The 14th edition of the Journalism Awards for Excellence programme will culminate with the annual ‘Awards Night’ on 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, 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 programme in the country.
The aim of the programme is to recognize professionalism in the print media of Sri Lanka and reward excellence over a particular year. It also honours those who have served the journalistic profession for more than 45 years with Lifetime Achievement Awards. Overseas scholarships are also offered for Young Reporters together with the Lakshman Kadirgamar Foundation. 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 in Radio Ceylon, All India Radio, 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, started working in his father’s studio in Galle and then became a provincial correspondent for Davasa in 1962 under the 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, 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 published by the same Uthayan Group being launched in Colombo he was appointed acting editor and later editor.
Mrs. 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 who began at Lake House in 1964 as a pocket cartoonist for Sarasaviya, 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.
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 becoming Group Editor at Upali Newspapers Ltd., and a director of the company, is the chief guest at Tuesday’s event. Mr. 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. Sri Lanka Telecom is the Gold sponsor of the Award ceremony while the Bronze sponsors are: People’s Bank and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. The other sponsors are: Bank of Ceylon, SriLankan Airlines, Colombo Stock Brokers Association, Colombo Dockyard and the newspaper industry.