Freedom of expression is one of the basic rights that are enshrined in the Constitution and a cornerstone of democracy. In a world where news frequently breaks as fast as it takes to upload it on social media the challenge is for journalists to interpret and disseminate news timely and accurately over a wide range of news platforms. The last year has seen thought-provoking stories break in South Africa, and this dynamic environment demands that journalists are meticulous in covering the news without fear or favour, and tonight we celebrate the craft of journalism.
The judges faced a tough job processing entries that were of a very high standard. This year there were 976 entries, an increase of 204 from 2015; with 123 from the KwaZulu-Natal Region.
“The increase in numbers of entries this year was heartening,” said Mary Papayya, convenor of the judging panel.
“We were very happy to see entries from all areas grow - and across all media. This year the Vodacom Awards welcomed an exciting new category ‘Young Journalist’ which replaced the Editor’s Choice Award, and the judges were unanimous in their praise for the high quality of submissions in this category. Fifty young journalists entered their work. The overall quality and depth of entries bodes well for journalism in South Africa.”
There were 12 categories:
Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at Vodacom Group said, “I would like to pay tribute to the judges, who year after year provide their expertise and knowledge in the adjudication of these prestigious awards, thereby ensuring the integrity of the process.“The judging panel comprised experts in their fields, and I would like to thank Mary Papayya, Arthur Goldstuck , Ryland Fisher, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Nikiwe Bikitsha, Peter McKenzie, Mathatha Tshedu, and Albe Grobbelaar,” said Netshitenzhe.
Regional winners for the KwaZulu-Natal Region were announced today at a function at the Protea Hotel Umhlanga Ridge. Regional winners each took home R5 000 and will travel to Johannesburg for the national finals in November.
The winners of the 2016 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Regional Awards in the KwaZulu-Natal region are:
2016 CSI/Sustainability winner
Julie Laurenz, Francois Grobler. Nguni TV, Mining murder.
The judges commended one other entry in this category.
Judith Subban. eNCA, Illegal sand mining.
2016 Financial/Economic winner
Jeff Wicks. News24, EXPOSED: How Panday bought the cops.
2016 Online winner
Kyle Cowan. Zulu Observer, Anarchy in iSithebe.
2016 Photography winner
Thuli Dlamini. The Times, Poverty has no colour.
2016 Print Feature winner
Nosipho Mngoma. Daily News, Jailhouse rocked.
2016 Print News winner
Chelsea Pieterse. The Witness, SA Code Red – TAC, Hospitals out of medication, SA Running out of Penicillin.
The judges commended one other journalist in this category
Sihle Manda. INL, Durban's R31.5m shack shame.
2016 Radio Feature winner
Genevieve Lanka. SABC Radio News, Hlaudi 90/10.
2016 Radio News winner
Nonjabulo Mntungwa. SABC Radio News, Shembe fight court.
2016 Sport winners
Judith Anne Subban, Susanna Holmes, Bongumusa Mkhize. eNCA, Senzo Meyiwa, the man.
Myron Naicker, Susanna Holmes, Francois Grobler. eNCA, Go Durban.
2016 Television Feature winners
Dasen Thathiah, Balungile Dlamini, Xolani Cele. eNCA, Hostel of death.
2016 Television News winner
Sgu Shangase. eNCA, Umbumbulu.
2016Young Journalist winner
Bernadette Wolhunter. Daily News, Lotter killer interview.
At each regional finals Media Express, sister company to Internet Express Courier wanted to take the opportunity to express their gratitude to the amazing journalists that so tirelessly serve the people of South Africa. One lucky finalist received R2 500 through a random draw.
“We’d like to congratulate all the winners in the KwaZulu-Natal Region for entering a strong body of thought-provoking and compelling work. We look forward to welcoming you at the national finals, where we will be celebrating excellence in journalism in South Africa,” said Netshitenzhe.