The search was officially launched to the public in February. Soon after, the organizers went on a roadshow to meet with journalists from Lucena City, Cebu City, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Naga City, Dagupan, Baguio, Vigan and Laoag. These pocket events provided a venue to meet with the local media face to face to encourage them to submit their articles, photos, TV and radio reports published or aired between Sept. 1, 2013 and Aug. 31, 2014 that covered the agriculture industry.
Once the entries started pouring in, they were turned over to a judging panel led by veteran journalist Ninez Cacho-Olivares and included members of the academe, respected photographers, editors, artists and columnists. These judges had the unenviable task of reviewing every entry until finally the winners were chosen.
And on November 27, 2014, in an awards banquet held at the Sunset Pavilion of Sofitel Manila, the winners of the 8th Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards were finally revealed.
For the first time since the competition began, all the winners will receive trophies as well as an Asian trip.
The winner of the Agriculture Story of the Year were Cherry Ann Lim and Liberty Pinili of Sun Star Cebu for their three-part series entitled, “Fish in troubled waters.”
The Tobacco Story of the Year award went to Gabriel Cardinoza of the Philippine Daily Inquirer for his article, “Pangasinan farmers pin hopes on tobacco.”
Harley Palangchao of the Baguio Midland Courier took home the Agriculture Photo of the Year trophy for “Frostlandia” while Mauricio Victa of Business Mirror’s photo “Leaves of Gold” was chosen as the Tobacco Photo of the Year.
All four received P50,000 in cash and an iPad Mini.
In the TV Program or Segment category, Karren Verona of ABS-CBN Davao wins for the “Father’s Day Special” of the show Agri Tayo Dito. While “Panahon” aired over DXND Kidapawan City, North Cotobato brings home the top prize in the Radio Program or Segment. They also received P50,000 in cash.
Gabriel Cardinoza of the Philippine Daily Inquirer brings home a second trophy for his story, “Carabao vanishing breed in Pangasinan” which won the top prize in the Best Agriculture News Story National. While Cherry Ann T. Lim of Sun Star Cebu also wins a second award for her story, “Bug slay, nature’s way” which was the top scorer in the Best Agriculture Feature Story Regional.
Flornisa Gitgano, also from Sun Star Cebu emerged as the winner of the Best Agriculture News Story Regional for “Cold Weather's toll now P26M”. “The prospects of swine industry in the Philippines” written by Henrylito Tacio and published in Marid Agribusiness Magazine brings home the trophy for Best Agriculture Feature Story National.” They each received a cash prize of P20,000.
In his welcome remarks, PMFTC Inc. president Paul Riley noted that “a year ago today, one of the strongest typhoons in history swept through the country, leaving millions of people homeless and hopeless. News of the devastation that Yolanda wrought were the headlines of both local and international media. But the Filipino spirit is ever resilient and today the survivors of Yolanda are slowly rebuilding their homes and their lives. Proof of how much this deadly storm affected the country can be seen in the number of photos and articles that were submitted to Bright Leaf that talked about the aftermath of Yolanda.”
Riley added “the Filipino spirit is indeed admirable. Their dedication to their craft and livelihood whatever it may be, inspires respect. And their hard work and determination are stories that are meant to be told. And through the journalists’ works, all these stories are being shared with the world.”
Since its launch in 2007, the Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards has become the premier competition for agriculture journalists all over the Philippines. For the past eight years, print, TV, Radio and photo journalists have actively and eagerly participated in this competition to find out who will be chosen as the crème of the crop.
And now it’s time for the journalists to look ahead and get ready for the 9th Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards.