The Entertainment Journalist Award

When I last brushed shoulders with Lucius Banda, I never believed him when he declared that the Media in the country is contributing to the downfall of the musical growth. He cited one small aspect where Radio Stations do Newspaper Reviews. He said all the pages except, entertainment pages, are reviewed which is a mark of disregard of contributions of entertainment in the country.
On March 6, 2011, the Malawi Voice, an online publication, in conjunction with Top Citizens Events Management recognized several Malawians doing several duties in politics, sports, and entertainment.
Top Citizens Events Management, a registered public relations firm, conducted research to find out who rocked and thrilled Malawians and hit most headlines in the year 2010.
Under the Media category, they also recognised Columnist of the Year which was scooped by Raphael Tenthani who puts down socio-political satires under the banner of Muckraking on Sunday, in the Sunday Times.
Yours truly, Prof. Zungwala came second with this Drumming Pen here in Malawi News while the third spot was taken by Garry Chirwa with the column ‘If I Were’ which appears in The Nation.
I must be seen to have digressed, but my point is on the Malawi Chapter’s Media Institute of Southern Africa annual awards. Do you recognize that there are no columnists of the year?
Of course, running the Misa-Malawi awards without any best columns awards would be a forgivable sin, but it is quite unforgiving if you look at that long list of best performers and miss out entertainment writers.
I have in mind, prolific entertainment writers like James Chavula and Kondwani Kamiyala of Nation Publications Limited (NPL), and at Blantyre Newspapers Limited (BNL) we have Sam Banda Junior, Jack Macbrams Chirwa and Clifton Kawanga who are some grand masters in weaving out beautiful pieces on entertainment pages of the company’s titles.
What is very, very funny is that the core business of media institutions is to Educate, Inform and Entertain. Mark that … Entertain…
But perhaps following the philosophy of ‘love the game, but hate the player?’ even when I see so many souls poring over pages that have entertainment stories; there seems to be nothing to show in terms of appreciating the authors as is the case with other areas.
A newspaper that has no entertainment stories is like a huge green and bubbling Mango tree that can not bear the all important mango fruits. You find that no one is interested to look at it.
Newspapers have realized that entertainment stories are a hot cake and they would highlight the top entertainment stories on the front page. Twice or thrice a week newspapers have fixated pull outs in form of supplementary entertainment publications, with equally an attractive name.
Even Prof. Zungwala, for your information, is housed in the Weekender Supplement of the Malawi News – this is one good example of an entertainment supplement.
It is therefore indisputable that we need awards for our entertainment journalists. The same as one would feel cheated when reading a newspaper that has no entertainment stories would also be equated to a bad aftertaste that is left in the mouth when a litany of media award winners is without any entertainment writer.
Entertainment is an all encompassing media discipline, where music, drama, reviews on books or other literary work and poetry, and the list is long, hogs the limelight.
Each and every weekend artists prepare to go to different entertainment centers where fun seekers go to listen and dance to both gospel and secular music.
The entertainment writer has to explain the slackness in quality output by our musician, their achievements highlighted, misfortunes told and everything happening to them and their art published.
Readership loves to read this and decide where they would want to go if weekend is approaching; likewise, when a published book has hit the bookshop shelves the entertainment writers will dissect and guide the readers which one to go for first before the other.
I remember the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) used to have programmes like ‘Tidziwane ndi Oyimba’ which is one typical example of an audio version of entertainment stories.
Several other radios have also tried to come up with initiatives to champion the entertainment beat. I am failing to paint an emotional picture, which the feelings of many people paint as they draw towards entertainment.
This is not to say I am failing to justify the case of demanding for recognition for entertainment writers…
Honestly as MISA we need to you feel that we leave some holes in the awards when we leave out a very important sector of the media that must always be recognized at events like awards presentations?
From tomorrow onwards, try to read your newspapers and skip anything that has been written on entertainment. Let all radios stop playing music and see if they will survive or if people will remain alive.
Entertainment is life. When all is done people need to unwind and this is done with entertainment. Let’s recognize our Entertainment Journalists, Please!


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