Bird Flu, Rice Consumption Stories Bring Bright Leaf Honors To BusinessMirror
November 19, 2019

FOR the second time in a row, the BusinessMirror, the country’s leading business newspaper, won two awards in a single year at the 12th Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards.

This is the first time a single news outfit won two awards in two consecutive years since Bright Leaf began in 2007.

BusinessMirror’s 22-year-old reporter, Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas, bagged the Best Agriculture Feature Story (National) of the year, the same award he received last year from the award-giving body.

This year, jurors adjudged Arcalas’s story titled “Fowl farmers’ fears persist 1 year after bird flu flare-up: PHL poultry raisers on ground zero still coping,” as worthy of honor.

The story focused on the outbreak of the Avian Influenza (AI), which began in Pampanga, and the lives of the poultry raisers a year after the tragedy. It also unveiled the plans and reforms the government would undertake to ensure a better response to future AI outbreaks.

The article was also the BusinessMirror’s first multimedia story as the business paper ventures into the digital age of reportage.

The story “Snapshot of rice-consumption data remains grainy as Pinoys grapple with supply, prices,” which Arcalas coauthored with his senior reporter Cai U. Ordinario won the Best Agriculture News Story (National). This is Ordinario’s first Bright Leaf award and adds to her third-straight Best Macroeconomy Reporter award from the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines.

The article focused on the data challenges in food consumption in the Philippines, particularly on rice consumption. The story revealed the government uses two conflicting data sets to determine rice consumption nationwide.

“Beyond the simple recitation of facts that are uncovered by those practicing agriculture journalism, there is the engagement between tone and diction and, above all, the provision of new knowledge and awareness that are anchored on science,” writer and Philippine Star columnist Krip Yuson said in his speech at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati City. Yuson is the head of the panel of judges for this year’s Bright Leaf Awards.

This year’s winners also included Henrylito Tacio of Edge Davao who bagged the Agriculture Story of the Year Award for his series, “The grass that feeds Filipinos.” The award for Tobacco Story of the Year—“Is tobacco the next ‘miracle crop’?”—went to SunStar Pampanga’s Ian Ocampo Flora.

Wilfredo Lomibao of Philippine Daily Inquirer claimed his trophy for his photo titled “Pond Harvest,” and Erwin Beleo of The Star Northern Dispatch was named the winner for Tobacco Photo of the Year for “Chill Only.”

Baguio City-based journalist Hanna Lacsamana won the Best Agriculture Feature Story-Regional for her story, titled “Making farming viable for millennials,” published in the Baguio Midland Courier,and Baguio Chronicle’s Karlston Lapniten’s “Brewing enough coffee for the Filipino Cup” was named Best Agriculture News Story-Regional.

For Best Agriculture TV Program or Segment, Agri Tayo Dito of ABS-CBN Regional was named winner for their four-part series on biotechnology.  Malu Manar of DXND Kidapawan was named winner of Best Agriculture Radio Program or Segment for the “Vermi Composting sa Urban Household” episode of the program Bida Specials.

Ma. Victoria Conde of Rappler won the first ever Best Online Story award for “How beekeeping helped a Sorsogon coconut farm.”

Selecting this year’s winners was a panel of judges composed of some of the country’s most respected names in photo, print, broadcast and online journalism, advertising and fashion photography and members of academe.

Joining Yuson in the panel of judges were Francis Abraham, Pennie Azarcon-de la Cruz, Rina Jimenez-David, J. Albert Gamboa, Jake Maderazo, Ramon Osorio, Isabelita Reyes, Edwin Sallan, Sev Sarmenta, Marby Villaceran and Rem Zamora.

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