CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards finalist Conan Businge

Hope is the last thing that dies for Uganda’s Conan Daniel Businge who submitted his entries to the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards four years in a row before he was finally shortlisted as a finalist in 2016.

For the New Vision reporter who’s been a journalist for eight years, this recognition marks the peak of his career. “This is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me in my journalism career. My colleagues are also happy for me because they know how hard it is to even make it to the list.”

He is proud that he has this chance to motivate his colleagues and would even be prouder if he wins the coveted Journalist of the Year Award won in 2015 by Burkinabé journalist Hyacinthe Boowurosigue Sanou. He says, “If I win Journalist of the Year, I would be on top of the sky. Journalism doesn’t pay much so these awards and recognitions are the real price.”

But his motivation in journalism is far much greater than any award. “My greatest satisfaction is the feeling that I have changed the livelihood of people through the stories that I report on. That I am able to impact on policies and laws for the greater good.”

One can see why Conan shows such commitment to his work; after all, his investigative journalism covers society’s three most important issues – education, health and environment. One of those stories would be the one he did on “how schools are eating down forests” by turning them into fuel to cook food for students.

These are the kinds of stories that have finally earned him recognition from CNN AJAs but also presented him with some of his greatest career challenges. “One of the biggest challenges is seeking out information from those unwilling to give it – officials withholding information. There’s also failure by media houses to invest in investigative journalism and the distortion that happens during editing or printing.”

Conan is one of the two CNN AJAs finalists from Uganda, the other being his New Vision colleague Gerald Tenywa.

Check out all the finalists here

The finalists will enjoy an all-expense paid four day programme of workshops, media forums and networking in Johannesburg, South Africa, culminating in a Gala Award Ceremony on Sunday 16 October 2016.