Reporting that made full use of the multi-platform potential of online publishing took the top online award in the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards announced on Friday night.
The winner was Kim Harrisberg of Code4SA for News24, for her multimedia reporting on domestic workers’ employment conditions. The entry, entitled Living on the Edge, has it’s own dedicated micro-site at http://livingwage.code4sa.org/.
This year marked the 14th Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards. The theme, Write Here. Right Now, reflected the speed with which we have seen news stories being generated via electronic platforms directly from the story location. The awards acknowledged that, given the need to be first with a story, journalists must remember that it is excellence in reporting and producing good stories that make for award-winning journalism.
The national Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award, which comes with a R100 000 prize, was awarded for a story that displayed journalism at its very best, said Maya Makanjee, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at Vodacom Group.
“For Vodacom, we see the role we play in supporting media through our technology as vital, and this is evidenced by the speed with which stories and photos are shared through various platforms,’ she said. “By linking technology with journalism, we are proud to say that the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards remain among the most credible awards in a rapidly changing industry.
“Once again I have been told that our panel of judges had a difficult time choosing the winners. They were presented with outstanding submissions and we are pleased that some of these came from smaller publications and online sites. Next year we hope to see even more entries from a wide range of media platforms.”
Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award
The 2015 overall National Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award was given to two journalists from the Gauteng Province who covered the Killing of Emmanuel Sithole for the Sunday Times.
“Our overall winners are examples of the synthesis of great media coverage. Without the determined coverage of this photographer and this journalist, South Africa and the world would never have known of the casual yet targeted brutality of the killing of Emmanuel Sithole,” said Mary Payayya, convenor of the judging panel.
Beauregard Tromp and James Oatway of the Sunday Times share the 2015 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award and the prize of R100 000.
Entries were received in 12 categories this year: CSI/Sustainability, Editor’s Choice, Financial/Economic, Online, Photography, Sport, Print Feature, Print News, Radio Feature, Radio News, Television Feature and Television News.
“The judging panel this year had to make hard choices and we thank Mary Papayya, Elna Rossouw, Collin Nxumalo, Arthur Goldstuck, Albe Grobbelaar, Ryland Fisher, Megan Rusi, and Patricia McCracken, who made their time and expertise available to us,” said Makanjee.
The national winners in the various categories are as follows, with winners per category taking home R10 000. If there is more than one winner, the prizes are shared.
The winners of the 2015 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards nationally are:
2015 Radio Feature
As in previous years, this was a strongly contested award. Ultimately the judges found that the key components of script originality, creativity in production and research were observed by most entries. The winner went above and beyond – taking breaking news stories and presenting them to the listener with great care and skill while also showing credible reporting and analysis. The winner of the National 2015 Radio Feature Award is Minoshni Pillay of SABC Radio News for a two part series Camp Life.
2015 Radio News
This is another highly contested category with all finalists giving a good perspective of the key stories being broadcast over radio in South Africa. The finalists could all have been winners. The national prize is shared by two journalists for relentless and committed coverage from start to finish. They are Minoshni Pillay of SABC Radio News for two stories namely, The Murder of Baby Jamie; and the Return of the Remains of SA Journalist Nat Nakasa 50 Years After His Death; and VumaniMkhize of EWN for Bafana Bafana Captain Murdered.
2015 TV Feature
This entry is a victory for consumer journalism told very effectively through the medium of television. It demonstrates a thorough investigation into the legalities and finances of the complex process of personal injury claims and how they get abused. Excellent interviewing skills made the weaknesses of the respondent’s argument clearly visible to the viewer. The winner is Joy Summers for Bobbroff’s Fall from Grace produced for Carte Blanche.
2015 TV News
All entrants in this category were potential winners. The stories gave insight into the country’s news landscape and the stories critical to South Africa. However, there was one story that captured the world’s attention. The TV news winner for 2015 is Philip Owira of eNCA for a brilliant piece on Rhodes has Fallen.
2015 Print Feature
Our features finalists gave us hope and made us laugh, but they also exposed the darker underbelly of South African society. The winner stood head-and-shoulders above the rest. The award goes to Maygene Prins of Die Burger for her insightful articles on George ‘Geweld’ Thomas.
2015 Print News
It was a year of big news stories covering crimes of passion, corruption and hostage dramas, but a theme that has dominated the news throughout the year has been the issue of xenophobia. The winner wrote his story not only because he was at the right place at the right time, but also because of extensive background investigative work. The winner is Beauregard Tromp of the Sunday Times for his reporting on the Killing of Emmanuel Sithole in Alexandria Township.
The best news photography depends on the electric combination of a historic moment that is accurately, yet emotively depicted, thanks to split-second decisions on technical issues such as composition and lighting to F-stop and angle. This year’s national winner calibrated all of this mentally while directing his camera to document horrific events unfolding just five meters away from where he stood. The award goes to James Oatway of the Sunday Times for The Killing of Emmanuel Sithole.
The best financial and economic reporting combines detailed assessment of facts with clear and deep analysis. Combining news reporting with crisply observed contextual development, the winner produced a well-researched piece with disturbingly accurate conclusions. The award goes to Claire Bisseker of the Financial Mail for SA’s Friday the 13th.
The national winner is a public-interest story of the highest calibre. It pours intense investigative and analytical effort into a perceptive and far-seeing analysis of how we must act now to prevent the next resources crisis to hit South Africa. The joint winners are Phillip de Wet, Sipho Kings, Sarah Wild, and Rapula Moatshe of the Mail & Guardian for SA’s Great Thirst Has Begun.
Reporting that makes full use of the multi-platform potential of online publishing remains largely underexploited in South African media. For an excellent example of multimedia reporting on the issue of domestic workers’ employment conditions, the winner is Kim Harrisberg of Code4SA for News24 for Living on the Edge.
Choosing a winner in this fiercely contested category was no easy task. The dedication, commitment, and persistence paid off and resulted in a series of stories that went to the core of good investigative journalism. Congratulations to BonganiFuzile of the Daily Dispatch for exposing so many of the wrong-doings and ‘shenanigans’ in the top echelons of rugby in a body of work on the state of Border Rugby.
Editor’s Choice Award
The Editor’s Choice Award seeks to identify a young journalist, nominated by his or her editor for outstanding work and showing great promise. It honours a young reporter who shows the potential to become a great journalist. The judges interviewed nominees from across the country and were impressed by most, but no one impressed them more than this year’s winner, Yusuf Omar from eNCA. Omar will join the Thomson Foundation in the United Kingdom for The Summer Convergence Course in August next year. Participating journalists will each be provided with one week’s work experience at a British media organisation during the final week of the course. All expenses are paid for by Vodacom.
Lifetime Achiever Award
This award honours a journalist who has made a significant lifetime contribution to the media in South Africa. This year the judges were unanimous in their choice of Leslie Sehume, known in the trade as Bra Les. Sehume worked across a number of titles during his career and was known as a man who did not tolerate mistakes in copy. A hard task-master, many of South Africa’s most well-known journalists credit him with teaching them how to be meticulous writers and searchers for the truth. He was passionate about sport and in particular boxing.
Makanjee said, “This year has been a celebration of excellence with great stories being entered into the Awards. From entries telling the everyday tales of human life, to massive breaking stories, we saw entries from journalists who looked beyond the obvious and found jewels.”