Young journalist and Prime Minister’s National Youth Awardee for 2020, Javaughn Keyes, says the real awardee is his mother, Claudette Thomas.
Keyes, 23 years old, says that his mother not only brought him into the world but also provided for him, even while she was also in need because as a freelance florist, the business has not always been constant for her.
“My mom is a single parent. She has always been supportive over the years. She is a big part of who I am today because of the hard work she has done over the years. As a single mother, she was able to ensure that I was not wanting of anything over the years, and I dedicate this award to her because I simply would not be here today without the hard work and sacrifices that she has made,”
the young resident of Old Harbour, St. Catherine, says.
“I know there were many times when I got frustrated and felt like I wanted to stop, but I was always encouraged, because I know the kind of hard work my mother has always put in to ensure that I am where I am,” he adds.
Keyes was nominated for the award, based on the service he has given as a broadcast journalist with the RJR Communications Group, particularly Television Jamaica (TVJ), writing stories for Prime Time News, Morning News and Midday News; hosting and co-producing the shows, titled, The Business Discussion, The Exchange that is broadcast on Jamaica News Network as well as on Television Jamaica.
Keyes also serves as a track and field announcer in Jamaica, but says journalism is what he is most passionate about.
“I started officially in journalism at 18 , having just left St. Jago High School. I got a free internship at Business Access TV, and as difficult as it was to take that unpaid internship for a month, there was just something in me that said push and do it, and because I have a love for the industry, I went ahead and that unpaid internship turned into a job. My first official job in media was a production assistant, which then propelled me into becoming a new anchor, reporter and producer at the same station,” Keyes said.
Mr. Keyes says that his alma mater, St. Jago High School, is what introduced him to his passion for journalism while he was in third form.
“We had a media group to help us understand the principles of writing. The kind of learning that we got there in writing, to write stories, put together a newscast and understanding the principles of production – from there, my skills were honed and I was then able to transition easily to Business Access TV, and in less than a year, I was voicing my own stories and became news anchor,” the former Head Boy at St. Jago High School, adds.
He later pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Integrated Marketing Communication and a minor in International Relations at the Caribbean School of Media and Communication (CARIMAC), University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona.