By Zaheer’s Facts, Lies and Statistics
Published November 28, 2016
Last week Saturday, the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) recognized Zaheer’s Facts, Lies and Statistics (ZFLS), and its editor-in-chief, Zaheer E. Clarke, at the National Journalism Awards function for outstanding work in journalism.
Though Clarke was a little disappointed to miss out on the major awards this year, he and Jamaica Gleaner’s Michael Abrahams were recognized with Certificates of Merit for their outstanding pieces in the Opinion Journalism section while ZFLS was the sole recipient of recognition – a Certificate of Merit – in the Best News, Sports or Current Affairs Blog category. Interestingly, Clarke and Abrahams were the only columnists recognized in the Morris Cargill Award for Opinion Journalism category, thus inadvertently sharing the unofficial 2016 Columnist of the Year title. Additionally, for the second year running ZFLS copped the Blog of the Year title.
Clarke’s columns, “One of Jamaica’s greatest nights reduced to bigotry”, “World No. 2 Morgan deserves to be on the Olympic team” and “Stick to Cricket, Please”, all published on ZFLS and in the local newspapers – the Western Mirror and the Jamaica Observer – were among those recognized for merit in the field of opinion journalism. Clarke received rave reviews from the judges for the quality of his writing, his knowledge of the issues and “his masterful use of the English language”, as declared by the Chief Judge.
In an interview with ZFLS, Clarke articulated, “I consider it an extreme honour to be recognized by the PAJ for my contributions to blogging, sports journalism and opinion journalism. Being from Western Jamaica and being recognized as the 2016 Columnist of the Year and winning the second Blogger or Blog of the Year title is absolutely special and humbling. It goes to show that talent abounds in the West and bloggers all over the nation have a voice and a space in mainstream media. We can certainly crossover into mainstream media and maintain the high, ethical and robust standards of journalism.”
Clarke shared some of his future dreams in journalism. “Hopefully, next year with continued growth, I might be the Sports or Young Journalist of the Year. I narrowly missed out on the Young Journalist Award this year. Therefore, next year I’m hoping to bring that one home to the bloggers and Western Jamaica. Let’s see how things will turn out next year.”
Clarke, who is also a full-time mathematics and chemistry lecturer at the Montego Bay Community College, remarked, ‘Several individuals have contributed to these achievements and recognition: my family, friends, coworkers, the Western Mirror family, the Jamaica Observer family and the loyal readers and followers of my column and blog. All I can say is, ‘We did it.‘“
Zaheer Clarke is a guest columnist and sports analyst with the Jamaica Observer. His column, ‘Lies & Statistics’, is featured on Mondays in the sports section of the Western Mirror and his blog, ‘Zaheer’s Facts, Lies and Statistics’ can be found online at https://zaheerliesandstatistics.wordpress.com. Clarke’s opinion radio commentaries, Zaheer’s Zone, can be heard on Saturdays at 7:30 PM (EST) during SportsNation Live on Nationwide News Network 90.7 FM.
A version of this blog article was also published in the Western Mirror on December 5, 2016.