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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Siemens Profile-06 rewards excellence

The 2006 African Siemens Profile Awards held recently in South Africa ended with rewards for excellence as winners carted home prizes to various parts of the continent, even as Jennifer Stastny of Popular Mechanics was named the overall winner with her piece on ‘Unseen Ally,’ which also won a prize in the medical solutions category.

This came as Nigerian-based Benin City Correspondent of Ogun State-owned newspapers, The Hope, Mr. Adetokunbo Abiola was named top in the Local Manufacture basic technology category, while Messrs ‘Seun Igbolade and Elvis Orimosele of IT & Telecom Digest and Financial Standards respectively, emerged merit winners in the Information Technology (IT) Business Solutions and Communications in the Carriers and Enterprise categories in that order.


Other winners in 2006 Profile awards from South Africa included Allan Duggan in Research and Development, Duncan McCleod in Policy and Investment as well as Rowan Watt-Pringle in Corporate respectively.


Equally, there were winners from Egypt including Adel El Bahnasawi (Energy), Haitham Dardeeri (Business Solutions (IT) and Samir Mahmoud, Transport.


Additionally, Burkinabe Ramata Sore, took home the prize for Communications category.


Speaking at the event, chief executive, Siemens Southern Africa, Mr. Sigi Proebstle, noted that with the aim of rewarding reporting excellence in the fields of science and technology in Africa, the firm is making a mark on increasing in the number of entrants from across the continent, which he said, made the Profile Awards truly Pan-African in their scope and reach.


Proebstle also said that it is his firm’s belief that science and technology reporting needs to be continuously accelerated and improved upon on the continent in order to demystify these very important topics that have the potential to impact massively on the lives of all Africa’s people.


“The recognition and reward of those writers, broadcasters and producers who effectively do this, therefore, is a vitally important task,” he said.


He stressed that as developments in science and technology continue apace, it is relevant to stay up-to-date with the leading edge of innovation, which is why Siemens sees the reporting of science and technology in an easily understandable format as a priority for Africa.


“We believe that science and innovation can help us create a safer and healthier society, a cleaner environment and a prosperous knowledge-driven economy for this entire continent's people,” he said.


The Executive Director for Development at Rhodes University Grahamstown, Mr. Kerry Swift, and the convener of the judging panel said that overall, the trend was up in terms of the number of entries received, countries participating and in the depth of knowledge displayed.


He added that of particular importance for the 2006 awards was the quality and quantity of entries from the north of Africa, which indicated that a wide spread from countries across the continent such as Nigeria, Egypt and Burkina Faso, as well as from Francophone Africa came in.


“Of the winning entries, what stood out clearly was the depth of research, the ability to unbundled complex technology, individual writing styles and a broad interest in the technology arena, with several entries considered to be world-class,” he said.


Mr. Swift pointed out that entries were examined for reporting that was accurate, informed and balanced, and that communicated science and technology reporting in an easily understood manner, with strong emphasis placed on context.


“The category and merit awards went to those journalists who unbundled technology so audiences could easily grasp the nature and benefits of new technologies, and who did so in a clear and concise manner,” he declared.

The judge panel was composed of senior journalists from English, French and Arabic media, technology writers, academics and technologists among others, Siemens’ profile media awards is a yearly contest among African journalists who have done work the previous year on science and technology.


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