CNN honors TMP member
AFTER SEVEN STRAIGHT YEARS of rejection, the same persistence that kept Nigerian journalist and TMP member Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye chasing CNN's annual MultiChoice African Journalist Awards finally earned her one of the coveted prizes.
Ogunseye, a senior editor at Nigeria's The Punch, was one of 17 category winners from a pool of 1,407 entries representing 42 African nations. CNN honored the winners with a week-long workshop followed by a June 25 gala in Johannesburg, CNN said on its website.
In those previous seven years, Oluwatoyosi had never earned even a nomination for the award.
All that time, "I kept trying because I wanted it badly," she told TMP by email. "When you want something badly, you go after it badly."
"It's also the most prestigious (award) and the dream of every African journalist," Ogunseye added. "When you are a CNN winner, it means you have done a lot of things right on the job."
But at long last she got her breakthrough. When Ogunseye learned she was nominated, she was overjoyed.
"I am still ecstatic," she told The Punch. “The moment I got the call — I stood up and tears just filled my eyes!"
Ogunseye's specialty is covering crime with a penchant for investigative reporting, and she is a flexible writer who's covered everything from fashion to food science.
This year, she won the Health and Medical category prize for her enterprising story "LUTH's Ransome-Kuti Children's Center: Cauldron where two babies die weekly". The heartbreaking piece is packed with wrenching images and the words of grieved parents who sound more like victims than clients of a hospital:
While weary looking mothers sit on the wooden chairs in the reception area, the frequent shrieks from babies in the clinic unsettle everyone in the environment, which is a far cry from being clean.
There are a few men around in this section of the hospital, which has only two dirty toilets, already flooded by water. There is no bathroom.
"I hope that baby survives, he has been in pain since he was transferred here,” mutters one of the women sitting on the bench.
The baby did not survive. And that was the second one that week. An average of two babies die a week at the centre. The number could be as high as five.
After a few minutes, his mother comes out of the hospital and screams profanities at the medical personnel on duty.
She feels that they did not do enough to save her five-day-old baby. The doctors and nurses ignore her and continue attending to other babies who are in critical condition.
Another mother calls the attention of a nurse to a baby, who is coughing beside her child. She is afraid that the baby with the cough could infect her two-day-old daughter. But there is nothing she can do about it; she is sharing a bed with two other children.