Silver award for Inquirer in Warsaw
WARSAW, Poland—For providing children with their “first really fun reading experience,” the Inquirer Read-Along program received the silver award of the World Young Reader Prize on Monday, the first day of the Youth Engagement Summit held here by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-Ifra).
“Our program has one dream: To have children who love to read on their own,” said Minerva Generalao, head of the Inquirer research department and Read-Along program. “Our mission is to spread the joy and love for reading.”
Generalao and other read-along core group members—Inquirer assistant vice president for corporate affairs Connie Kalagayan, Junior Inquirer editor Ruth Navarra and research section head Kate Pedroso—received the award under the category of enduring excellence in public service in ceremonies held at the Gazeta Wyborcza headquarters.
“This team traveled the farthest to be here,” said Aralynn McMane, executive director of the WAN-Ifra Young Readership Development before the World Young Reader Prize winners were announced.
“I love this project. They want to help children love reading…. It’s the first really fun read for many of these children,” she added.
For its “Learning Network,” the New York Times received the top award under the category of “enduring excellence in learning with the news.” The Guardian also won the top award for its Guardian Education Centre.
Aside from the Inquirer project, the Tampa Bay Times won the silver award under the category for its “Reading with the Rays” program.
Kalagayan thanked WAN-Ifra for honoring the Inquirer Read-Along program, which aims to build a nation of readers “one day at a time.” She also expressed gratitude to the audience for the support of their countries in sending relief aid to the Philippines in the aftermath of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: “Haiyan”).
“From the bottom of our hearts and on behalf of the Filipino people, we are grateful and overwhelmed by your show of support,” she said. “As soon as we go back to the Philippines, we’re going to bring the read-along to the children affected by Yolanda.”
Now in its 15th year, WAN-Ifra’s World Young Reader Prize awards have honored excellence in newspaper engagement of the young. This year, more than 20 publications from over 10 countries were cited for projects geared toward engaging the young in six categories—brand, editorial, helping with health, learning with the news, public service and enduring excellence.
Young Reader Country
India was named Young Reader Country of the Year based on entries from Malayala Manorama, The Times of India, The Telegraph and Ebela, ABP, Mathrubhumi, Dainik Bhaskar, i-next and The Hindu. It was only the second time that WAN-Ifra gave out a country-level award after honoring Brazil in 2005.
Other publications that received awards during the ceremony:
— Brand—Schwäbische Post and Gmünder Tagespot (Germany), Namdals avisa (Norway) and Leeuwarder Courant (Netherlands).
— Editorial—Avisa Nordland (Norway), Die Zeit (Germany), Aftenposten (Norway), Göteborgs-Posten (Sweden) and Hürriyet (Turkey).
— Helping with health—A Gazeta (Brazil) and New Vision (Uganda).
— Learning with the news—The Straits Times (Singapore).
— Public service—Nordwest Zeitung (Germany) and South China Morning Post (Hong Kong).
— SoLoMo (social-local-mobile)—De Stentor (Netherlands), Bergensavisen (Norway), Kompas (Indonesia) and Paroli (Austria).
“Today, you did not only represent your newspaper; you represented your country,” said Gerard van der Weijden, WAN-Ifra advisor and guest judge at the World Young Reader Prize awards.
After receiving the award, Generalao delivered a five-minute laureate pitch, which highlighted milestones of the Inquirer Read-Along program, outlined key learnings over the past six years and offered a glimpse at what else is in store for the coming years.
“Why are we doing this? Because reading is down for both children and adults, and our ultimate dream is to have a nation of readers—starting with the young of today,” she said.
Launched in May 2007 by Inquirer research, Inquirer library and Junior Inquirer, the read-along aims to spread the joy and fun of reading among children aged 7 to 13 years through interactive and wacky storytelling sessions with celebrities and other role models.
The program has since expanded from the small and intimate first storytelling session held at the library of the Inquirer main office in Makati City, with only a handful of young listeners.
To date, the program has held more than 300 sessions featuring over 400 celebrity readers in over 50 cities and provinces in the country. The sessions involved the four Inquirer bureaus in northern and southern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao, as well as hundreds of volunteers.
In December 2011, the Inquirer Read-Along was declared overall grand winner in the communication management division of the 10th Philippine Quill Awards for staging 25 simultaneous storytelling sessions across the country on Dec. 4, 2010.
It also received the Quill Award of Excellence for the same project held in 25 locations nationwide as part of the Inquirer’s 25th anniversary celebration. The first Quill award was given in 2008, barely a year after the program was launched.
The program has also been recognized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Reading Association of the Philippines.
Since November 2011, the program has staged the annual Inquirer Read-Along Festival, which features a two-day marathon of reading sessions in a single venue and storytelling competitions for students and adults.
Thousands of children have attended the festivals, held in 2011 at GT-Toyota Auditorium at the University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City, at the amphitheater of the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center, also in Quezon City, last year, and at the Cultural Center of the Philippines two weeks ago.
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