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MEPA felicitates state’s award-winning scribes

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SHILLONG, June 19: The Meghalaya Editors’ and Publishers’ Association (MEPA) on Wednesday felicitated two award-winning journalists from the state – Alicia Bakor Phanwar and Princess Giri Rashir – at the Shillong Club lounge.
Alicia who works for India Today TV won the Exchange4media News Broadcasting Award (ENBA) Gold award for best news producer (English) in New Delhi on March 30. The award recognises the best in the Indian broadcast news industry.
At 26, Alicia is the youngest journalist as a shift supervisor in the India Today newsroom. Aside from giving shape to the channel’s prime time line-up, she is one of the lead producers for India Today’s Marquee show, News Today at 9 with ace anchor Rajdeep Sardesai for which she won the ENBA award.
Along with Preeti Choudhry, Alicia is also the lead producer of Mission 2024 with Preeti Choudhry, which bagged the gold award for best early prime-time show.
Before joining India Today TV, Alicia was a news producer with Republic TV and CNN-News18.
Addressing the gathering of newspersons at the function, she said her ambition from her student days was to be a journalist and she proceeded to Bengaluru to study journalism after which she proceeded to the UK for further studies.
“It takes a lot to survive in a national media newsroom. The work schedule is demanding but I have learnt not just to survive but also to give my best and be rewarded for my hard work. I would encourage other aspiring journalists to step out of their comfort zones and enter the mainstream media newsroom which is both challenging and rewarding,” she said.
When asked how she can cope with the gruelling schedule and whether she faces discrimination as a tribal from the Northeast, Alicia said, “People cannot believe I am a tribal because I can discharge my duties with élan. They have a stereotypical image of tribals that does not resonate with who I am. Yes, as people from the Northeast, it takes a while to establish ourselves but once we have proven our worth, colleagues and seniors respect us.”
Princess Giri Rashir, currently with East Mojo digital media, won the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism, 2021 under the Environment, Science and Technology Reporting category given out this year. She completed her post-graduation in journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi and began her career in journalism with Focus TV, New Delhi.
She later transitioned to the print media and worked as a junior reporter with The Pioneer newspaper. Her last stint in the national capital was with Tiranga TV where she worked at the output desk. This was where she honed her skills and then relocated to Shillong where she works for East Mojo.
On her award, Princess said it was her passion that pushed her to scour stories related to the environment and she zeroed in on the hugely polluting coke factories of Jaintia Hills which were also causing serious respiratory problems for the residents nearby.
She said it is important for journalists to look for stories across the state and give voice to the unheard. She expressed her gratitude to the MEPA for recognising her efforts and vowed to work earnestly to raise the flag of journalism in the state.
“We do not have to wait for the so-called mainstream media to patronise us, write about us or tell our stories. On the contrary, our stories from here should be so impactful that national media will be forced to come and chase those stories too,” Princess said.
MEPA president, Monarch Shabong expressed delight that they have been able to recognise the efforts of two outstanding women journalists from the state and urged them to take the issues of Meghalaya to the national media and also to guide young journalists to become better professionals.
Patricia Mukhim, a MEPA member and editor of The Shillong Times, expressed her happiness that the two young women journalists have broken all barriers to pursuing the careers of their choice and urged them to continue to do their best and win more awards while putting Meghalaya firmly on the map of mainstream media.
MEPA vice president Rajib Choudhury read out the letter of commendation from the association while general secretary John W Thabah gave the welcome address.

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