JUDGES

Judging the Vodacom Journalist of the Year is no easy task. We are proud of our well-respected panel of VJOY judges who are experts in the media world; and who themselves, have earned many accolades as seasoned media professionals.

The collective experience of our judging panel exceeds 270 years. Each judge will enhance the exacting criteria for entrants from their wide range of experienced focus areas. This year we welcome three new judges: Mapi Mhlangu, Jermaine Craig and Franz Krüger.

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Ryland Fisher Ryland Fisher is the founder and CEO of Ikususasa Lethu Media, a company that tries to give a voice to people who feel marginalised by the media and society. He has more than 35 years of experience in the media industry as an editor, journalist, columnist, author, senior manager and executive. He is the former Editor of the Cape Times and The New Age, and was assistant editor of the Sunday Times. However, his experience in the media industry extends across all media platforms, including broadcast, online, books and events. Early in his career, he was one of the pioneers of alternative community journalism in South Africa.
Fisher is the author of Race, published in 2007, which deals with race and racism in post-apartheid South Africa. His first book, Making the Media Work for You (2002), provides insights into the media industry. He has contributed chapters to several other books. Last year, he completed a book on the history of the Atlantic Philanthropies in South Africa.
He is the founder of the ‘One City, Many Cultures’ projects, which started as an editorial project when he was still editor of the Cape Times. This project seeks to explore the differences, and in most cases similarities, between different cultures, races and religions. He won the Images of Voices and Hope Award for “Transforming the Public Space” for this project in New York in 2006.
Fisher writes a weekly column for the Weekend Argus and regular articles for other publications in South Africa and abroad.

Opinion

Albe Grobbelaar Albe Grobbelaar joined the SABC in 1979 as an announcer/producer at the Afrikaans Radio Service after completing his BA Honours Degree in Philosophy. He worked in various positions in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria before moving to Bloemfontein in 1985, where he was one of the co-founders of Radio Oranje (OFM). He also worked as a television News Editor/Reporter in the late 1980s. His work in television included anchoring the Free State studio broadcasts during two national elections in the 1990’s.
In 1989 Albe became the SABC’s Head of Radio for the Central Region. When OFM was privatised in 1996, Albe was appointed CEO of the new commercial radio station, a position he held until 2003, when he retired.
He has travelled abroad extensively and has visited more than thirty radio and television stations in places as far apart as Taipei, Paris, London, Berlin, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and Jacksonville.
Albe was a lecturer at the UFS’s Department of Communication Science from 2009 to 2017, teaching Applied Journalism, Media Literacy and Mass Media Audiences. He has been a VJOY adjudicator since 2015, and has also judged the annual ATKV Journalism Awards for the past four years.

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Arthur Goldstuck Arthur Goldstuck is an award-winning writer, analyst and technology commentator, providing understanding of technology issues to media globally. In 2013, the Institute of IT Professionals of South Africa presented him with the Distinguished Service in ICT Award for his contribution to the industry and named him an Honorary Fellow of the Institute.
Goldstuck is the author of 19 books and editor-in-chief of South Africa’s first online consumer technology magazine, Gadget.co.za, launched in 1998. His weekly gadgets column is the most widely syndicated technology column in South Africa. He writes a weekly technology trends column for the Sunday Times, South Africa’s largest-circulation newspaper.
As an analyst, he heads the World Wide Worx research organisation, leading ground-breaking market research into how change is affecting business and society, and presents his insights to audiences across the globe. World Wide Worx produces the most widely accepted statistics for Internet use in South Africa, and has conducted research across Africa since 2001.
He has been a presenter and panel moderator at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, an international judge in both the GSMA Global Mobile Awards in Barcelona and the Cannes International Advertising Festival, and has judged the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards since 2011.

Opinion

Collin Nxumalo A journalist with over 30 years’ experience, Collin started his career at the now defunct World Newspaper in 1975, where after his internship, he was later appointed education correspondent for the paper. Following the newspaper’s banning in 1977, he joined the South African Press Association (SAPA), becoming the head of the Africa Desk, a section that looked after the then self-governing tribal homelands.
In 1982 he enrolled at Rhodes University for a Journalism & Media Studies degree but left after two years due to lack of funding. He later joined the oil company BP Southern Africa, and assumed the position of Public Relations Officer. From there he proceeded to take up a position at Tiger Oates (now Tiger Brands) where he was appointed Public Relations Manager for their subsidiary, King Foods Corporation in 1991.
In 1996 he joined a public relations consulting firm, DiagonalStreet Communications, and assumed the role of a director in charge of African affairs and Business Development. In 1998 he took up a position as editor-in-chief of the Portfolio Publications Group of companies, with specific responsibilities for the Portfolio of South Africa (government profiling publication), and also the Portfolio of Black Business.
In the meantime, he started my own consulting firm, Nxumalo Communications, which in 2003, joined together with MCR Marketing to form Nxumalo Roodt & Company (Pty) Ltd.
In 2007 he became editor of the business publication, Enterprise Magazine, and at the beginning of 2009, together with a colleague, Collin launched Aspire Magazine, a quarterly business publication.

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Franz Krüger Franz Krüger is Adjunct Professor, head of the Journalism department at Wits University and director of the Wits Radio Academy. He is a journalist of some 30 years’ experience, having worked in print and broadcasting in South Africa, Namibia and the UK, at media groups ranging from the BBC and London Guardian to East London’s Daily Dispatch and the Windhoek Advertiser. He was founding group editor of East Cape News Agencies, a network of independent news agencies during the eighties which was subjected to considerable repression at the hands of the apartheid government. As National Editor of Radio News and Current Affairs at the SABC from 1994 to 1999, Krüger formed part of the first post‐apartheid management team at the corporation and helped achieve a significant turnaround in the credibility and quality of radio journalism at the corporation. He spent ten years working as a freelancer before joining Wits University. He is the author of two books, several book chapters and many other publications. He served as Ombud for the Mail & Guardian and on the SA Press Appeals Panel.

Opinion

Jermaine Craig Jermaine Craig has over 20 years’ experience as a journalist and in senior management positions in the media, communications and events industries.
Craig started his journalism career at the Cape Argus newspaper and spent the bulk of his media career at Independent Media. During his 10 years at Independent, Craig held the positions of Cape Argus Editor, Executive Editor at The Star, Group Brand and Editorial Executive and head of the group’s sport and motoring business unit, before leaving Independent in September 2018.
He has covered events such as the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the 2004 Athens Olympics and the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ in Germany.
Craig spent four years as Media Manager of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa.
He worked as Global Communications Manager of South African Tourism from 2011 to 2013, leveraging global media advertising deals, on the formulation of in-country brand communication strategies and assisting business units, country offices and other units to amplify their work globally.
He currently runs his own niche media and communications consultancy business.

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Mapi Mhlangu As the former Managing Director and Editor‐in‐chief of e News Channel Africa (eNCA), Mhlangu ran South Africa’s most watched news channel and is credited with expanding its leadership position in the market palace despite the arrival of two competing 24‐hour news channels during her time at eNCA’s helm. In her newest project, Mapi has founded and is Managing Director of MInsight Content Creation, a content consultancy firm that works with newsrooms across Africa. A frequent presenter on journalism’s issues in platforms like Newsxchange, BMIA and International Business of Media conference, Mapi brings her newsroom experience as well as her academic studies to bear. She is currently working on her dissertation for the completion of an MBA at Henley Business School where her research focuses on non‐commercial funding sources for private media groups producing news products and finding ways to strengthen independent news production and expand diversity of news coverage in a continent where the dominant narrative continues to be determined by a powerful elite.

Opinion

Mary B Papayya Mary Bernadette Papayya is an award-winning journalist, news, media leader & stakeholder (Government and Corporate & Academic) Strategist. She is an Entrepreneur, Mentor, Trainer, Editor and Writer.
She has worked in the media industry in South Africa and the continent for nearly three decades in a range of positions including Journalist, Bureau Chief, Editor, News Manager and News Project Initiator. She is the former regional general manager for the Times Media Group & a Publisher - the first woman and journalist to be appointed into these positions. She was the Regional & Coastal Regions Editor of the Sowetan. Mary has played a pivotal role in the development, transformation (race and gender) and the management of key media entities in the print and broadcast media across both mainstream and community media since 1986. Her contribution to gender transformation and the advancement of women in media is well documented.
She is a founder, and former Secretary General and Deputy Chair of the South African National Editor’s Forum (SANEF) where she spearheaded key media Freedom campaigns, summits and platforms. She remains the youngest and longest serving founding Editor on SANEF since 1996.
She also served as Convener of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year (3 years), Convener of the KZN Newsmaker of the Year Award and Convener of Nat Nakasa Bringing Home a Hero Project.

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Obed Zilwa Obed Zilwa is a renowned South African photographer who has attracted photographic acclaim with an impressive collection of images that capture defining moments in South African and Southern African history.
Obed started photography in the 1980s and worked for the Cape Times and the Cape Argus before joining the International News Agency, The Associated Press. His vast archives cover life under apartheid, SA’s transformation to democracy, Southern Africa’s struggles and triumphs, world leaders, artists and much more. Among other awards, Obed received the Mogadishu Fellowship Award for photography from Reuters.
Obed currently freelances and produces both photographic and video projects for government and the private sector. Recently he has worked on the Mandela Opus, the Kurdish Human Rights Action Group South Africa and a Forum for Dialogue for Palestinians.

Opinion

Patricia McCracken Patricia McCracken is a multi-award-winning freelance writer, editor and photojournalist, contributing to specialist business, health and environment media, as well as to mass media from the Sunday Times to Garden & Home magazine. She co-authored the new book, Strelitzias of the World: A historical and contemporary exploration of the paradise plants, published by Durban Botanic Gardens Trust and is a recipient of a publishing award from the Stanley Smith (UK) Horticultural Trust. She is currently researching and co-writing a history of the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement. Her other publications include Disease profile for Vhembe district, Limpopo and work on media history.
She has also acted as an editorial consultant to organisations such as UNICEF, Health Development Trust, African Development Bank and the South African Tourism Enterprise Partnership. She writes a regular book column for Farmer’s Weekly.
Patricia graduated from the University of Cambridge and worked in investment banking before moving into journalism, where she worked in such posts as assistant editor at Bona. She received about 40 reporting award credits in fields such as personal finance, consumer, business, ICT, health and environment. These include a Vodacom Journalist of the Year
National Print Feature for an investigation into the dangers of paraffin stoves that helped change SA law. Patricia won Vodacom regional awards in three categories. Her in-depth investigation and dedication to accuracy and her ability to translate news and investigative values into mass-media format were particularly commended.
Patricia is a member of the Credit Ombud Council and also sits on their Corporate Governance and Media Policy Committees. She sits on the Advisory Boards of both the Department of Journalism and the Department of Translation and Interpreting Practice at the Durban University of Technology. She has been a judge of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year since 2013.