SUNSTAR Bacolod journalist Erwin Nicavera bagged the Best Agriculture News Story (Regional) of the Year award in this year’s The Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards.
Nicavera, who is the social media content editor and reporter of SunStar Bacolod, is the first Negros Occidental-based journalist to win the prestigious award.
His winning story titled “Urban farming gaining ground amid pandemic,” discussed how backyard farming can help one become self-sufficient especially during this global health crisis.
Read: Urban farming gaining ground amid pandemic
It emerged as the winner from about 600 entries nationwide screened by an esteemed panel of judges and experts.
Nicavera, in his speech during the virtual awarding rites on Wednesday, July 28, 2021, said he is dedicating the award to all Filipino farmers who are also in the front line, especially in feeding the nation during this coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
“My heart is filled with gratitude as I receive this award. Thank you The Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards and its partners for this recognition. The inspiration you are giving us, journalists, keeps the flame within us burning,” he said.
For him, the award also serves as a motivation for them to keep the passion for their profession alive, especially during these very trying times when information is of the essence.
Now on its 14th year, The Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards renewed its commitment to recognize the exceptional journalists who spotlight the agricultural sector through various media platforms.
The Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards was launched in 2007 by Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc. (PMPMI).
It is now continued by PMFTC Inc. (PMFTC), the company created in 2010 through a business combination between Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc. (PMPMI) and Fortune Tobacco Corporation (FTC).
The award-giving body said as the market leader in the Philippine tobacco industry, PMFTC is committed to bringing much-needed assistance and attention to the country’s agriculture sector.
It said what started out with less than a hundred entries during its inaugural year has evolved into thousands of entries scrutinized by top-caliber judges looking for the best agriculture journalism has to offer for the year.
The annual competition honors excellent stories and photos that are published, aired, or broadcasted in print, radio, television and for the first time, online.
“This year’s theme, ‘Reimagining our tomorrow’ is very apt for us, at PMFTC and the Bright Leaf community. Our agility to adapt and pivot were tested in this unprecedented global crisis,” PMFTC President Denis Gorkun said.
The Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards continues to acknowledge the efforts of the Filipino journalists who painstakingly cover important issues to place one of the most important industries in the spotlight.
It aims to uplift the agriculture industry by honoring the journalists who bring to the fore the issues of the agriculture workers to the general public.
PMFTC Communications Director Dave Gomez told participating journalists that “your stories are the stories that matter to us. Your eyes are our window to our farmers’ plight. Your masterpieces are a reminder of the industry concerns we should pay attention to.”
Prioritizing health and safety this year, the media professionals were updated online regarding the awards instead of the traditional face-to-face caravan events.
Journalists from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao joined the virtual roadshows via Facebook Live or Zoom platform.
“It is during these times of uncertainty and despair when our desire for creativity is on fire,” chairman of the board of judges, Krip Yuson, said.
Other winners included Louise Maureen Simeon of the Philippine Star who brought home the Agriculture Story of the Year award, while Business Mirror’s Cai Ordinario was judged winner for the Tobacco Story of the Year and Best Agriculture News Story (National).
For Tobacco Photo of the Year, Wilfredo Lomibao of Sunday Punch (Dagupan) and the Philippine Daily Inquirer was declared winner.
Also awarded as this year’s winners are Business Mirror’s Erwin Mascariñas for Agriculture Photo of the Year; Baguio journalist Frank Cimatu - Best Agriculture Feature Story (Regional) and Best Story in Tobacco Product Alternatives; GMA Channel 7 blocktimer program Agriprenuer - Best Agriculture TV Program or Segment; Rose Malekchan of DZWT 540 Radyo Totoo - Best Agriculture Radio Program or Segment; Karl Angelica Ocampo - Best Agriculture Feature Story (National); Vina Medenilla of www.agriculture.com.ph of Manila Bulletin - Best Online Story.
This year’s awards also included an Oriental Leaf Award winner, Jasper Emmanuel Arcalas, for winning five Bright Leaf awards in various categories throughout the years. (SunStar Bacolod)