The Women in News Leadership Award is a career achievement award that recognises an exemplary contribution of an Editor to her newsroom – and under her leadership the contribution of her newspaper – to society.
The Women in News Leadership Award is awarded to three outstanding woman editors, representing Africa, the Arab Region and Southeast Asia, who are first amongst their peers in inspiring and paving the way forward for the next generation of leaders.
Mary Mbewe is the Executive Editor of Zambia’s Daily Nation
Mary Mbewe is the Executive Editor of Zambia’s Daily Nation, where she has helped build on the overall vision of the newspaper since 2017. But her rise to the top of Zambia’s news media landscape started decades ago, when she took her first reporting job at the Zambia Daily Mail.
Fresh out of college, Mbewe worked across several desks – from sport, international news to general reporting – over the course of several years. She eventually found a passion in business news, reporting on finance, trade and economy before moving into editing.
Mbewe continued to move up through the ranks, working on the sub-editing desk before becoming the deputy chief sub-editor at the paper. After a brief interlude in personnel management, she returned to the editing desk, eventually becoming the chief sub-editor.
While she missed reporting, Mbewe was able to polish her craft on the editing desk, striving to make the paper more accessible to readers.
“The position allowed me to learn so much about journalism and the different material landing on my desk,” says Mbewe. “I liked finding the connection between the reporter, the story and the reader, and trying to create stories that the reader would appreciate and understand.”
By 1999, Mbewe was asked to become the Editor-in-Chief of the Zambia Daily Mail, and in 2000, it was confirmed: she had become the first woman at the paper, and in Zambia as a whole, to hold the prestigious position.
Mbewe arrived in the top role when the paper was struggling financially, so in addition to breaking the glass ceiling she also needed to focus on getting the Zambia Daily Mail back on track.
“I was thrown into the deep end,” says Mbewe, “but we managed to swim and we put the company back on its footing. I was eventually joined by new boss, Managing Editor Godfrey Malama.”
Now, Mbewe works as the Executive Editor of Zambia’s Daily Nation, where she has helped drive the newspaper’s vision since 2017. She aims to offer stories that make an impact on readers while also satisfying their desire for news and analysis on Zambia’s highly charged political landscape.
She is a founding member of the Zambia Union of journalists (ZUJ), and a member of the Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA) and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)’s Zambian Chapter.
At the Daily Nation, Mbewe continues to push past censorship concerns, striving to reflect what the ordinary person wants and show the authorities what issues affect their readers. After all, the Daily Nation is, says Mbewe, the people’s paper.
“Everyone has dreams and expectations and this paper is their voice,” says Mbewe. “We want a large portion of the paper to act as a voice for the voiceless.”
Anna Nimiriano Nunu Siya is a veteran South Sudanese journalist with more than fifteen years of experience in print and broadcast journalism.
Besides being one of the founders of Juba Monitor, a daily English publication, Anna currently serves as the Editor In Chief of the Juba Monitor and has previously worked for the now-defunct Khartoum Monitor as Editorial Director and subsequently Managing Editor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from college of Community Studies and Rural Development, University of Juba and a Diploma in Theology, Institute of Theology for the Laity.
Anna has attended several local and international media training workshops in Kenya, Uganda, Washington DC, Sierra Leone, Djibouti, Tanzania, China and India. She is a member of the National Editors’ Forum in South Sudan.
Barbara Kaija is group Editor-in-chief of New Vision Printing and Publishing Company, a multimedia company in Uganda that publishes various newspapers, including The New Vision, Bukedde, Orumuri, as well as a suite of magazines.
Barbara has been with the newspaper since 1992, when she joined as a trainee sub-editor. She was promoted to Editor-in-chief in April 2010, having steadily moved up through the ranks first as features editor -a position she held for ten years – and then as deputy Editor-in-Chief, a position she held for 4 years.
Under her strategic leadership, New Vision has grown from simply telling stories to aiming to have an impact on the society. Barbara oversees both the development as well as the production of all content, providing guidance to an ever-growing number of journalists and editors.
As the head of New Vision, Barbara led her team to launch the ‘Ugandans making a difference’, a project that recognizes, profiles and awards outstanding individuals in their fields. She also spearheaded the innovation and production of various unique media products in farming, health, education, gender and entrepreneurship that have transformed into large-scale social initiatives. These include Women Achievers, Teachers Making a Difference, Best Farmers, Pakasa Youth Awards and the Top 40 under 40 inspirational Men and Women in Uganda.
In addition to her role at New Vision, Barbara is also an established media trainer and coach and has been providing mentorship to young people in the fields of media and communications in Uganda and across Africa.
Barbara has been a board member of the African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) since September 2012. She has also served on the board of Media Focus Africa (MFA) since March 2017.
Pamella Makotsi Sittoni
Pamella Sittoni lead the Nation Media Group’s coverage of international, African and regional affairs by staff in Nairobi and three bureaus in the region, as well as Correspondents across Africa. She has held the position for five years.
Sittoni began her career at the Nation Media Group in Kenya as a reporter in 1993,and later worked as a sub- editor, deputy chief sub-editor and chief sub-editor. In 2003 she moved to the Standard Group, as Deputy Managing Editor. In 2005, she was appointed Managing Editor of its flagship daily, The Standard, becoming the first woman Managing Editor of a daily newspaper in Kenya.
From 2006 to 2012, she worked as a Communication Specialist with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Kenya, where she, among other tasks, led the agency’s engagement with Members of Parliament and was charged with mobilising the media to keep children’s and women’s issues on the national and global agenda.
Sittoni holds a degree in literature and anthropology and a post-graduate diploma in communication from the University of Nairobi, and a Master’s degree in New Media, Democracy and Governance, from the University of Leicester. She is a Fellow of the Aspen Global Leadership Network through the Africa Leadership Initiative (East Africa).
Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye has over 10 years experience as an investigative journalist on different beats like politics, crime, business, health and environment. Ogunseye, who is the first female editor in the over 40-year history Punch Newspaper, Nigeria’s most widely read newspaper, is the Editor of the Sunday title-Sunday Punch.
Ogunseye, who is the 2014 Laureate of the African Women in News Leadership Award given by the World Association of Newspapers is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that Sunday Punch is the best paper in the country every Sunday. She also ensures that the reporters she works with deliver at their optimum best in order to make the paper and its online platforms competitive and revenue-generating.
A 2014 Fellow of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, she is also an advocate for empowerment of young persons and gives self development talks locally and internationally. Apart from this, she is a guest lecturer at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism where teaches journalism students for free. She is skilled in media, communications and scientific research.
She holds a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, a Pgd in Print Journalism from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, a MSc in Media and Communication from the Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria and is currently studying for a PhD in Politics and International Relations at the University of Leicester, United Kingdom.
The 2014 winner of the Knight Investigative Journalism Award, journalism’s global premier prize, Ogunseye’s investigative reporting had in 2013 earned her the Nigerian Academy of Science Award Reporter of the Year.