Liberia: FPA Wins Newspaper of the Year Again, its Editor Scoops Journalist of the Year Accolade at PUL Awards Night
MONROVIA – With accustomed flourish, Liberia’s most widely read newspaper, FrontPageAfrica, has again confirmed its preeminent position in the country’s newspaper industry.
At the Press Union of Liberia Excellence Awards Night ceremony Saturday in Monrovia, FrontPageAfrica swept the Newspaper of the Year award for the second year in a row and the eighth time since it was founded in 2005.
Also, FrontPageAfrica’s News Desk Chief, Lennart Dodoo, clinched the Journalist of the Year accolade.
FrontPageAfrica’s outstanding outing at the awards, an annual celebration of journalistic excellence, is reminiscent of the newspaper’s feats at all the Press Union of Liberia’s foremost journalism awards in the last two decades.
Over the last one year, Dodoo has done a lot of landmark stories, including his exposure of the findings of the General Auditing Commission’s audit that has now made the public to know how a whopping US$24m designated for the maintenance of roads and bridges was diverted by the Government of Liberia.
Of particularly reference is Dodoo’s investigation about how Montserrado County Senator Darius Dillon deceived the public to knowing he never flew Business Class during a fund-raising trip to United States of America.
Dodoo’s investigation revealed that while it is true that Senator Dillon flew Economy Class on Asky Airlines from Monrovia to Accra, his Economy Class ticket for the United States was upgraded in Accra, where he flew Z Class on Delta Airlines from Accra to New York.
Z is the discounted Business Class fare. It provides the same onboard service as full Business Class, but there are fare restrictions such as a change fee plus a difference in fare if you want to change the flight.
Dodoo’s investigation triggered a June 24 post by Senator Dillon in which he posted a photo of himself in a Business Cabin to announce his arrival in the United States.
Dillon’s post sparked concerns on social media – both from his supporters and from within the ruling establishment, criticizing him of being flamboyant despite lashing at government over wasteful spending in “an economy that he claimed was in the toilet”.
Dodoo’s investigation would later force Dillon to admit on the Spoon Talk Show that he “screwed up” when he lied about his Business Class ticket from Accra, Ghana to the United States of America – something he says has brought disgrace to his family and supporters.
Dillon’s admittance after several rebuttals endeared Dodoo to readers of FrontPageAfrica, who hailed him as “a professional journalist worthy of public trust”.
Reacting to the recognition Saturday, Dodoo thanked his colleagues and the management of FrontPageAfrica for supporting his vision to excel on the job, pledging to do more in the years to come.
“This award represents a symbol of the public’s appreciation of the work we do at FrontPageAfrica. We feel more rewarded when we see our work, our stories inspiring change in our society, when we see major decisions which could have otherwise had adverse effect on our community, county or country being reversed – that is the essence of journalism. We will continue to strive to deliver more quality stories and more in depth investigations. This is not our stopping point, this is just an inspiration to do more,” he said.
“And on a personal note, I feel honored and I am even more determined to do more in the area of digging and reporting. I dedicate it to my colleagues with whom I work at FrontPageAfrica and my family.”
Commendations for FPA and Dodoo
Readers and followers of FrontPageAfrica immediately took to social media to congratulate the paper and Dodoo for the achievements, terming it as “well-deserved”.
Moriah Yeakula wrote on Facebook: “Lennnaaarrrrtttt!!! Congratulations to you Lennart Dodoo on being awarded Journalist of the Year at the Press Union of Liberia Excellence Awards.
I’ve followed the work you’ve done and to say I’m proud is an understatement. You have held this government and leaders accountable without fear or favour. You have been the brain around revealing dishonesty and lack of accountability in our society. Your investigative prowess unraveled Dillon “Ticketgate” by providing hard evidence until he had to publicly apologize for lying about his ticket for weeks. You reported on the recent Road Fund Audit revealing the unaccounted $24.8 Million.
You’ve been insulted, threatened, attacked and targeted but you continue to work diligently and uphold the tenets of good ethical journalism. Keep doing what you do. The world is watching! CONGRATULATIONS again!”
Another follower of FrontPageAfrica, Gorlon Gare, described Dodoo’s accolade as “merited” and urged him to never stop in his pursuit for a better society.