Theresa Chapulapula, a journalist with the Daily Times of Malawi who was part of a group that went through the FAIR in-house mentoring programme last year, scooped the MISA –Malawi Journalist of the Year as well as Investigative Journalist of the Year awards on 5 May 2012.
Chapulapula, deputy chief reporter at Blantyre Newspapers Limited (BNL), was part of a group of 10 reporters from the newspaper group who participated in an intensive three-month investigative journalism programme run by FAIR. The programme is funded by HIVOS Southern Africa and is being carried out in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The FAIR programme involves two weeks of intensive training in investigative reporting focussing on getting story ideas and information gathering techniques. This is followed by a four to six-week break during which participants work on their stories.
The reporters gather again for a week of training on organising, drafting and editing, after which they work with the FAIR peer mentor to polish their stories for publication.
Theresa’s story was on a housing scandal at the Malawi Housing Corporation under which top government officials bought houses at highly discounted values which were way below the market prices. (See: http://fairreporters.net/investigative-headlines/mhc-loses-k105-m-on-house-sell/)
The story was written as a series partly to circumvent Malawi’s injunction laws and ended up as a seven party series. It resulted in the firing of the general manager Golden Matiya and his deputy Floyd Mondiwa.
Chapulapula was also recommended by FAIR for a three-month in-house training in investigative journalism at the Mail and Guardian under its AmaBhungane programme.
FAIR and BNL are working on phase two of the programme.