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Vodacom celebrates western region winners of the 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards

Friday, 30 September 2011

Caption: Western Cape regional winners

This morning the winners of the western region for the 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were presented with their prizes, and commended by the judges at a champagne breakfast event at the Protea's 15 on Orange Hotel in Cape Town.

After an entry period that lasted a month, and a rigorous judging process involving 13 judges, Vodacom is thrilled to announce the regional winners of the 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards.

A prominent theme in the western region was the focus on various healthcare issues such as unannounced visits to hospitals, the complex issues of human genetics and exposing the costs of medical schemes.

Overall, the judges were very impressed with the quality of the work submitted by the regions. The winning journalists put intelligent thought into their stories and spent time researching and thoroughly analysing their work.

Convenor of the judges for the Awards, Advocate Robin Sewlal commented, "The competition provides a wonderful opportunity for journalists to be duly recognised for their commitment to quality journalism. In this the 10th year of the contest, we've received an incredible number of entries where the work displays tremendous dynamism and depth. The robust debates during the adjudication process ensured that only top-of-the-drawer entries were rewarded. On the behalf of the panel of judges, I thank those who entered and offer heartiest congratulations to the winners in each of the categories. You've done yourself and the country proud."

The citations and the winners of the 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards in the western region are:

2011 Columnist winner
Sipho Hlongwane, The Big Issue SA, ‘Dogs of War' column: Patronising brought to you.

One of the defining traits of a good columnist is the ability to tell a story of a serious nature in a light-hearted fashion - taking the Mickey out of the subject. We find this beautifully done by the writer of this article - one of a body of work - on service delivery. Not only does the writer have a way of making light of serious matters, but has the added and rare ability of sustaining the discussion long enough before he gets to say what he really wants to say, which must have been the reason he wrote the article anyway. This, he has been able to achieve - without losing the reader - by a combination of good writing skills, and also infusing an entertaining episode that happened to him on another occasion, which he builds up to in his story. The reader readily sees the connection between the episode and the message. The article adjudged the winning piece, starts off with the writer finding himself in a taxi driven by a magogo (old woman), who, as the writer says, her driving skills have the potential to shame the racing champion, Schumacher, and gives off expletive words like a granny giving off candies to her grandchildren.

The winner is Sipho Hlongwane of The Big Issue SA, for his body of work under the ‘Dogs of War' column.       

2011 Community media winners
Faatimah Hendricks, The Voice of the Cape, The Battle of Hangberg.
Dorianne Arendse, The Voice of the Cape, The Battle of Hangberg.

The winning entry is a well researched and lively five - part feature on the socio - economic conditions of the community of Hangberg near Houtbay. The streets of Hangberg turned into a war zone in September last year when the City of Cape Town sent a unit in to demolish alleged unoccupied informal structures which were erected on the fire break of the mountain. 

The winners, for their outstanding radio feature, are Faatimah Hendricks and Dorianne Arendse of Voice of the Cape.

2011 Consumer Journalism winner
Kim Van Reizig, Media 24, You, Huisgenoot, Plastics: The Good and The Bad.

The winner in this category succeeded in taking scientific information and translating it into a style and language that the non technical reader could understand. The result was an informative and readable consumer article.

The winner is Kim Van Reizig of YOU Magazine for her story on the good and bad of plastic containers and wrappers.

2011 Financial/Economic winner
Claire Bisseker, Avusa, Financial Mail, Do or Die.

Health and security are the two most fundamental rights of any human being the world over. And it is precisely because of the crucial nature of these requirements that some amongst the relevant service providers will do just about anything to cash in as much as it is possibly practical.

As is always the case, the one to bear the brunt of this unscrupulous way of doing business is the end consumer, who because of his need for these services, ends up paying far more than is legally permissible. The truth though is that the urge to ‘rip-off' consumers happens all the time and everywhere, and it is largely thanks to a fearless and enterprising journalistic piece of work that we are able to rein-in these avaricious soulless sharks.

The winner is Claire Bisseker of the Financial Mail for her ‘Do or Die' article exposing the cost of medical aid schemes. 

2011 Online Journalism winner
Andy Davis, Mahala, Xhosa Kung Fu.

It is common for online-only publications to promote creative, intrepid and fascinating journalism. It is rare to see journalists in this country achieve those ideals in an online-only context, as most choose the easy way out. There were superb entries based on careful and intelligent research, but that fell out of the running as a result of not taking it beyond desk research. This journalist did his research, and expanded on it effectively. But it was his ability to explore a fascinating topic on the ground, so to speak, that began to set it apart. The artfulness with which he captured the atmosphere on the ground, combined with an evocative photo gallery, finally made it a clear winner in this region. It enabled the reader to sense the dust and sweat of the action. It exemplified both the craft and art of colourful journalism.

The winner is Andy Davis of Mahala for his entry Xhosa King Fu.

2011 Photography winner
Tracey Adams, Independent Newspapers, The Argus, Ticket Scalper.

The sequence of photographs is a necessary prerequisite for a powerful story in photo-journalism.  

The winner in this category is Tracey Adams of Independent Newspapers, The Argus, for the sequence on the FIFA ticket scalpers.

2011 Print: Feature winner
Elsabé Brits, Media24, Die Burger, Bruin mense se gene opnuut belig.

Too often investigative journalism is understood to mean the uncovering of corruption, maladministration or abuse of power. A rich and important field that is rather neglected in South African journalism is the medical and scientific beat. Here we have two stories on human genetics, one explaining the human genome project, the other one the genetic heritage of coloured South Africans, proving that they are one of the oldest and most diverse populations in the world. Good research and understanding of the topic, well constructed and presented with graphics.

The winner is Elsabé Brits of Media24, Die Burger for her piece Bruin mense se gene opnuut belig.

2011 Print: General News winner
Glynnis Underhill, Mail & Guardian, Body of work - Series on Anni Dewani, Spy wars, Cele vs Mdhululi, High flying ministers enjoy champagne.


Given to this journalist for three stories: an excellent, exhaustive analysis of new developments on the unfolding story of purported hijack victim  Anni Dewani; the inside story of the clash between police commissioner Bheki Cele and his head of crime intelligence; and the high-flying lifestyles of cabinet ministers. Thorough and incisive reporting with good sources and well written.

The winner is Glynnis Underhill of the Mail & Guardian, for her body of work - Series on Anni Dewani, Spy wars, Cele vs Mdhululi and High flying ministers enjoy champagne.

2011 Radio: Feature winner
Dorianne Arendse, Voice of the Cape, current affairs show, Xenophobia in Western Cape.

The winning entry used the very powerful aspects of radio to portray the tragic reality of the attack of foreign nationals living in Cape Town. The reporter went on field visits to two of the hardest hit communities and spoke to locals and foreign nationals who were at the heart of the conflict. Views were sought from experts as well as government, police, human rights and independent experts on the causes and solutions to alleviate future uprisings. The story line was sharp, the sound concise and the content powerful.

The winner is Dorianne Arendse of Voice of the Cape, current affairs show for her piece Xenophobia in Western Cape.

2011 Radio: General News winner
Giovanna Gerbi, Primedia Broadcasting, Eyewitness News, Surprise Hospital Trauma Unit visits.

Radio provides the ideal platform to get results when there is a need for urgent action. Proactive and innovative thinking on the part of the journalist is often challenging but can achieve a desired outcome. Our winner showed that unannounced visits to trauma units at state hospitals accompanied by the MEC in charge where medical staff can speak freely can hold staff and leadership accountable and ensure that service delivery happens. The surprise visits leant itself to credible and gripping story telling with great sound bites and focused content.

The winner is Giovanna Gerbi of Primedia Broadcasting, Eyewitness News for her piece Surprise Hospital Trauma Unit visits.

2011 Sport winner
Norman McFarlane, Independent Cape, Bolander Lifestyle, Powerlifting: A magnificent obsession.

It's no secret that certain codes of sport pale in insignificance in terms of coverage as compared to the headline grabbing ones like football, cricket and rugby. In some instances, it is worth stretching the point by saying that some other sports suffer with no mileage whatsoever. The journalist here takes one such sport and gives it a human face. He cleverly demonstrates the difficulties experienced by an admirable woman competitor who also holds down a day job. The sport is not well funded and for participants to extract maximum benefit requires dedication. This is a story that underscores perseverance.

For his piece on the trials, tribulations and triumphs titled ‘Powerlifting: a magnificent obsession', the winner in the Sport category is the Bolander's Norman McFarlane.

2011 Television: Feature winner
Liz Fish, Carte Blanche, Combined artists, Fracking in the Karoo.

The impact of human beings on the planet has to be attested, otherwise we will lose it all.  This story illustrates what is at stake. The research is thorough, and it is beautifully filmed with creative use of both technology and graphics.

The winner is Liz Fish of Carte Blanche, Combined artists, for Fracking in the Karoo.

2011 Television: General News winners
Dianne Hawker, eTV, Khayelitsha Toilet Protest.
Mario Pedro, eTV, Khayelitsha Toilet Protest.
Thomas Davids, eTV, Khayelitsha Toilet Protest.
Kyle Haffajee, eTV, Khayelitsha Toilet Protest.

Although this piece ostensibly was about yet another service delivery issue, what it so excellently highlighted is the rising power and confidence of the ANC Youth League in taking control of poverty-stricken areas. The reporters are to be commended for challenging someone in a volatile situation.

The winners are Dianne Hawker, Mario Pedro, Thomas Davids and Kyle Haffajee for their piece Khayelitsha Toilet Protest on eTV.

2011 Editors Choice winner
Rafiq Wagiet, Primedia Broadcasting, Eyewitness News.

The Editors Choice winner at a regional level for the western region is Rafiq Wagiet of Primedia Broadcasting, Eyewitness News.

2011 Cartoonist winner
Jeremy Nell, The New Age, Jeremy Nell Studio, Africa 2.0.

This cartoonist cleverly used the graphic of an installed computer program to highlight the state of democracy on the African continent.

The winner in this category is Jeremy Nell, Jeremy Nell Studio, for The New Age, for the piece Africa 2.0.

The judges for the 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards included, Advocate Robin Sewlal (Convenor), Maud Motanyane (Co-convenor), Ruda Landman, Professor Johann de Wet, Mary Papayya, Victor Matom, Dr Melanie Chait, Arthur (ZB) Molefe, Colin Nxumalo, Leonard Maseko, Tim Modise, Arthur Goldstuck and Max du Preez.

The regional winners were each awarded with R7500 and also stand a chance of being crowned the national winner of the 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards at the national awards ceremony to be held on 4 November 2011 in Johannesburg.

The overall 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards national winner will walk away with R125 000 in prize money, as well as being given the opportunity to donate an additional R125 000 to an official charity of his or her choosing.


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