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 105 from the Eastern 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 Eastern Region were announced today at a function at the Protea Marine Hotel.
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 Eastern region are:
2016 CSI/Sustainability winner
Estelle Ellis. The Herald. Saving the Swartkops River.
2016 Financial/Economic winner
2016 Online winner
2016 Photography winner
Jikelo Phando. INL, Ikat'ilele eziko kwaZinja.
2016 Print Feature winner
Bongani Fuzile. Daily Dispatch, Maximum insecurity.
2016 Print News winner
Bongani Fuzile. Daily Dispatch, Eastern Cape's grisly toll at Glebelands Hostel killings.
2016 Radio Feature winner
Jayed-leigh Paulse. SABC Radio, Rhodes.
2016 Radio News winner
Nkululeko Nyembezi. SABC Radio News, King court.
2016 Sport winner
Mcebisi Mgqina. SABC, School rugby.
2016 Television Feature winner
Nontsikelelo Nohiya. SABC Cutting Edge, Stock vigilantism.
2016 Television News winner
Janine Lee. SABC, Killer Canals.
2016Young Journalist winner
Busisiwe Jemsana. Freelancer, Clean-up.
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 Eastern 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.