FROM A heart-rending portrayal of farmer suicides and starvation deaths in Odisha to a heart-warming series on people who beat the caste barrier; from hard-hitting reports on the impact of the Maharashtra beef ban on farmers and the meat industry to a stinging chronicle of Adivasi killings in Bodoland — the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards for 2015 was an acknowledgment of stories that needed telling.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was the chief guest at the event, presented the awards to 37 journalists, who told their stories the way they should be — simply, factually. The awards, which have been given to over 300 journalists from 50 organisations so far, are a celebration of rigour, accuracy and fairness in news. This year, the winning stories were selected by an eminent five-member jury.
Ashwaq Masoodi of Mint won the award in the Uncovering India Invisible category for her vivid portrayal of young Indians — from businesswomen to wrestlers — who broke away from the clutches of caste. Christin Mathew Philip of The Times of India won the Prakash Kardaley Memorial Award for Civic Journalism for his sharp reportage on the use of substandard material in road construction in Chennai.
In the Foreign Correspondent Covering India category, Victor John Mallet of The Financial Times won the honour for his hard-hitting reports on pollution in the Ganga. The Indian Express’s Pritha Chatterjee and Aniruddha Ghosal bagged the honour in the Environmental Reporting category for their investigative series, Death by Breath, which showed how political inaction and the administration’s apathy had turned the air in India’s capital into a cocktail of toxins.
In the Sports Journalism category, Devendra Pandey won the award for exposing conflict of interest and irregular deals in the Indian Premier League. Esha Roy’s report on a quaint Manipur village, which was preparing to be a Smart City, won her the award in the Reporting from J&K and the Northeast category. In the Reporting on Politics and Government category, Ashutosh Bhardwaj’s expose of financial foul play before bypolls in Chhattisgarh was chosen for the honour.
Khushboo Narayan’s reports that probed top corporates who are loan defaulters, won her the award in the Business and Economics Journalism category. The other winner in this category was Rajeev Dubey of Business Today for his report on India’s burgeoning corporate debt.
Author and film critic Anna M M Vetticad was awarded in the Commentary and Interpretative Writing category for her report on the stereotypical portrayal of women in TV and films. Pramit Bhattacharya of Mint won in the same category for his story that exposed how micro-finance may not always be as inclusive as is perceived.
In the broadcast section, Sushil C Bahuguna of NDTV India won the Environmental Reporting award for his investigative reports on how development projects were destroying the ecosystem in Uttarakhand. Archana Shukla of CNBC TV18 bagged the Business and Economics Journalism award for highlighting the gap between government projects and their delivery in a detailed series titled, What’s Ailing Rural India.
The Investigative Reporting award in broadcast went to Ganesh Suratchand Thakur of ABP News. Shamik Bag of Mint won the award in the Feature Writing category for his report on the life and death of Malli Mastan Babu, India’s first 7-Summiteer.
The Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards, the biggest annual event in the Indian media calendar, was instituted by the Ramnath Goenka Memorial Foundation in 2005 to celebrate the legacy of the founder of The Express Group. It recognises excellence in journalism and showcases outstanding contributions by individuals each year.