Growth

DAME's first outing was on March 20, 1992, just when Media Review, its older sibling was celebrating one year as a monthly in the market. The award ceremony was an all Print Journalism affair with eight prizes awarded to deserving professionals.

It was an outing that The Guardian described in glowing prose in an article, published March 23, 1992. Said the Guardian: "A night of fun, pep and glamour! That was one good way to describe last Friday's gathering at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja during the presentation dinner for the first Diamond Awards for Media Excellence. The event organised by Diamond Publications, publishers of Media Review, was aimed at recognising excellence and giving the required impetus to professionalism in the Nigerian media world."

The following year, the Second DAME took place on December 22 at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island. There were two significant features. Twelve awards were given, four more than the previous year. Secondly, Advertising made its debut with three new categories added. Veteran journalist and elder statesman Chief Anthony Enahoro was the chairman. Two Special Guests of Honour: Professor Jerry Gana and Chief Segun Olusola were also present.

The Third DAME was held at the Muson Centre on December 20, 1994. Dr. Hassan Adamu, then President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, was the chairman. Thirteen prizes were awarded. At the Fourth DAME, Mr. Tunji Oseni, who had just lost his seat as the managing director of the Daily Times of Nigeria Plc, was the Guest Speaker. Commerce House, which had witnessed the birth of Media Review in 1991, was the venue. Twelve prizes were awarded.

The next three editions of DAME moved to the National Theatre Iganmu. While the fifth held on December 15, 1996, the sixth took place on November 5, 1997 and the seventh on November 29, 1998. The number of prizes given ranged from 12 to 20 and finally 16 on those occasions. While Chief Olusola chaired the fifth, Hadj Alade Odunewu, chairman of the Nigerian Press Council, was the Special Guest of Honour at the sixth. The event held barely two weeks to his 70th birthday. At the seventh DAME Tell magazine's Editor-in-Chief Nosa Igiebor gave the Guest Lecture.

The eighth and ninth editions moved to Ikeja. While the former was at the Lagos Airport Hotel, the latter took place at the Sheraton Hotels and Towers, venue of the maiden edition. Mallam Ismaila Isa, President of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria chaired the proceedings at the eighth. At the ninth the honour went to Mr. Tunji Oseni while Information and National Orientation Minister, Professor Jerry Gana was the Special Guest of Honour. At the tenth DAME, the governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba, a veteran journalist, was the Guest of Honour.

He also earned the honour of being the first person to be inducted as a patron of DAME.

In all instances effort is always made to invite persons relevant to the occasion and who have something positive to share with the distinguished audience drawn from various professions and disciplines. Being a landmark event, the 10th DAME witnessed two special awards, the Newspaper of the Decade and the Newsmagazine of the Decade. The Guardian and Tell magazine won the two prizes respectively.

Bayelsa State Governor, Dipreye Alamieyesigha, was the special guest of honour at the 11th DAME whilst the 12th DAME had Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the Special Guest of Honour.

Prof. Alfred Opubor was the Special Guest of Honour at the 13th while former Ogun State Governor, Chief Segun Osoba, was the Chairman.

At the 14th DAME, the DAME train moved to Abeokuta, birth home of the Nigerian press, where the first newspaper, Iwe Irohin, was first published in December 1859. The state government hosted the presentation, the first time the presentation would leave Lagos. The Special Guest of Honour was Governor Gbenga Daniel, who also endowed the Newspaper of the Year prize in the name of the state government to underscore Abeokuta's historic status.

The 15th DAME held in Lagos on December 3, 2006 at the Sheraton Hotels and Towers.

The 16th DAME held in Lagos on Sunday, December 9, 2007, at the Ikeja Sheraton Hotels & Towers. The 17th DAME was also at the Sheraton. The 18th headed for Oceanview Restaurant, Victoria Island, only for it to return to Ikeja Sheraton for the 19th and 20th editions.

The 21st and 22nd editions held at the Ikeja Sheraton Hotels and Towers. To date 450 names have been inducted into the DAME Hall of FAME for outstanding individual and institutional performance. In addition 17 people have been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Awards for journalist excellence.

DAME continues to serve as an annual reunion of media professionals, policy regulators, academics and discerning members of the public from industry, the arts and government and a useful barometer to measure media performance.

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