By Eddie Ameh
Wednesday was one of the busiest days at the bureau for my colleagues and me.
Some of us had one event or the other to attend; others had an interview or two to do while others had to complete their stories.
I had to attend the unveiling of a nine-foot tall bronze statue of Rosa Parks at Statuary Hall, in the Capitol.
Parks’s refusal to give up a seat for a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Ala. in 1955 sparked a bus boycott for a year and later resulted in the abolition of the segregation law. Parks has been credited as the mother of modern day civil rights advocacy.
This event brought President Barack Obama and congressional leaders together and they paid glowing tribute to a woman whose single action more than half a century ago has affected U.S. history. It was refreshing to see her family members from across the U.S. at the Capitol gracing the occasion.
It was also a delight to see civil rights advocate, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, at the event. I was glad when he granted me an interview and spoke of the life of Parks.
The event taught me a lesson that any action we take whether good or bad could have impact on generations so many years later.
By the time I came back, most of my colleagues were busily getting their stories done early enough to be ready for the 30th annual National Press Foundation dinner and awards. By 6:30 p.m., we were all done for the day and were headed for one of the NPF’s flagship programs for the year.
The event brought together some of the heavy weights of the U.S. media and rewarded journalists who had distinguished themselves in the year under review.
As a Ghanaian, two of the awards caught my attention most. First of all, the award for best Excellence in Online Journalism Award won by The Wall Street Journal will be something Gary Al Smith, former editor of my school’s newspaper “Communicator” will be happy about. He has always advocated for a category at the Ghana Journalists Awards for a category solely for online journalists.
Another award was the W.M. Kiplinger Award for Distinguished Contributions to Journalism which was won by Frank Deford, who writes for NPR, HBO and Sports Illustrated. Deford reminds me of veteran sports journalist Kwabena Yeboah. Yeboah is arguably Ghana’s best sports journalist. I pray he gets duly recognized for his contribution to Ghana’s sports journalism just like Deford.
All the award winners either mentioned or dedicated their awards to their colleagues in the newsroom. This taught me that, no matter how good a journalist is, he still needs the help of others. I learned the essence of unity and team building.
With good drinks at the pre-dinner reception and a very good meal at the dinner and a wonderful post-dinner party, my colleagues and I had a lot of fun, met new people but were sad it was over so soon. We were challenged and inspired by the stories of the award winners and encouraged ourselves to work hard. Who knows, some of us if not all could be back at NPF’s awards dinner, not as mere participants but as award winners.