BY PATRICIA BIANCA S. TACULAO

Vina Medenilla, a content producer for Manila Bulletin’s Agriculture section, recently topped the 2021 Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards. 

Her story titled “An agritourism site fosters sustainable agriculture to strengthen communities” bagged Best Online Story at the award ceremony. 

Best Online Story is a category that has only been instituted last 2018. And among the hundreds of entries that were submitted, Medenilla’s story stood out from the rest.

Vina Medenilla, a content producer from agriculture.com.ph, won Best Online Story in the 14th Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards. (Photo courtesy of Vina Medenilla)

According to Medenilla, she chose to submit this story, which is published on Agriculture Online, because it features a farm that promotes inclusivity and empowers people through agriculture. 

“The accommodations on the farm are all native Philippine houses so each Filipino, especially the IPs, can feel at home if they come to the farm for learning. This is what struck me the most. So, through this story, I wanted to show how agriculture can be a powerful tool in uniting everyone,” she said. 

(Read the award-winning story here

Receiving the award from PMFTC Inc. and Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards, according to Medenilla, is a great honor for her but there’s more to being an agriculture journalist than these recognitions. 

“The most rewarding thing as an agricultural journalist is I get the chance to talk with our Filipino farmers, growers, and enthusiasts, and I get to share their inspiring stories with the world. More than anything, seeing their endeavors thrive and succeed makes the work worthwhile,” she said. 

She added that working in agriculture for more than a year has given her a chance to grow as a journalist. And throughout that time, she feels grateful to everyone who trusted her in writing their story. 

“Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without the support of our three-women agriculture team, and my loved ones,” the content producer said. 

As she continues to pursue her career as an agriculture journalist, Medenilla is aware that she has more to learn and more stories to tell. Still, she hopes that she can continue to bring a voice to those whose stories are worthy of appreciation and recognition. 

Medenilla is the second Bright Leaf awardee from Manila Bulletin, with the late Zac Sarian being the first to receive the Oriental Leaf Award which recognizes him as a member of the Bright Leaf Awards Hall Of Fame. Sarian was a former Agriculture section editor of Manila Bulletin and founding editor of Agriculture Monthly magazine. He is also considered the grandfather of Philippine agriculture journalism.

Launched in 2007 by Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc., the Bright Leaf Awards is an annual awarding-giving body that acknowledges journalists’ efforts and celebrates the most outstanding stories in print, radio, and TV. 

It also honors photos that capture the essence of tobacco planting and the agriculture sector.

This year, the awarding ceremony was held online via Zoom to comply with the health protocols established to mitigate the risk of COVID-19.