Ghanaian media lecturer wins global award on health reporting

A study on health reporting by Ghanaian journalists has won the James W. Markham top paper prize.

The annual prize is given under the International Communication Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).

The study, authored by Kwaku Botwe, a journalism lecturer at the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI) is titled “Factors Influencing Nutrition News Reporting among Ghanaian Journalists”.

The paper was entered into the competition when he submitted for the 2020 AEJMC research conference slated for San Francisco in August.

The paper was awarded the prize based on evaluations and accumulated points from blind reviewers. Markham Research Competition Chair Dr. M. Delwar Hossain wrote in an email sighted by ABC News “The selection of papers and extended abstracts was based on standardized scores calculated from the reviewers’ rating sheets.”

Kwaku’s presentation is scheduled for Wellness Worldwide, COVID-19, and Health (Mis)Information, Thursday, August 6, 1:30-3 p.m. He will receive his award, including a cash prize, in the International Communication Division (ICD) Business Meeting at 6:45 p.m. Friday, August 7, 2020.

All presentations, however, would be done virtually after the conference was moved online due to the current coronavirus pandemic.

The ultimate aim of the author is to investigate ways to boost health reporting, especially nutritional health, in the Ghanaian media space.

The abstract of the paper reads: “The media in Ghana can play a significant role in informing the public about health issues. But in Ghana coverage of nutrition is low.

The results of a cross-sectional survey of Ghanaian journalists (n=105) show that reporting on nutrition is influenced by gender, media dynamics, journalists’ health orientation, and the three constructs of the theory of planned behavior. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.”

Kwaku, a practicing journalist, is one of the lead researchers of the Presidential Encounter Project which ranks journalists based on the quality of questions they ask during presidential press encounters.

He is currently at the University of Colorado Boulder where he is undertaking further studies in Strategic Communication and teaching as well.


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