling in all forms. I’m also grateful to the participants: Meshelle Thompson, Tanya Jemmont and Rochelle Burke. It was their openness and vulnerability in telling their individual stories that made the difference in my programme. Their battles have left them with noticeable scars but they came out stronger on the other side,” Mr. Weekes emphasised.

Meanwhile, Information Officers Shamkoe Pilé and Nya Phillips were nominees in the Gladstone Holder Award for Best Feature (Radio, TV, Print or Digital) and the Best Human Interest Radio Feature, respectively.

BARJAM’s 2020 National Media Awards were judged by Roy Morris (Chairman of the panel), Sophia Cambridge and Dale Forde.

The other awardees were Sheria Brathwaite of the Nation Publishing Company, who copped the Carl Moore Award for Best News Journalist (Print, Electronic and Digital); Andrew Mason of Starcom Network Inc., who won the Gladstone Holder Award for Best Feature (Radio, TV, Print or Digital); David Ellis of Starcom Network Inc., who took home the Patrick Hoyos Award for Best Business and Finance Journalist (Radio, TV, Print or Digital); and Ryan Broome of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, who won the award for Best Human Interest Television Feature. 

The Christoff Griffith Rookie-of-the-Year award, established to honour the memory of the late photojournalist Christoff Griffith, went to Anmar Goodridge-Boyce of the Nation Publishing Company. 

Three persons received honourable mention: Tré Greaves of the Nation Publishing Company for the Al Gilkes Award for Best Entertainment Journalist; Marlon Madden of Barbados Today for the Patrick Hoyos Award for Best Business and Finance Journalist (Radio, TV, Print or Digital); and Anmar Goodridge-Boyce for the Tony Cozier Award for Best Sports Journalist.

Management and staff of the BGIS has extended congratulations to the winners and nominees.

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