It’s time to honour the stalwarts again

Lifetime achievement awards – 2007 for long and distinguished service to journalism in Sri Lanka

Five senior journalists will be presented Lifetime Achievement Awards for Long and Distinguished Service to Journalism in Sri Lanka at this year’s Journalism Awards to be held on Tuesday at the Mount Lavinia Hotel. The names of the senior journalists were announced by the Joint Organizing Committee of the Journalism Awards- 2007 – The Editor’s Guild of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Press Institute.

They will join a long list of men and women who have served the profession with dedication and commitment over the years and held responsible positions. All recipients this year have served for almost 50 years in journalism.

M.J.M. Zarook

M.J.M. Zarook started his journalistic career in April 1954 as a trainee journalist at the old ‘Times of Ceylon’ under Editor Tori de Souza.

Initially, Mr. Zarook wrote human-interest stories, but later covered the courts round and became a well-known figure at Hulftsdorp and in legal circles. On a special request by the doyen of journalism at the time, D.B. Dhanapala, then Editor of the ‘Lankadeepa’, Mr. Zarook was also assigned to write for the group’s new women’s weekly publication ‘Vanitha Viththi’.

After the Times Group was closed in 1985, he joined the ‘Daily News’, a publication of Lake House. On retirement from Lake House, he joined the ‘Daily Mirror’ as Associate News Editor. Mr. Zarook has been in journalism for a continuous period of 54 years and is presently the Assistant Legal News Editor of the ‘Daily Mirror’

D.C. Ranatunga

D.C. Ranatunga chose journalism as a career after graduating from the University of Peradeniya in 1956. He joined the ‘Dinamina’ News Desk as a reporter that year. A years later, he was promoted as News Editor ‘Dinamina’ and later moved to the ‘Observer’ as News Editor and later as Features Editor. During this period he was selected for a Commonwealth Press Union Fellowship in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Ranatunga has authored two coffee-table books, more serious novels 'The Great Revival' to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Upasampada in Sri Lanka and ‘From the Cradle - Glimpses of Sri Lankan folk culture portrayed at the Martin Wickramasinghe Museum of Folk Culture’. He has also authored four publications in the Handy Guide series - 'Twelve Parliaments of Sri Lanka', 'The Executive President', 'The Formidable Genius' (on Dr. Lester James Peries) and 'A Century of Stamps in Sri Lanka'.

He is currently a regular contributor to ‘The Sunday Times’ where he has weekly columns in the features and children’s sections. He also writes to ‘Explore Sri Lanka’ and ‘Business Today’ and edits in-house journals for Singer Sri Lanka, DPMC and 'Score', the quarterly newsletter for Sri Lanka Cricket.

Sriya Ratnakara

Sriya Ratnakara began her career as a sub-editor at the ‘Lankadeepa’ in 1957, published then by the ‘Times of Ceylon’. She was appointed Editor of ‘Vanitha Viththi’ in 1958, one of the earliest newspapers exclusively for women.

Four years later, she joined the Independent Newspaper (Davasa) Group as the Editor of the first women’s family magazine ‘Sri’. Ms. Ratnakara has also held the posts of Features Editor, Deputy Editor and acting Editor of ‘Riviresa’, the popular weekend newspaper of the same group.

She is the author of many books, both in the Sinhala and English languages.

K.T. Sivagurunathan

In a career spanning over four decades, K.T. Sivagurunathan began life as a journalist when he was 22 , joining ‘Dinapathi’ and ‘Chinthamani’ of the Independent Newspaper Group, as a cub-reporter.

Promotions came soon after and he was appointed sub-editor, later heading the subs-desk as chief sub-editor. In 1987, he was appointed Editor of ‘Chinthamani’. After the closure of the Independent Newspaper Group, he used his journalistic skills to write scripts for the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) and is still a regular panellist on radio talk shows and commentaries.

In 1995, Mr. Sivagurunathan received the Presidential Award for the Best Script Writer during the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the SLBC.

In 1996, he joined ‘Soodamani’, a Gunasena publication, as Associate Editor and the next year the Tamil weekly ‘Thinakural’. Currently he is the Features Editor of the ‘Sudaroli’ newspaper.

N.R.J. Aaron

N.R.J. Aaron served the ‘Daily News’ for 41 years from 1957 to 1998. He was News Editor for over 10 years and Associate Editor for another decade.

Earlier, as a reporter, he excelled in the education beat, which was his specialized subject and was a recipient of the D.R. Wijewardene Award presented monthly to journalists in the Lake House Group for outstanding news stories.

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