Monrovia — The Youth Media Action (YMA) with support from USAID and Internews Liberia has awarded Journalist Siaway T. Miapue its maiden “Young Journalist of the Year 2023,” at its first-ever award program in Liberia.
The award attracted 23 emerging young journalists with five young journalists bagging awards including Emmanuel Kollie of ELBC as second runner-off, Laymah Kollie as first runner-off and Siaway T. Miapue as Young Journalist of the Year.
Journalist Miapue, age 24, specializes in environment and health reporting. He rose from the position of high school reporter at the Ganta United Methodist School (GUMS) in Ganta Nimba County 11th grade to News Director at Kool 91.9 FM/TV/Knewsonline in Montserrado where he currently works.
How it all began
Journalist Miapue’s journalism journey began in Ganta, Nimba County, while he was still in high school. He initially joined his school’s press club, and as his interest in journalism deepened, he started volunteering at Radio Sletorwah 101.1 in 2017- a local radio station in Nimba County. After completing high school, he had a brief stint at Hot 107.9 FM in Nimba. In pursuit of furthering his education and journalistic career, he made the move to Monrovia and enrolled at the University of Liberia.
As his passion for journalism grew, Journalist Miapue applied for a position at Kool 91.9 FM in Paynesville and he was fortunate to be accepted as a reporter, over time, he was promoted to the position of News Director, which is his current role. To enhance his journalistic skills and knowledge, he decided to enrol at the Peter Quaqua School of Journalism. After nine months of dedicated studies, he proudly obtained a diploma, further solidifying his commitment to this field. As a versatile journalist.
He has worked across various mediums, including broadcast and digital media, adapting to different storytelling formats and technologies allowing him to reach diverse audiences and create impactful content.
Currently, he studies Public Health and Environmental Science at the University of Liberia, giving him a unique opportunity to bridge both fields.
The 2023 Young Journalist has a long-term goal to blend his journalism skills with his knowledge of public health and environmental issues, particularly focusing on topics such as pollution and climate change. He aspires to use his platform as a journalist to raise awareness about these critical issues, advocating for positive change and contributing to a more informed and environmentally conscious society.
About the award-winning story
The story is about rampant illegal mining activities within the protected Sapo National Park in Southeast Liberia, the country’s largest protected area rich with valuable plant and animal species. It sheds light on the detrimental impact of illegal mining activities and the logistical constraints park rangers were faced with that posed a serious threat to the conservation efforts within the park. The story was published in two media outlets including FrontPage Africa and Kool 91.9 FM/knewsonline.
As a result of his investigation, the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) in collaboration with traditional leaders of the area, closed 24 illegal mining camps occupied by thousands of illegal miners and declared it a “No Go Zone” for them. As a result of the government and community’s action, the Park, one of Liberia’s most valuable assets, is now saved.
The story was done with grant support through Internews’ Liberia Media Activity Investigative Fellowship being implemented by the Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding (CEMESP).