National winners announced for 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards

29 November 2018. The entries to the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were extraordinarily varied and of an excellent standard, with new categories introduced which are based on content as opposed to platforms. This year, the judges decided that two entries were equally worthy of the coveted Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award.

The first co-winning entry, in the new Data Journalism category, is a set of stories by Alastair Otter and Laura Grant of Media Hack which showed how Data Journalism is shaping the future. The second co-winning entrant is Bongani Fuzile of the Daily Dispatch for his articles in the investigative category on how migrant workers were being ripped off by pension deductions (full citations below).

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “This year we modernised the 12 categories that journalists could enter their work in and the change was embraced by entrants. In a turbulent time for media, the 2018 entries once again proved that there are excellent South African journalists delivering praiseworthy work, and we commend them for finding new and innovative ways to cover the news.”

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group, says: “Vodacom is proud of its 17-year association with these prestigious awards, which make an important contribution to our society through the recognition of journalistic excellence. I’d like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners and, as always, I’d like to pay tribute to our hardworking judges. Ryland Fisher, Mathatha Tsedu, Arthur Goldstuck, Collin Nxumalo, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Megan Rusi, Mary Papayya, Albe Grobbelaar and Obed Zilwa: thank you for making these awards a continued success.”

Veteran journalist and media stalwart Ms Amina Frense is the winner of the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Lifetime Achiever Award. She has spent decades in mainstream media both locally and internationally. She is a former Managing Editor: News and Current Affairs at the SA Broadcasting Corporation. She has worked in many countries abroad as a producer and a foreign correspondent, has written two books and is also a founding member of SANEF where she still serves as a council member (full citation below).

The overall winners share the R100 000 main prize. National winners in the various categories are as follows, with each winner taking home R10 000:

SPORT

The entries in this category were of an exceptionally high standard. One entrant stood out and became the unanimous winner. This journalist showed an exceptional skill for story-telling and for finding unexpected angles and unknown facts. For his stories about Musangwe's fight for recognition, Age cheating in SA football, and Hansie Cronje revisited, the winner is Ronald Masinda, and the team of Gift Kganyago, Nceba Ntlanganiso and Charles Lombard from eSAT TV.

DATA JOURNALISM

The winning team illustrates the extent to which non-traditional capabilities like programming and data visualisation are powerful tools in the hands of skilled journalists. Most significantly, it shows how data that has been available for a long time can be revisited to extract new meaning, understanding and insights in order to bring new perspective to a burning issue. Thanks to this investigation of data, through using data tools, and striking visual treatment, education activists found themselves with a powerful new resource. In the fast-emerging field of data journalism, this set of stories set a new benchmark in both the exploration and representation of buried information. The winners are Alastair Otter and Laura Grant of Media Hack.

CSI/SUSTAINABILITY

Fracking has been a major debate across South Africa in recent years as energy demands conflict with environmental protection ideals and ecotourism. Now this push for new energy sources has expanded to the ocean. Offshore exploration rights have been quietly and almost clandestinely handed to big energy interests with little attention to legal environmental safeguards. The winning entry was well researched, clear and direct, using good statistics, examples, interviews and great visuals. The winner is Julie Laurenz from Nguni TV.

PHOTOGRAPHY

This photographer captures the shocking moments when a father stripped of his dignity and hope flings his baby daughter from the roof of his illegal shack in the hope of stalling a forced eviction. Almost doll like the one-year-old baby lands safely in the arms of an anxious policeman cushioning her fall. The winner is Theodore Jephta from Die Son.

POLITICS

The fight against corruption depends to a large extent on women and men who work in institutions who are prepared to stand up and be counted in exposing the rot that they see. In doing so, these whistle blowers take risks that can be fatal in some cases. This is the case for our winner, where two whistle-blowers on the Esdina dairy project in Vrede in the Free State which was financed from state coffers but with the bulk of the money allegedly siphoned off by the Gupta family, found themselves in mortal danger. Our winner chronicles the two cases, showing how a police investigation that started with a flurry have all but fizzled out, raising the question whether this lack of enthusiasm by the police is linked to the state capture of which the project in question is a part. The winner is Tabelo Timse from Amabhungane.

FEATURE/LIFESTYLE

The winning entry showed the writer’s exceptional skills, research, planning and eye for imagery and was judged on a body of work for two stories; Female Gamers the New Sports Stars and The Disruptors: Generation 2030 – published in depth in Forbes Women Africa. The winner is Jay Caboz from Media24.

LIVE REPORTING/BREAKING NEWS

The winning entry was exceptional. On the morning that a young girl was shot in a hijacking, a television reporter was doing a live studio crossing. When the news came in the journalist decided to leave the studio and rushed to the crime scene. With only a cell phone and an App that wasn’t working, the journalist started to tweet, later managed to do a live crossing with the cell phone and broke the story on national television. In the body of work the same journalist went beyond call of duty to report on the massacre on the Verulam mosque, and brought Durban’s monster storm into the homes of television viewers. The winners are Dasen Thathiah, supported by Nkanyiso Mdlalose, Susanna Holmes, Terence Stone and Francois Grobler from eNCA.

MULTI-PLATFORM

The winning series of print stories, photographs and video focuses on the wellbeing of students or lack thereof in university residences across the Eastern Cape. It showed the sheer desperation of students living in appalling squalid conditions. Our winner looks at more than one institution and uses print and video effectively to report on the lives of these students. He uses multi-platform to highlight different parts of the story with little repetition. He takes us along so that we experience the students’ fight for better living conditions – protesting in the rain and even clashing with heavily armed police. The winner is Sino Majangaza from Tiso Blackstar.

OPINION

Our nominees brought forward quality writing and are some of the best public influencers in the media industry. Our winner exemplified the best in opinion writing, reflecting on his growing-up years and watching soccer for the first time and linking this to the violence at Moses Mabhida stadium involving Kaizer Chiefs’ fans. The winner is Matthew Savides from Tiso Blackstar.

FINANCIAL/ECONOMICS

In this category, the judges looked for in-depth features and investigations which combined excellent story telling with illuminating insights. The winner succeeded in putting a human face on economic events, interwoven with incisive economic analysis and context. The winner is Lisa Steyn for her piece published by Mail & Guardian.

INVESTIGATIVE

Mining in SA grew and still relies on the prowess of the less educated labourers who leave their rural homes to work in this industry. Many a time, they either go back home broken or in coffins, leaving their families destitute. This is despite the fact that pension deductions would have been made to which they or their families would be entitled. The companies however outsource this to Teba which claims it cannot trace the workers or their families. Our winner set out to test whether indeed the beneficiaries of the over R4 billion that was lying in the Teba bank account could not be traced. And he found thousands of them, leading to Teba using his information to trace and pay beneficiaries. The individual amounts paid out may not be millions, but investigative journalism has made it possible for the poorest of the poor to access what is rightfully theirs, and in the process removed the screen behind which Teba had been hiding. The impact of the stories went beyond the Eastern Cape. The winner is Bongani Fuzile from Daily Dispatch.

YOUNG JOURNALIST

This award provides an opportunity to fast-track a young journalist’s professional and personal development through an all-expenses paid overseas trip that includes a visit to the renowned Thomson Foundation, as well as the opportunity to work in a newsroom. This year’s winner is Robin-Lee Francke from Daily Voice.

LIFETIME ACHIEVER AWARD

When this year’s recipient, Ms Amina Frense heard that she was the Vodacom Lifetime Achiever for 2018, there was shock, silence and a “I think I need to sit down … is this for real” from her.

Our recipient has a long career of several decades in the mainstream media industry both locally and internationally. She is a former Managing Editor: News and Current Affairs at the SA Broadcasting Corporation. She has worked in many countries abroad as a producer and a foreign correspondent, including for German Television ZF, WDR, and many others – telling the story of all the victims of apartheid and the struggle against the apartheid regime.

Frense served in several senior positions at the SABC following 1994, holding many senior editorial positions in its news division after covering SA’s first democratic elections. She was also Director of Special News Services at the SABC and served as Editor Training and Development and Political Editor. When she retired from the SABC three years ago she was Managing Editor of TV news and Current Affairs.

This die-hard journalist worked tirelessly over many years behind the scenes in all areas of journalism: reporting, production, and leadership.

She was born in Cape Town and her efforts as a struggle journalist pre-1994 for international television helped expose the heinous narrative of South Africa’s apartheid state abroad.

She was the first journalist who contacted former President Nelson Mandela when he was still imprisoned on Robben Island. Having heard about his incarceration as a young girl she often wondered how all the families of those on the island were coping.

When she began her work as a journalist it was with this in mind that she began telling the stories of those families whose loved ones were in prison. After visiting his home in Soweto, she flew to the Transkei with her then German Television news crew. She wrote to Madiba and sent him pictures of his Qunu home and the gravesite of his first wife. The letter was sent via his then wife Winnie Madikizela Mandela. She attached a few feathers to the letter – feathers from his home village and the chickens on the farm in the Transkei.

When Madiba was released he asked that she accompany him to his first visit to his home village – a promise he had made to her after receiving her letter. She was his guest of honour and the only woman among the group of senior chiefs and other guests.

She had the honour of having Madiba feed her with his “own fork”. “Such was his humility and gratitude. He said my letter in prison lifted his spirits and when he was released he would take me back home. So, two days after his release he met me and a few days later we visited his family home” – she was quoted in many sources the day Madiba died.

Frense is an author and has written two books under the pseudonym Acropolr Belfond, one named Mandela: Le portrait autorisé and the other Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation. She was the Associate Producer of Oscar-nominated Mandela Son of Africa film in 1997 and also the co-author of the book Mandela Authorised Interviews.

She is a founding and Council member of the South African National Editors Forum – and was elected the first Gauteng Regional Convener. She is a Press Councillor on the SA Press Council, a regulatory body for print and online media, and she served on the regional executive of the Media Institute of Southern Africa Executive Council

In her retirement, she spends time travelling abroad with her husband Ronnie Kassrils. She also dedicates her time to the IAJ, SA Press Council, and serves as a board member of the South African Centre for Mission and Exploited Children (SACMEC). She is respected among her peers and has over the years has contributed significantly in key platforms on news, media freedom and journalism.


Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards: winners announced for Western Cape Region.

8 November 2018. This year’s Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards introduced new categories more in keeping with the 21st Century media landscape, drawing close to 1 000 entries from all over the country. The theme for the 2018 awards is ‘The Pen is Mightier than the Sword’ and the Western Cape regional event took place this evening in Cape Town.

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group said: “We are pleased with the response to the updated categories that were introduced this year. It’s vital that the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards remain relevant and a true reflection of the changing media landscape and it would seem that our new categories have appealed to a wider range of journalists. Special thanks go to our judges Ryland Fisher, Mary Papayya, Arthur Goldstuck, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Collin Nxumalo, Mathatha Tshedu, Albe Grobbelaar, Megan Rusi and Obed Zilwa; who continue to lend their time and expertise in the adjudication of these awards.”

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher said: “There was an excellent array of entries across the 12 new categories this year. The winners can be proud of the work they have done and we hope to see even more entries from this region next year.”

The regional winners in the categories are as follows:

In the investigative category:

Investigative journalism is a key driver in democracies. The judges commended Hazel Friedman of SABC Special Assignment for her sterling work on land reform and how the land already distributed by the state to beneficiaries is being hijacked by agribusiness. Our winning entry in this category deals with a peculiarly Cape problem, abalone poaching. The story reveals that over 4,000 tonnes of abalone is caught illegally every year in the country, whereas the legal limit is about one tenth of that amount. The story shows how this ‘business’ has morphed into gangs with attendant drug abuse, illegal weapons, and money laundering. It also tells the story of the hardship of the local people as many youngsters have turned to an 'easy' way of making money and residents of the small towns stay off the beach as poachers go out in huge numbers in broad daylight with no fear of the law. The winner is Annalise Lubbe of Carte Blanche.

In the opinion category:

In this category, which is new to the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards, we aim to reward good writing but, more importantly, good thinking. We encourage writing that integrates lived experiences with lessons in life, politics and society in general. There were many entries in the category, most of them quality writing by some of the best public influencers in the media industry. The judges decided to commend James de Villiers of Business Insider South Africa for his opinion article on the water crisis in the Western Cape. Our winner produced a series of opinion pieces in Afrikaans, dealing with contentious issues such as the future of Afrikaans, euthanasia and Die Stem. The Winner is Willemien Brummer from Netwerk24.

In the lifestyle/feature category:

The lifestyle/feature category is a broad one that includes news features, profiles and lifestyle articles that go beyond reporting, but introduce elements of innovative writing, without impacting on the story’s veracity. The judges seek to reward eloquent turns of phrase, descriptive writing, and the ability to bring subjects to life. In a category that was highly contested in all regions, the judges had their work cut out. The winning entry showed the writer’s exceptional skills, research, planning and eye for imagery and was judged on a body of work for two stories – Female Gamers the new sports stars and The Disruptors: Generation 2030 – published in depth in Forbes Women Africa. The Winner is Jay Caboz from Media24.

In the photography category:

Many claim that South Africa’s health system is on the brink of collapse. We have witnessed the tragedy of Health Esidimeni, KZN’s oncology crisis, and many more over the recent past. Our winner’s heart-wrenching photo essay shows an ailing mother’s daily struggle to care for her grown paralysed son. Here a mother’s devotion knows no boundaries – not poverty, not pain, not even death can end it. The Winner is Cindy Waxa from Independent Media.

In the sport category:

Sport can unify and inspire the nation – but it can also bring division, disaster, and dissent. This was a fiercely contested category with stories that made the headlines and got the sporting public talking. From boxing, to soccer, cricket and everything in between – sports journalists were hard at work with great passion and dedication. The Western Cape region gave the judges a difficult task in this highly contested category. The focus was exceptional, from soccer to rugby to cricket, and other associated debates making the headlines. Creativity and expert knowledge were evident. One entrant stood out. Her Daily Maverick story about Car Spinning in the Western Cape led to a unanimous decision by the judges. The winner is Leila Dougan from The Daily Maverick.

In the economic/financial category:

In this category, the judges looked for in-depth features and investigations which combine excellent story telling with illuminating insights. The Western Cape region gave the judges a difficult task in this highly contested category. The topics were of an exceptional standard and ranged from Steinhoff and Eskom to Pink Tax. Creativity and expert knowledge were evident. The winner, for his succinct and honed analysis of dodgy maritime refuelling deals in South African harbours, is Bobby Jordan from the Sunday Times for the story ‘Rotten Cargo’.

In the politics category:

In this new category in the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards the judges looked at rewarding political stories that were well-reported and made a difference to society. The winner in this category is being rewarded for a body of work that includes exposing the abuse of office by two powerful men in two different and important state institutions. The then Secretary of Parliament, Gengezi Mgidlana, was shown to have splurged huge amounts on international travels, spruced up his house at taxpayer’s expense and to have been abusive to staff in Parliament. In the second series, State Security Agency Director General Arthur Fraser was shown to have been running a rogue unit within the agency and to have used it to siphon cash to a number of close friends and relatives. Our winner doggedly followed both strands resulting in intervention by higher authorities that have seen both men out of their positions. The Winner is Marianne Merten from The Daily Maverick.

In the category CSI/sustainability:

The critical issues of living and working sustainably are particularly a matter of concern in South Africa where many social, economic and political challenges remain unresolved. Many companies are realising that they cannot operate in a vacuum but need to find ways of empowering communities to help solve the problems in society. In this category, the judges were looking for in-depth stories on any South African media platform that report evocatively and with insight on sustainable solutions for South Africa’s future. CSI/sustainability reporting often requires journalists to revisit perennial issues with fresh eyes to elicit fresh understandings and solutions. This year’s regional winner looked critically at proposed solutions to Cape Town’s intense water shortages, questioning whether panic had prompted the City of Cape Town to bypass environmental safeguards for the sake of a solution that could endanger the region’s unique environment while offering no immediate relief. The winning entry, which alerted the public to potentially disastrous consequences and caused a municipal rethink, is ‘Steenbras aquifer drilling too risky’. The winner is Aletta Harrison from News24.

In the category live reporting/breaking news:

This category not only recognises how the media landscape has changed in the era of social media and 24-hour news platforms, but also awards journalists who have to think on their feet, often reporting in danger or at disaster scenes without technical support or a carefully crafted script. The winner in this region is to be congratulated for her unflinching live-reporting in the middle of what started as service delivery protests and ended up as a racial fight between two communities. However, when she door-stopped premier Helen Zille on a surprise visit to the area and got her to talk on camera, this television piece gained even more impact. Even when a man tried to interrupt her live-crossing, she kept her cool and focused on her reporting. The winners are Athi Mtongana, Mario Pedro, and Lungile Tom from eNCA.

In the data category:

In a world driven by information, often misinformation, the role of data journalism becomes immense. It can provide the context and proper information needed to make sense of often confusing stories by presenting evidence that cannot be disputed. The judges looked to reward journalists who approach data journalism with innovation and energy, but also those who use this form of journalism to help shed light on serious and complicated issues in society. The winning entry combined skilful story-telling, in-depth analysis, deep insight and enterprising journalism to uncover a story with both local and global implications, in the process setting a benchmark for media coverage of allocation of funding of any kind. The entry exhibited exemplary use of multiple platforms, including print, online, TV and radio, and incorporating both mainstream and community media. The most innovative aspect of the project saw the creation of a tool to allow readers to explore the data underlying the stories, in effect allowing them to conduct their own investigations into aspects of the story that were most relevant to them. This gave readers almost unprecedented access to the resources that made the project possible. For providing a signpost to the future of data journalism, the entry ‘Gaming the Lottery’ was a stand-out regional winner for the team of Roxanne Joseph, Adi Eyal, Siphe Macanda, Anton van Zyl, Raymond Joseph, Jeff Lowenstein, Damien Schlechter, Daniela Lepiz and Khadija Sharife.

In the multi-platform category:

In the multi-platform category journalists must combine reporting flair with the ability to provide material that allows for best, creative use of the multiple platforms and elastic space of digital media, combined with traditional print or broadcast media. This means ensuring elements such as great visuals, interactive opportunities and skilful adaptation of content to multiple platforms are integral to their storytelling. This multi-episode Daily Maverick production uses a series of video, graphics and print articles to weave together a well contextualised scenario that water scarce Cape Town faced at the time, comparing it to other countries around the world. It also chronicled key moments in the water journey that Cape Town faced as early as 1999. The historical detail is presented in an easy manner for the reader and viewer. It also highlighted the challenge facing Cape Town’s bread basket, the Philippi Horticulture area and used this case study as a way to illustrate how drought can affect certain sectors. Using multi-platform, this team covered all areas related to water scarcity in the city. Some videos were viewed over 400-thousand times. The winners are Diana Neille, Bernard Kotze, Leila Dougan, Marelise van der Merwe, Sumeya Gasa and Heidi Swart from The Daily Maverick.

In the Young Journalist of the Year Award:

The Young Journalist Award emphasises VJOY’s commitment to furthering the career of a dynamic young South African journalist. At stake is the chance of a lifetime for the national winner to accelerate his or her professional and personal development through an all-expenses paid trip to follow cutting-edge training overseas, both at the renowned Thomson Foundation and in a London newsroom context. Entrants must have worked in journalism for three years or less and already be demonstrating great future potential. Entrants must submit a body of outstanding work together with a strong motivation showing commitment to the vocation of news well above the norm – this motivation is a critical component of the judging process. All shortlisted entrants will be entered in a further round where they will outline their achievements and their aspirations to the judging panel. Regional nominees will automatically become finalists for the national Young Journalist of the Year Award and the career-enhancing prize. The nominee is Robin-Lee Francke from Independent Media.

[ENDS]

Notes to Editors:

Regional category winners will receive R5 000 each, national category winners take home R10 000 each, with the coveted national accolade of Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award winner receiving R100 000. The winner of the young journalist award will win an all-expenses paid overseas trip that includes a visit to the Thomson Foundation, as well as the opportunity to work in a newsroom.

The 12 new categories are:

  1. Investigative
  2. Opinion
  3. Lifestyle
  4. Photography
  5. Sport
  6. Economics
  7. Politics
  8. CSI
  9. Live reporting/ breaking news
  10. Data Journalism
  11. Multi-platform
  12. Young Journalist of the Year Award

Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards: winners announced for Eastern Cape Region


Caption: L to R: Theodore Jephta (Die Son); Asanda Nini (Daily Dispatch – also accepted obo Bongani Fuzile, Nonsindiso Qwabe); Travis Goate (Vodacom); Jayed-Leigh Paulse (SABC); Malibongwe Dayimani (accepted obo Sino Majangaza, Bongani Fuzile); Ryland Fisher (VJOY convenor) and Deidre Uren (SABC - accepted obo SABC winners).

7 November 2018. This year’s Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards introduced new categories more in keeping with the 21st Century media landscape, drawing close to 1 000 entries from all over the country. The theme for the 2018 awards is ‘The Pen is Mightier than the Sword’ and the Eastern Cape regional event took place this evening in Port Elizabeth.

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group said: “We are pleased with the response to the updated categories that were introduced this year. It’s vital that the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards remain relevant and a true reflection of the changing media landscape. Special thanks go to our judges Ryland Fisher, Mary Papayya, Arthur Goldstuck, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Collin Nxumalo, Mathatha Tshedu, Albe Grobbelaar, Megan Rusi and Obed Zilwa; who continue to lend their time and expertise in the adjudication of these awards.”

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher said: “There was an excellent array of entries across the 12 categories this year. The winners can be proud of the work they have done and we hope to see even more entries from this region next year.”

The regional winners in the categories are as follows:

In the investigative category:

Investigative journalism is a key driver in democracies. Journalism 101 teaches us about the role of journalism as a protector of the powerless against the rich and powerful. Our winner in this category epitomises this. Mining in SA grew, and still relies on, the prowess of the less educated labourers who leave their rural homes to sweat in the dungeons of this industry. Many a time, they either go back home broken or in coffins, leaving their families destitute. This is despite the fact that pension deductions would have been made to which they or their families would be entitled. The companies, however, outsource this to Teba which claims it cannot trace the workers or their families. Our winner set out to test whether indeed the beneficiaries of the over R4 billion that was lying in the Teba bank account could not be traced. And he found thousands of them, leading to Teba using his information to trace and pay. The individual amounts paid out may not be millions, but investigative journalism has made it possible for the poorest of the poor to access what is rightfully theirs. The impact of the stories went beyond the Eastern Cape, and extended to all areas in other parts of SA and beyond our borders to Lesotho, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The winner is Bongani Fuzile from the Daily Dispatch.

In the opinion category:

No winner.

In the lifestyle/feature category:

In a category that was highly contested in all regions, the judges had their work cut out. Our winner focused on the traditional practice of Ukuthwala - that involves kidnapping a young woman by a man and his friends or peers with the intention of compelling the young woman’s family to endorse marriage negotiations. The story explores how mothers of young girls “sell” them for marriage under the outdated custom of Ukuthwala. The winners are Zimkhita Manqinana and Cwenga Mgubasi from SABC TV.

In the photography category:

The lack of security and housing has caused many South African spaces to become daily battlegrounds. Destitute South Africans are prepared to go to desperate lengths to keep a roof over their heads. This photographer captures the shocking moments when a father stripped of his dignity and hope flings his baby daughter from the roof of his illegal shack in the hope of stalling a forced eviction. Almost doll-like, the one-year-old baby lands safely in the arms of an anxious policeman cushioning her fall. The winner is Theodore Jephta from Die Son Newspaper.

In the sport category:

The judges looked for eloquent, lucid, in-depth sports journalism, beyond reporting on results and numbers. This was a fiercely contested category with stories that made the headlines and got the sporting public talking. From boxing to soccer, cricket and everything in between – sports journalists were hard at work with great passion and dedication. The winner stood out with her well-produced and very entertaining entry about the Port Elizabeth Aerobatics pilot Patrick Davidson. The winner is Jayed-Leigh Paulse of the SABC.

In the economic/financial category:

In this category, the judges looked for in-depth features and investigations which combine excellent story telling with illuminating insights. Dodgy tender processes are regular fodder for financial journalists to investigate. A chance observation led this year’s regional winner to unravelling a string of attempts to circumvent established procedure without appropriate tender and approval processes. For exposing a planned R3-billion plan to install broadband by overriding procedural safeguards, and for preventing an unwarranted part-payment of more than R200-million, the winner is Bongani Fuzile from The Daily Dispatch for ‘Broadband Deal’.

In the politics category:

In this new category in the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards the judges looked at rewarding political stories that were well-reported and made a difference to society. The fight against corruption depends to a large extent on women and men who work in various institutions who are prepared to stand up and be counted in exposing the rot that they see. The judges commend Nomazima Nkosi of The Herald, for her story ‘Bay ANC running on empty’, which chronicles how, since the ANC was ousted from running the municipality, its coffers have dried up to the extent that it could not even pay rent. The winning entry deals with the state of misgovernance in one of our municipalities. Auditor General Kimi Makwetu’s report for the financial year 2016/17 found that irregular expenditure in municipalities throughout the country increased by 75 percent from R16,2 bn to R28,4bn. Fruitless expenditure, which is money used recklessly, increased by 71 percent to R1,5bn for the same year. Our winning entry is an incisive story on the Great Kei local municipality, where the administration has broken down, workers went without pay for three months and community action saw the torching of municipal property. Our winner takes the listener to the heart of the matter thus giving voice and face to the statistics of the Auditor General. The Winner is Makhaya Komisa from SABC News Radio.

In the category CSI/sustainability:

No winner.

In the category live reporting/breaking news:

This category not only recognises how the media landscape has changed in the era of social media and 24-hour news platforms, but also rewards journalists who have to think on their feet, often reporting in danger or at disaster scenes without technical support or a carefully crafted script. The winner in the Eastern Cape region reported on a series of front-page articles on a murder case that shook the region. The court case of Bulelwa Ndudula, dubbed ‘the smiling widow in the dock’ unfolded with great precision and detail. Readers could follow a blow-by-blow account of a murder trial, superbly reported, proving that even in this age of technology-driven journalism, newspaper reporting is still a very important platform. The Winner is Asanda Nini from The Daily Dispatch.

In the data category:

No winner.

In the multi-platform category:

In the multi-platform category journalists must combine reporting flair with the ability to provide material that allows for best, creative use of the multiple platforms and elastic space of digital media, combined with traditional print or broadcast media. This means ensuring elements such as great visuals, interactive opportunities, and skilful adaptations of content to multiple platforms are integral to their storytelling. This series of print stories, photographs and video focuses on the wellbeing of students - or lack thereof - in university residences across the Eastern Cape. It showed us the sheer desperation of students living in appalling squalid conditions. Our winner looks at more than one institution and uses print and video effectively to report on the lives of these students. He uses multi-platform to highlight different parts of the story with little repetition. He takes us along so that we experience the students’ fight for better living conditions – protesting in the rain and even clashing with heavily armed police. The simple, but thorough, approach to this series painted the touching and sad reality that so many South African students face living in extremely poor university digs. The winner is Sino Majangaza from Tiso Blackstar.

In the Young Journalist of the Year Award:

The Young Journalist Award emphasises VJOY’s commitment to furthering the career of a dynamic young South African journalist. At stake is the chance of a lifetime for the national winner to accelerate his or her professional and personal development through an all-expenses paid trip to follow cutting-edge training overseas, both at the renowned Thomson Foundation and in a London newsroom context. Entrants must have worked in journalism for three years or less and already be demonstrating great future potential. Entrants must submit a body of outstanding work together with a strong motivation showing commitment to the vocation of news well above the norm – this motivation is a critical component of the judging process. All shortlisted entrants will be entered in a further round where they will outline their achievements and their aspirations to the judging panel. Regional nominees will automatically become finalists for the national Young Journalist of the Year Award and the career-enhancing prize. The nominee is Nonsindiso Qwabe from Tiso Blackstar Group.

[ENDS]

Notes to Editors:

Regional category winners will receive R5 000 each, national category winners take home R10 000 each, with the coveted national accolade of Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award winner receiving R100 000. The winner of the young journalist award will win an all-expenses paid overseas trip that includes a visit to the Thomson Foundation, as well as the opportunity to work in a newsroom.

The 12 new categories are:

  1. Investigative
  2. Opinion
  3. Lifestyle
  4. Photography
  5. Sport
  6. Economics
  7. Politics
  8. CSI
  9. Live reporting/ breaking news
  10. Data Journalism
  11. Multi-platform
  12. Young Journalist of the Year Award

Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards: winners announced for Gauteng region.

6 November 2018. This year’s Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards introduced new categories more in keeping with the 21st Century media landscape, drawing close to 1 000 entries from all over the country. The theme for the 2018 awards is ‘The Pen is Mightier than the Sword’ and the Gauteng regional event took place this evening in Johannesburg.

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group said: “We are pleased with the response to the updated categories that were introduced this year. It’s vital that the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards remain relevant and a true reflection of the changing media landscape. Special thanks go to our judges Ryland Fisher, Mary Papayya, Arthur Goldstuck, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Collin Nxumalo, Mathatha Tshedu, Albe Grobbelaar, Megan Rusi and Obed Zilwa; who continue to lend their time and expertise in the adjudication of these awards.”

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher said: “There was an excellent array of entries across the 12 categories this year, with 375 entries from the Gauteng region – the most entries from any of the regions. The winners can be proud of the work they have done and we hope to see even more entries from this region next year.”

The regional winners in the categories are as follows:

In the investigative category:

If it were not for investigative journalists, South Africans would never have known about the Information Scandal of the apartheid era, the existence of the Vlakplaas killer unit within the police, the Gupta state capture, Steinhoff or the KPMG auditing fiasco. The ongoing Zondo Commission, as well as the Nugent Commission into issues at SARS, are institutional manifestations of State Capture. One of the key institutions involved in the looting of state coffers was Eskom, which paid McKinsey huge sums of money for no work at all. The company has since repaid about R1bn and became the subject of asset seizure by the Asset Forfeiture Unit. The bulk of uncovering this was done by Amabhungane and Scorpio, the investigative arm of the Daily Maverick. In that work they showed that McKinsey and Trillian were planning to get at least R9 billion out of Eskom. And at the centre of that investigation, which resulted in a series of articles that were first denied, but later proved to be correct, were our two worthy winners from Amabhungane and Scorpio, respectively. The winners are Susan Comrie and Pauli van Wyk.

In the opinion category:

In this category, which is new to the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards, we aim to reward good writing and, more importantly, good thinking. We encourage writing that integrates personal experiences with lessons in life, politics and society in general. There were many entries in this category, most of them quality writing by some of the best public influencers in the media industry. The judges decided to commend Sikonathi Mantshantsha for a body of work which includes an open letter to McKinsey, his take on the absence of legal consequences for criminals in South Africa and his frustration with commissions without legal prosecutions. Our winner in this category wrote a series of political columns, one of which looks at the political implications of Jacob Zuma’s free education announcement ahead of the ANC electoral conference, the importance of discussing land expropriation without compensation, and a cynical look at the CEO Sleepout. The winner is Sipho Hlongwane from the Daily Vox.

In the lifestyle/feature category:

The lifestyle/feature category is a broad one that includes news features, profiles and lifestyle articles that go beyond reporting, but introduce elements of innovative writing, without impacting on the story’s veracity. The judges seek to reward eloquent turns of phrase, descriptive writing and the ability to bring subjects to life. In a category that was highly contested in all regions, the judges had their work cut out. Our winning entry explored the struggle for identity and human dignity and the rejection, violence and discrimination experienced by transgender people in South Africa. A compelling and beautifully positioned feature that told the personal stories of ordinary people whose voices are often silenced. The winner is Nicola de Chaud from Tin Can Communications, for her story on Carte Blanche.

In the photography category:

The judges commended Etienne van Rensburg of MooiVaal Media for his beautiful picture of a swimmer. Sport lends itself to photography. But it takes patience and a good eye to capture a great action moment. The camera speed used to capture this image creates a perfect moment that crisply details the action, movement and emotion as a swimmer emerges from under the water to get air. Our winner tackled a different and more difficult subject. As the keepers of our past and future, women are the cornerstones of our communities. Instead of being protected and nurtured these photographs show women in different stages of vulnerability. One depicts the abuse of an elderly woman and another portrays the last surviving Njuu female chief. The abuse of woman is a daily occurrence in the streets and homes in our country. A woman being used by a political party and being physically abused by another political party captured by this photographer underscored the status of poor women in South Africa. In this photograph, the face of a woman shows her pain and shame while she is violently assaulted by men while other men, including policemen, stand watching. If the essence of a nation lies in its language, then one of the First Nations of South Africa is four lives away from disappearing forever. The Njuu language is believed to be more than 25 000 years old and only four people can speak it fluently. These photo story images capturers an 85-year-old Njuu chief and her family enjoying each other’s company in a language that only they share. The winner is Alon Skuy from Tiso Blackstar.

In the sport category:

Sport can unify and inspire the nation – but it can also bring division, disaster, and dissent. The many moods of our people are reflected in sports journalism as it celebrates the glory and elegance of great sporting achievements, analyses, questions, or even mourns great sporting heroes. The judges looked for eloquent, lucid, in-depth sports journalism, beyond reporting on results and numbers. The contestants in this category entered work of a very high standard. The entries in this category were of an exceptionally high standard and the judges had their work cut out for them. One entrant stood out and became the unanimous number one choice. The journalist showed an exceptional skill for story-telling and for finding unexpected angles and unknown facts. For his stories about Musangwe's fight for recognition, Age cheating in SA football and Hansie Cronje revisited: The winner is Ronald Masinda and the team, Gift Kganyago, Nceba Ntlanganiso, Charle Lombard from eSAT TV.

In the economic/financial category:

As our nation struggles to deal with the spectre of corruption and regular buffeting from national, regional and international financial pressures; financial and economic journalists can help ensure that both businesses and citizens are well informed, enabling them to make better choices to enhance their present and their future. In this category, the judges looked for in-depth features and investigations which combined excellent story telling with illuminating insights. Entries showed commitment to proper research and dedication to getting to the heart of the story. In this category, the judges looked for in-depth features and investigations which combine excellent story telling with illuminating insights. The high level of competition regionally in this category is clear from the fact that the judges have chosen to commend the work of two entrants: Warren Thompson’s body of work for Business Day and Fifi Peter’s body of work for CNBC Africa. The regional winner succeeded in putting a human face on economic events, interwoven with incisive economic analysis and context. For a body of work covering several distinctly different topics, the winner is Lisa Steyn from The Mail & Guardian.

In the politics category:

In this new category in the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards the judges looked at rewarding political stories that were well-reported and made a difference to society. The fight against corruption depends to a large extent on women and men who work in various institutions who are prepared to stand up and be counted in exposing the rot that they see. The judges wish to commend Sophia Phirippides for her entry on the very topical issue of land invasions. But our winner deals with another contentious issue: the mismanagement of our water resources. The winning story investigates The Mhlathuzi Water Board Dudu Myeni, who headed both the SAA board as well as the Jacob Zuma Foundation. The investigation found serious abuse of power by Myeni, whose conduct was castigated in a court ruling. Senior executives who did not agree to the plunder were either sidelined or suspended. And when Myeni’s term ended, Minister Nomvula Mokonyane extended the life of the board indefinitely, a move that was declared illegal by a high court. The winner is Sasha Schwendenwein from Combined Artists for her piece on Carte Blanche.

In the category CSI/sustainability:

The critical issues of living and working sustainably are a matter of concern in South Africa where many social, economic and political challenges remain unresolved. Many companies are realising that they cannot operate in a vacuum, but need to find ways of empowering communities to help solve the problems in society. In this category, the judges were looking for in-depth stories on any South African media platform that report evocatively and with insight on sustainable solutions for South Africa’s future. CSI/Sustainability reporting often requires journalists to revisit perennial issues with fresh eyes to elicit fresh understandings and solutions. This year’s regional winner offered an insightful analysis of the ongoing issue of air pollution on the Highveld that endangers the environment and the health of residents and workers. The winner is Sheree Bega from Independent Media (Saturday Star).

In the category live reporting/breaking news:

This category not only recognises how the media landscape has changed in the era of social media and 24-hour news platforms, but also awards journalists who have to think on their feet, often reporting in danger or at disaster scenes without technical support or a carefully crafted script. The winner in this category had to cover the hearings of one of the most painful tragedies in the history of South Africa’s health care. She had to separate her own feelings from what was unfolding in front of her and reported daily on the hearings of Life Esidimeni. She gave new meaning to live and powerful on the spot reporting. The winner is Zikhona Tshona from eNCA.

In the data category:

In a world driven by information, often misinformation, the role of data journalism becomes immense. It can provide the context and proper information needed to make sense of often confusing stories by presenting evidence that cannot be disputed. The judges look to reward journalists who approach data journalism with innovation and energy, but also those who use this form of journalism to help shed light on serious and complicated issues in society. It does not always take large teams collaborating across a variety of platforms to make vast stories digestible. The winning regional entry also illustrates the extent to which non-traditional capabilities like programming and data visualisation are powerful tools in the hands of skilled journalists. Most significantly, it shows how data that has been available for a long time can be revisited to extract new meaning, understanding, and insights in order to bring new perspective to a burning issue. Thanks to this investigation of data, through using data tools, and striking visual treatment, education activists found themselves with a powerful new resource. In the fast-emerging field of data journalism, this set of stories set a new benchmark in both the exploration and representation of buried information. The winners are Alastair Otter and Laura Grant from Media Hack.

In the multi-platform category:

In the multi-platform category journalists must combine reporting flair with the ability to provide material that allows for best, creative use of the multiple platforms and elastic space of digital media, combined with traditional print or broadcast media. This means ensuring elements such as great visuals, interactive opportunities, and skilful adaptations of content to multiple platforms are integral to their storytelling. Rape is a scourge that is relentless and journalists are always challenged as to how best cover it. A Doctors without Borders report on how rape survivors don’t speak about their rape, spurred Health eNews to rethink rape reportage by launching a number of stories and a campaign Izwi Lami or My Voice. It is a free messaging service for rape survivors as well as providing an interactive map that locates shelters, clinics, and hospitals. The series of stories used real-life testimonies, graphic writing and illustration in their reporting. Built-in animation invited survivors to use the free messaging service. The stories were used in various publications around the country. Out of the box thinking provided rape survivors physical and psychological assistance and the stories, presented in various ways, made them aware that they were not alone. The winners are Kim Harrisberg, Warren Raysdorf and Mohale Mashigo from Health E-News.

In the Young Journalist of the Year Award:

The Young Journalist Award emphasises VJOY’s commitment to furthering the career of a dynamic young South African journalist. At stake is the chance of a lifetime for the national winner to accelerate his or her professional and personal development through an all-expenses paid trip to follow cutting-edge training overseas, both at the renowned Thomson Foundation and in a newsroom context. Entrants must have worked in journalism for three years or less and already be demonstrating great future potential. Entrants must submit a body of outstanding work together with a strong motivation showing commitment to the vocation of news well above the norm – this motivation is a critical component of the judging process. All shortlisted entrants will be entered in a further round where they will outline their achievements and their aspirations to the judging panel. Regional nominees will automatically become finalists for the national Young Journalist of the Year Award and the career-enhancing prize. The nominee is Mashadi Kekana from The Mail & Guardian.

[ENDS]

Notes to Editors:

Regional category winners will receive R5 000 each, national category winners take home R10 000 each, with the coveted national accolade of Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award winner receiving R100 000. The winner of the young journalist award will win an all-expenses paid overseas trip that includes a visit to the Thomson Foundation, as well as the opportunity to work in a newsroom in London.

The 12 new categories are:

  1. Investigative
  2. Opinion
  3. Lifestyle
  4. Photography
  5. Sport
  6. Economics
  7. Politics
  8. CSI
  9. Live reporting/ breaking news
  10. Data Journalism
  11. Multi-platform
  12. Young Journalist of the Year Award

Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards: winners announced for the KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga Region.


Caption: L to R: Vodacom KZN Executive Head of Department Ishmael Mathinya; Matthew Savides (Tiso Blackstar); VJOY judge Mary Papayya; Lwandile Bhengu (Times Live); Ziyanda Ngcobo (EWN); Julie Laurenz (Nguni TV); Susanna Holmes (eNCA); VJOY judge Ryland Fisher; Jeff Wicks (Times Live) and Francois Grobler (eNCA).

2 November 2018. This year’s Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards introduced new categories more in keeping with the 21st Century media landscape, drawing close to 1 000 entries from all over the country. The theme for the 2018 awards is ‘The Pen is Mightier than the Sword’ and the first regional event for KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga took place this evening in Durban.

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group said: “We are pleased with the response to the updated categories that were introduced this year. It’s vital that the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards remain relevant and a true reflection of the changing media landscape. Special thanks go to our judges Ryland Fisher, Mary Papayya, Arthur Goldstuck, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Collin Nxumalo, Mathatha Tshedu, Albe Grobbelaar, Megan Rusi and Obed Zilwa; who continue to lend their time and expertise in the adjudication of these awards.”

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher said: “There was an excellent array of entries across the 12 new categories this year, with 131 entries from the KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga region. The winners can be proud of the work they have done and we hope to see even more entries from this region next year.”

The regional winners in the categories are as follows:

In the investigative category:

Investigative journalism is a key driver in democracies. If it were not for investigative journalists, South Africans would never have known about the Information Scandal of the apartheid era, the existence of the Vlakplaas killer unit within the police, the Gupta state capture, Steinhoff or the KPMG auditing fiasco. The KwaZulu-Natal province, with its rolling green hills and sandy beaches, is a prime holiday destination. It is also the site of many horrific political killings. The fights vary from inter party to intra party, and the recently concluded Moerane Commission helped many people understand slightly better the dynamics at play in what has now come to be known as the ‘Killing Fields of KZN”. But it took the shooting of Sindiso Magaqa to gain everyone’s attention. One person who got her microphone and tape out and set out to try and understand what happened is our winner. In a three-part series she takes the listener to the heart of the killing fields and brings back new voices and theories that move our collective understanding of what may have transpired. The series does not give us a smoking gun of who shot Sindiso, but it gives enough information and voices, including his mother, that is both shocking and revealing. The winners are Ziyanda Ngcobo and Pieter Theron from EWN.

In the opinion category:

In this category, which is new to the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards, we aim to reward good writing and, more importantly, good thinking. We encourage writing that integrates personal experiences with lessons in life, politics and society in general. There were many entries in this category, most of them quality writing by some of the best public influencers in the media industry. The judges decided to commend Edward West of The Witness for a collection of business-related columns. Our winner exemplified the best in opinion writing, reflecting on his formative years and watching soccer for the first time and linking this to the violence at Moses Mabhida stadium involving Kaizer Chiefs fans. The winner is Matthew Savides from Tiso Blackstar.

In the lifestyle/feature category:

The lifestyle/feature category is a broad one that includes news features, profiles and lifestyle articles that go beyond reporting, but introduce elements of innovative writing, without impacting on the story’s veracity. The judges seek to reward eloquent turns of phrase, descriptive writing and the ability to bring subjects to life. In a category that was highly contested in all regions, the judges had their work cut out. Two entries in the region stood out: Glynis Horning for her compelling a body of work published in True Love magazine; and Dasen Thathia for his exceptional series on Poverty broadcast on eNCA. The co-winners are Glynis Horning (freelance), and Dasen Thathia from eNCA. Thathia also credited video editor Susanna Holmes and camera operator Nkanyiso Mdlalose.

In the photography category:

A controversial statesman is known to be surrounded by lively supporters, his political colleagues and throngs of cheerleaders while he laughs and dances. Here in the winning photo he is captured unusually sitting alone, head bowed in a wooden dock to face justice. The glow from a window creates a moment of isolation. The winner is Jackie Clausen from Tiso Blackstar.

In the sport category:

Sport can unify and inspire the nation – but it can also bring division, disaster, and dissent. The many moods of our people are reflected in sports journalism as it celebrates the glory and elegance of great sporting achievements; analyses, questions or even mourns great sporting heroes. The judges looked for eloquent, lucid, in-depth sports journalism, beyond reporting on results and numbers. The contestants in this category entered work of a very high standard. Entrants showed exceptional commitment and dedication to getting to the heart of the story. The winner in this category stood head and shoulders above the rest. For a body of work including entries on The Roof of Africa, Touch and Go Sport, and a story called Empowering Journey Fit for a Champion, the winner is Quintin van Jaarsveld from eHowzit.

In the economic/financial category:

As our nation struggles to deal with the spectre of corruption and regular buffeting from national, regional, and international financial pressures, financial and economic journalists can help ensure that both businesses and citizens are well informed, enabling them to make better choices to enhance their present and their future. In this category, the judges looked for in-depth features and investigations which combined excellent story telling with illuminating insights. Entries showed commitment to proper research and dedication to getting to the heart of the story. In this category, the judges looked for in-depth features and investigations which combine excellent story telling with illuminating insights. The winning regional entry investigated a series of questionable deals by a state institution tasked to protect the country’s government pension fund. The winners in this category are Sam Sole and Craig McKune from AmaBhungane. The judges wish to commend the dedication of Radio Khwezi’s Saziso Dlamini and Nothile Zwane in unpacking economic factors in isiZulu for their rural community radio station.

In the politics category:

In this new category in the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards the judges looked at rewarding political stories that were well-reported and made a difference to society. The fight against corruption depends to a large extent on women and men who work in various institutions who are prepared to stand up and be counted in exposing the rot that they see. The judges wish to commend Jeff Wicks for his entry which broke the news that former President Jacob Zuma was in a relationship with a woman 59 years his junior and that a baby boy had been born out of that relationship. Our winner dealt with shenanigans around the ANC’s membership ahead of the National Conference at Nasrec in December 2017. It was a divisive time for the organisation. And KZN was an important piece in the jigsaw that was to determine the person to replace Jacob Zuma. Until then the biggest province, it needed to ensure it had enough delegates who would vote accordingly. In Richmond in the Midlands, Speaker of the local municipality, Samora Ndlovu, hit on a bright idea to sway things his way. Hundreds of fake members were created using a fake FNB stamped deposit slip – needed to show one had paid their dues. This seemed to be working until the scam unravelled when our winner investigated the scandal, leading to FNB announcing that the stamp used was fake, and Ndlovu being disciplined. In a province ravaged by killings of political activists in intra party fights, this story is an important contribution to our understanding of the dynamics and extent to which people will go to ensure power and through it access to resources. The winner is Sabelo Nsele from The Witness.

In the category CSI/sustainability:

The critical issues of living and working sustainably are a matter of concern in South Africa where many social, economic and political challenges remain unresolved. Many companies are realising that they cannot operate in a vacuum, but need to find ways of empowering communities to help solve the problems in society. In this category, the judges were looking for in-depth stories on any South African media platform that report evocatively and with insight on sustainable solutions for South Africa’s future. CSI/Sustainability reporting often requires journalists to revisit perennial issues with fresh eyes to elicit fresh understandings and solutions. Fracking has been a major debate in South Africa as energy demands conflict with environmental protection ideals and ecotourism. Now this push for new energy sources has expanded into the ocean. Offshore exploration rights have been quietly handed to big energy interests with little attention to legal environmental safeguards. The winning entry was well researched, clear and direct, using good statistics, examples, interviews, and great visuals. For an investigation with implications for government, big business, and the environment the winner is Julie Laurenz from Nguni TV.

In the category live reporting/breaking news:

This category not only recognises how the media landscape has changed in the era of social media and 24-hour news platforms, but also awards journalists who have to think on their feet, often reporting in danger or at disaster scenes without technical support or a carefully crafted script. It was a highly contested category and the judges had their work cut out for them, but the winning entry was exceptional. On the morning that a young girl was shot in a hijacking, this TV reporter was doing a live studio crossing. When the news came in the journalist decided to leave the studio and rushed to the crime scene. With only a cell phone and an App that wasn’t working, the journalist – realising the importance of the story – started to tweet, later managed to do a live crossing with the cell phone and broke the story on national television. In the body of work the same journalist went beyond the call of duty to report on the massacre at the Verulam mosque and bringing Durban’s monster storm into the homes of television viewers. The winners are Dasen Thathiah, Nkanyiso Mdlalose, Susanna Holmes, Terence Stone, and Francois Grobler from eNCA.

In the data category:

No winner.

In the multi-platform category:

In the multi-platform category journalists must combine reporting flair with the ability to provide material that allows for best, creative use of the multiple platforms and elastic space of digital media, combined with traditional print or broadcast media. This means ensuring elements such as great visuals, interactive opportunities, and skilful adaptations of content to multiple platforms are integral to their storytelling. This entry produced a variety of media dealing with the devastating flood In Durban in October 2017. Compelling video and sound were part of the package which included detailed print stories, photographs as well as a series of tweets. They told the story of heroes and ordinary people who showed compassion to others. This entry included the human tragedy of a toddler being swept away while her mother clung to hope that she would be found. This entry shows clearly how multi-platform journalism can be used effectively to tell an entire story. The winners are Jeff Wicks, Suthentira Govender and Lwandile Bhengu from TimesLive.

In the Young Journalist of the Year Award:

The Young Journalist Award emphasises VJOY’s commitment to furthering the career of a dynamic young South African journalist. At stake is the chance of a lifetime for the national winner to accelerate his or her professional and personal development through an all-expenses paid trip to follow cutting-edge training overseas, both at the renowned Thomson Foundation and in a newsroom context. Entrants must have worked in journalism for three years or less and already be demonstrating great future potential. Entrants must submit a body of outstanding work together with a strong motivation showing commitment to the vocation of news well above the norm – this motivation is a critical component of the judging process. All shortlisted entrants will be entered in a further round where they will outline their achievements and their aspirations to the judging panel. Regional nominees will automatically become finalists for the national Young Journalist of the Year Award and the career-enhancing prize. The nominee for this region is Vuyelwa Mtolo from Media24.

[ENDS]

Notes to Editors:

Regional category winners will receive R5 000 each, national category winners take home R10 000 each, with the coveted national accolade of Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award winner receiving R100 000. The winner of the young journalist award will win an all-expenses paid overseas trip that includes a visit to the Thomson Foundation, as well as the opportunity to work in a newsroom.

The 12 new categories are:

  1. Investigative
  2. Opinion
  3. Lifestyle
  4. Photography
  5. Sport
  6. Economics
  7. Politics
  8. CSI
  9. Live reporting/ breaking news
  10. Data Journalism
  11. Multi-platform
  12. Young Journalist of the Year Award

Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards: winners announced for the Free State, Northern Cape, North West and Limpopo Region.


Photo caption L to R: Mamello Selamolela (Vodacom Managing Executive, Central Region); Charles Smith (Volksblad); Andre Damons (Media 24); Josca Human (OFM); Ulrich Hendricks (SABC); Reginald Witbooi (SABC); Jabu Oa Afrika (SABC); Morgan Piek (OFM – accepting the Young Journalist award on behalf of Olebogeng Motse from Central Media Group) and VJOY judge Albe Grobbelaar.

1 November 2018. This year’s Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards introduced new categories more in keeping with the 21st Century media landscape, drawing close to 1 000 entries from all over the country. The theme for the 2018 awards is ‘The Pen is Mightier than the Sword’ and the first regional event for Free State, Northern Cape, North West and Limpopo took place this evening in Bloemfontein.

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group said: “We are pleased with the response to the updated categories that were introduced this year. It’s vital that the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards remain relevant and a true reflection of the changing media landscape and it would seem that our new categories have appealed to a wider range of journalists. Special thanks go to our judges Ryland Fisher, Mary Papayya, Arthur Goldstuck, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Collin Nxumalo, Mathatha Tshedu, Albe Grobbelaar, Megan Rusi and Obed Zilwa; who continue to lend their time and expertise in the adjudication of these awards.”

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher said: “There was an excellent array of entries across the 12 new categories this year, with 114 entries from the Free State, Northern Cape, North West and Limpopo region. The winners can be proud of the work they have done and we hope to see even more entries from this region next year.”

The regional winners in the categories are as follows:

In the investigative category:

Investigative journalism is a key driver in democracies. If it were not for investigative journalists, South Africans would never have known about the Information Scandal of the apartheid era, the existence of the Vlakplaas killer unit within the police, the Gupta state capture, Steinhoff or the KPMG auditing fiasco. The judges commended Junior Bonase of Dumelang News for his excellent entry on the production and selling of expired goods by replacing labels. The government’s policy of providing basic services and amenities for citizens opens the space for unscrupulous officials and service providers to abuse resources meant for the poor. Our winner investigated a R74-million housing project in Eiffel Village in the Joe Morolong Municipality of the Northern Cape, where the contractor put up foundations and incomplete structures, and then disappeared in 2015. This investigation saw an agitated and frustrated community, and prompted government officials - including the provincial department - to try to salvage the project. The winner is Puleng Modupe from SABC News.

In the opinion category:

No winner.

In the lifestyle/feature category:

The lifestyle/feature category is a broad one that includes news features, profiles and lifestyle articles that go beyond reporting to introduce elements of innovative writing, without impacting on the story’s veracity. The judges seek to reward eloquent turns of phrase, descriptive writing and the ability to bring subjects to life. In a category that was highly contested in all regions, the judges had their work cut out. The story that stood out was the adventure of real-life teenage heroes Evert du Preez and Mokoni Chaka who risked their lives to save babies from a burning train. The two friends are making history with talk of a possible film about their heroic actions. The winner is Charles Smith from Media24, Volksblad.

In the photography category:

Whether it is portraying the bond between two boys from opposing backgrounds or capturing the beautiful spirit of horses, this lens man shows his range of photographic skills superbly. The spirit of ubuntu was shown to the world when two young boys risked their lives to save others. A photographer took the initiative to follow-up and show the true friendship of two heroic boys after a news story had broken and died down. The photographer returned to depict the daily lives of two 12-year-old heroes who helped save the lives of victims in a horrific train crash in Kroonstad. The boys have a bond of friendship that crosses their different backgrounds and represents what South Africans can achieve together through friendship. The winner is Mlungisi Louw from Volksblad.

In the sport category:

Sport can unify and inspire the nation – but it can also bring division, disaster, and dissent. The many moods of our people are reflected in sports journalism as it celebrates the glory and elegance of great sporting achievements and as it analyses, questions, or even mourns great sporting heroes. The judges looked for eloquent, lucid, in-depth sports journalism, beyond reporting on results and numbers. The contestants in this category entered work of a very high standard. Entrants showed exceptional commitment and dedication to getting to the heart of the story. For his entries on the sport, Boccia (for disabled people), and his beautifully written story about elderly people still competing in sport, the winner is Andre Damons from Media24, Netwerk24.

In the economic/financial category:

As our nation struggles to deal with the spectre of corruption and regular buffeting from national, regional and international financial pressures, financial and economic journalists can help ensure that both businesses and citizens are well informed, enabling them to make better choices to enhance their present and their future. In this category, the judges looked for in-depth features and investigations which combined excellent story telling with illuminating insights. Entries showed commitment to proper research and dedication to getting to the heart of the story. One entry in particular caught the eye of the judges. For his outstanding story on the impact of a mine closure in Namaqualand, conveying both the emotional and economic consequences, the winner is Ulrich Hendriks and Jabu Oa Afrika from SABC.

In the politics category:

In this new category in the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards the judges looked at rewarding political stories that were well-reported and made a difference to society. The fight against corruption depends to a large extent on women and men who work in various institutions who are prepared to stand up and be counted in exposing the rot that they see. In doing so, these whistle blowers take risks. This is the case for our winner in this region, where two whistle blowers on the Esdina dairy project in Vrede in the Free State, which was financed from state coffers, but with the bulk of the money allegedly siphoned off by the Gupta family, got into mortal danger. Our winner chronicles two cases showing how a police investigation that started with a flurry had all but fizzled out, raising the question whether this lack of enthusiasm by the police was linked to the state capture that the project in question is a part of. The Winner is Tabelo Timse from Amabhungane.

In the CSI category:

The critical issues of living and working sustainably are a matter of concern in South Africa where many social, economic and political challenges remain unresolved. Many companies are realising that they cannot operate in a vacuum, but need to find ways of empowering communities to help solve the problems in society. In this category, the judges were looking for in-depth stories on any South African media platform that reports evocatively and with insight on sustainable solutions for South Africa’s future. CSI/Sustainability reporting often requires journalists to revisit perennial issues with fresh eyes to elicit fresh understandings and solutions. This year’s regional winners offered an insightful analysis of one of the solutions to land issues in our country. The winners are Mlungisi Louw and Charles Smith from Volksblad.

In the live reporting/breaking news category:

This category not only recognises how the media landscape has changed in the era of social media and 24-hour news platforms, but also awards journalists who have to think on their feet, often reporting in danger or at disaster scenes without technical support or a carefully crafted script. Two entries caught the judges’ attention. The news of the derailed Shosholoza Meyl between Henneman and Kroonstad showing reporter Josca Human of OFM rushing to the scene, arriving almost simultaneously with the emergency services, and the authorities. A scene of utter devastation greeted her: Some were fleeing the flames, others were still trapped inside. In her live reports she illustrated the powerful effect of breaking news on radio. The second story was that of a journalist on holiday in the Western Cape when protests in George erupted. With no cameraperson to assist, Reginald Witbooi from the SABC took to the streets, borrowed a cell phone and reported live from a chaotic scene. He showed tenacity and ingenuity. The co-winners in this category are Josca Human from OFM, and Reginald Witbooi from SABC Morning Live - who has also credited Sphiwe Hobasi.

In the data journalism category:

No winner.

In the multi-platform category:

No winner.

In the Young Journalist of the Year Award:

The Young Journalist Award emphasises VJOY’s commitment to furthering the career of a dynamic young South African journalist. At stake is the chance of a lifetime for the national winner to accelerate his or her professional and personal development through an all-expenses paid trip to follow cutting-edge training overseas, both at the renowned Thomson Foundation and in a newsroom context. Entrants must have worked in journalism for three years or less and already be demonstrating great future potential. Entrants must submit a body of outstanding work together with a strong motivation showing commitment to the vocation of news well above the norm – this motivation is a critical component of the judging process. All shortlisted entrants will be entered in a further round where they will outline their achievements and their aspirations to the judging panel. Regional nominees will automatically become finalists for the national Young Journalist of the Year Award and the career-enhancing prize. The nominee for this region is Olebogeng Motse from Central Media Group.

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Notes to Editors:

Regional category winners will receive R5 000 each, national category winners take home R10 000 each, with the coveted national accolade of Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award winner receiving R100 000. The overall winner of the young journalist award will win an all-expenses paid overseas trip that includes a visit to the Thomson Foundation, as well as the opportunity to work in a newsroom.

The 12 new categories are:

  1. Investigative
  2. Opinion
  3. Lifestyle
  4. Photography
  5. Sport
  6. Economics
  7. Politics
  8. CSI
  9. Live reporting/ breaking news
  10. Data Journalism
  11. Multi-platform
  12. Young Journalist of the Year Award

New Categories and Focus for Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards.

Prestigious awards have opened.

Johannesburg, 06 August 2018 — Entries for the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards have opened and will close on 31 August. The iconic awards have introduced category changes more in keeping with the ever evolving journalism landscape.

The theme this year is “The Pen is Mightier than the Sword”, and comes at a time when news in South Africa, and indeed in the world, has become a rapidly shifting canvas both in terms of delivery and content.

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group said, “We are pleased to announce that we have updated the various categories that journalists can enter their work in. It’s vital that the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards remain relevant and a true reflection of the evolving media landscape, and with the changes made, we have achieved this.”

“The theme this year promotes the integrity of journalism across all media. The past year has been a momentous one for news coverage and we look forward to entries of a high standard as we recognise journalists’ best work from the past year.” said Netshitenzhe.

Awards are given for the best journalist in a range of categories in five regions nationally, with the process culminating in a national award ceremony in Johannesburg. The awards are regarded as one of the highest accolades for South African journalists. This year also sees a change in the names of regions:

Region A – Gauteng
Region B – Free State, Northern Cape, North West and Limpopo
Region C – KZN and Mpumalanga
Region D – Eastern Cape
Region E – Western Cape

The VJOYs are a means of recognising skill in the all-important arena of news and information dissemination. Winning a Vodacom Award has become a prestigious career achievement, with the overall national winner set to receive a prize of R100 000.

Said Netshitenzhe, “There have been important news stories and reportage over the past year and for Vodacom there is a continuing synergy between keeping people connected through our network and the tireless work that journalists do. We are hopeful that the new categories will appeal to a wider range of journalists. The biggest evolution is the move away from judging awards based on platforms, but rather on content.”

The revised categories for 2018 are:

1. Live reporting/ breaking news
2. Investigative
3. Opinion
4. Lifestyle
5. Photography
6. Sport
7. Economics
8. Politics
9. CSI
10. Data Journalism
11. Multi-platform
12. Young Journalist of the Year Award

For more information on what is expected in each award, please visit journalist.vodacom.co.za.

This year’s prestigious judging panel (see biographies on the website) will be convened for a second year by Ryland Fisher and includes Mary Papayya, Arthur Goldstuck, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Collin Nxumalo, Mathatha Tsedu, Albe Grobbelaar, Megan Rusi and Obed Zilwa. The judging panel will also debate and decide on the Lifetime Achiever’s Award that recognises the lifetime contribution made by a single individual to journalism and media in this country.

The VJOYs have a proud history of honouring excellence in journalism across a range of categories. Journalists will be able to enter their best achievements for work produced between 1 August 2017 and 1 August 2018. In a further change this year, all entries will be online, and hand delivered entries will no longer be accepted. Entries open from 6 August, and can be submitted online at journalist.vodacom.co.za. Entries close at 6pm on 31 August and no late entries will be considered.

Regional category winners will receive R5 000 each, national category winners take home R10 000 each, with the coveted national accolade of Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award winner receiving R100 000. The winner of the young journalist award must have been a journalist for no more than three years, and will win an all-expenses paid overseas trip, that includes a visit to the Thomson Foundation, as well as the opportunity to work in a newsroom.

ENDS