A journalist with Kumasi-based Ultimate 106.9 FM of the Excellence In Broadcasting (E.I.B.) Network, Ivan Heathcote – Fumador has picked up the best reporter with a disability at the Media for Disability Awards & Dinner.

The awards followed a two-day intensive Media Capacity Building Initiative for Reporting on Disabilities (McBIRD) held at the instance of the Young Africa Media Center (YAMC) and the United States Embassy in Ghana.

Ivan Heathcote – Fumador’s feature on Inequalities in Education for the Visually Impaired Children of Ghana earned him the award which was handed to him by the Paramount Chief (Omanhen) of the Essikado traditional area Nana Kobina Nketsia V.

Twenty journalists were shortlisted to be part of McBird 2022 Certified by the National Center for Disability Journalism, based on the campus of Arizona State University, USA and BlueCrest University College.

The intensive training took participants through modules of ethics, policy, law, strategy, research and standards for properly reporting on Persons with Disability.

The training which came off at Takoradi in the Western Region, is supposed to hold reporters to the highest standards of ethical reporting that influences social inclusion and policy making.

Addressing participants and awardees, Managing Director for the Young Africa Media Centre Steven Asuo challenged the 2022 Cohort, to endeavor to deploy the knowledge gleaned to produce impact stories that better represent the course of Persons With Disability.

He noted, “Your dedication, commitment, hard work and your willingness to make impact in reporting on Persons With Disability will help us reach the UNSDG goal 10 which is to reduce inequalities. We are going out as ambassadors of disability reportage. It is our hope that the work you have done as media specialists will bring the change we want to see.”

A representative of the United States Embassy Victoria Oliver called for a shift in focus from reporting on the challenges and sad plight of PWDs to one that empowers its community with positive success stories.

“There are some 3 million Ghanaians living with disabilities. And as we all know and spoke about in our discussions, too often their stories are on their challenges and just as importantly their successes go untold. The disabled don’t see persons like themselves becoming successful Ghanaians,” she bemoaned.

Ivan shared the two awards of the night with award-winning journalist Beatrice Senadzi of the Ghana Broad Casting Corporation who won the Best Journalist Disability Reporting.

Receiving his award, Ivan relayed his motivation for defying the challenges of visual impairment to make himself count to humanity and the course of impact journalism.

“I am driven by three watchwords; impact, love, and purpose. Though the road has not been easy, I believe there is nothing more fulfilling than doing impactful journalism. These awards will even spur me on to do more work to solicit the required policy responses in this very delicate field of reporting on disabilities,” he assured.

E.I.B. Network’s Joseph Kobina Amuah from Empire FM in Takoradi was shortlisted as part of the 20 professional journalists selected out of over a hundred entries for McBIRD 2022.

By: Ivan Heathcote – Fumador.