The Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards 2016 comes at a critical time for journalism in serving the public’s right to know. In a world where news breaks as rapidly as it takes to upload it on to multiple social media channels, the real skill of a good journalist lies in making sure that accuracy and balance are respected as the hallmarks of the Fourth Estate.
The awards are a celebration of excellence in journalism across media, and many of South Africa’s foremost journalists have been recipients of a prestigious Vodacom award in the past.
This year a new category has been included replacing the Editor’s Choice Award. The Young Journalist Award commits Vodacom to furthering the career of a dynamic young journalist in South Africa. The Young Journalist winner will be given the opportunity to fast track his or her 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. To enter this category journalists should have worked in the media for up to, but not more than three years, and be able to demonstrate their potential through their entries.
The awards are regarded as the highest accolade that journalists in South Africa can aspire to. The Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards are a means of recognising and rewarding skill in the all-important arena of news and information dissemination. Winning an award has become a prestigious career achievement, with the overall national winner receiving R100 000, along with professional acknowledgement.
Maya Makanjee, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at Vodacom says: “As the provider of products and services that facilitate constant mobile connection, Vodacom is indeed very proud to honour journalism that creates ongoing dialogue.
“There have been vitally important news stories over the past year, and for Vodacom there is synergy between keeping people connected through our network and the work that journalists do in tirelessly bringing news to readers, listeners, and a growing number of online followers. Journalism provides information and insight from which people can make informed choices and remain linked to their communities, country, and the world. Ultimately, great journalism fosters the kind of dialogue between human beings that can speak truth to power; and from which appropriate actions and innovative solutions are born.”
The judging panel this year is made up of some of South Africa’s most experienced journalists, comprising: Mary Papayya, Elna Rossouw, Arthur Goldstuck, Mathatha Tsedu, Ryland Fisher, Patricia McCracken, Albe Grobbelaar and Nikiwe Bikitsha.
The Vodacom Awards has a proud history of honouring excellence in journalism across a range of categories and has celebrated some of South Africa’s finest reporters and most newsworthy stories. Journalists will be able to enter their best achievements for work produced between 1 May 2015 and 30 May 2016. Entries are open from 4 July 2016 and can be submitted online at journalist.vodacom.co.za. Entries close at 6pm on 4 August 2016, no late entries will be considered. Participants can also have their entries collected at their desks by Internet Express, a sponsor of the awards, or entries can be delivered to one of five Vodacom regional offices.
The 12 categories are:
The judging panel will also decide on The Lifetime Achiever’s Award that recognises the lifetime contribution made by a single individual to journalism and media in this country.
“Last year’s recipient Lesley Sehume is going to be a hard act to follow, but the Vodacoms have a proud history of honouring some of the greatest journalists South Africa has ever known in this award.
“We saw great quality in last year’s awards and this year we look forward to the same standard of excellence and a flood of entries,” says Makanjee.
Regional category winners will receive R5 000 each, national category winners will receive R10 000 each, with the coveted and sought-after national accolade of Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award winner receiving R100 000.
For further information on how to enter, more about the categories, stories worth telling and frequently asked questions visit the website journalist.vodacom.co.za.