Liberia: YMA Launches 1st Young Journalist Award Program

YMA Executive Director Varmah Kamara

— Announces call for entries

A pro-media development group, Youth Media Action (YMA), has launched its first Young Journalists Award aimed at celebrating the work of Young Reporters.

Addressing a news conference on Monday, September 18, 2023, the Executive Director of the group, Varmah Kamara, said the award will recognize and celebrate outstanding young talents in the Liberian media.

Kamara indicated that five young reporters between the ages of 15-25 years, will be recognized under the initiative during every award circle. As criteria, those seeking the award must have practiced for at least two years and submit one outstanding published or broadcast piece of work produced in the twelve months prior to the award’s deadline for submissions.

He asserted that applicants must have demonstrated passion for learning, commitment, brilliance, and career potential in mainstream, high school, or community settings over the past twelve months.

“Too often, award ceremonies in the Liberian media focus on mainstream journalists, not highlighting the incredible works of young reporters and enterprising journalists, which this new initiative intends to address,” he added.

The Youth Media Action Executive Director at the same time announced a Special Award Committee, comprising five credible journalists and media practitioners, along with one representative each from the Press Union of Liberia, Internews Liberia, and Youth Media Action, to provide supervision and support.

Those appointed to the Young Journalist Award Committee include Former Super Morning Talk show host, Daniel Ankrah as Chairman, while Rita Jlogbe Doue of Voice of America will serve as Co-chair.

Others include BBC correspondent Moses Garzeawu; Zoquay Beysolow Konneh of the Liberia Broadcasting System; Denise Nimpson of Voice of America; and Director of Programs at Voice of Liberia.

The Press Union of Liberia Secretary General Elect, Akoi Baysah, Zeowheh Saywrayne-Sumo of Internews Liberia, and Youth Media Action Director, Varmah Kamara, will provide support and supervision for the committee.

Kamara asserted that the Special Award Committee will evaluate all entries and announce five winners – three from the mainstream and two from high schools who will receive their respective prizes in Monrovia at a well-attended gala night on October 30, 2023.

According to him, entries for the award are now open and will close on October 14, 2023, while the committee will accept entries from young journalists who are Liberians practicing in any of the fifteen political subdivisions of Liberia. 

Kamara emphasized that all entries should be submitted at Youth Media Offices on Gurley Street, UN Drive or via email at with all necessary attachments and in any format: print, audio, video, multimedia, or a combination of all four. 

He added that the 2023 award is being organized by Youth Media Action with support from Internews-Liberia under the auspices of USAID Liberia Media Activity. 

Youth Media Action (YMA) is a Liberian grassroots media development initiative that provides training and broadcasting experience to high school students and youths in ten of Liberia’s 15 counties. 

With a team of young staff led by Liberian journalist Varmah Kamara, YMA coordinates a weekly student-led radio show broadcast nationwide on ELBC, the national state radio station. YMA also runs twice-yearly journalism vacation programs for child broadcasters and recent graduates. 

Over 3,000 students have passed through YMA’s programs since its launch in 2016. YMA also runs internship and mentorship programs for young people upon graduation from high school.