Winners at the Northern region Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards

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Last night I attended the Northern region Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards in Johannesburg.

The 2017 edition of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year recognised 12 categories for outstanding work. The theme for the awards this year is ‘Your Word’ and promotes the integrity of journalism across all media. This year’s competition drew over 1 000 entries from all over the country, including 397 entries from the Northern region.

At a function held at the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice Melrose Arch, winners in the Regional categories each took home R5 000, with the exception of the Young Journalist of the Year regional finalist, who received a certificate. All the regional winners go through to the national awards in Johannesburg on 16 November 2017.

Jody with Ryland Fisher and Paul Mcnally

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “The entries across the 12 categories were excellent this year. Our criteria for judging is to look for entries that could possibly make the cut for the national finals, and the overall prize of R100 000 for the journalist of the year award. We were overwhelmed by the number and the quality of entries from the Northern Region, particularly for the Print News and Online categories, where the judges made several commendations for outstanding work over and above the regional category winners.”

The quality of work submitted by the winners was of a very high standard, so congrats to all the winners especially former colleague Paul McNally who won 2017 Radio Feature category for a brilliant piece of radio work on which he and others like John Bartmann, Kutlwano Serame and Freddy Mabitsela of Citizen Justice Network produced an eight-part series for SAfm on which they had worked for a very long time where they told the story of an innocent man who spent 17 years in jail.

Also congrats to current colleagues, Hanri Wondergem and Hendrik Martin of SABC RSG for “WhatsApp-paniek”. In this story they succeeded in producing a news story that grabs the listener’s attention in a unique way. For a report on the dangers of WhatsApp voice notes in life-threatening situations.

Jody and Hanri Wondergem

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group, says: “We are delighted to announce the Northern regional winners in Johannesburg for the 2017 Awards, which honour journalists from around the country by recognising their best work from the past year. We look forward to welcoming them at the national finals. I would also 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. Thanks go to Ryland Fisher, Mary Papayya, Arthur Goldstuck, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Nikiwe Bikitsha, Megan Rusi, Mathatha Tshedu, Albe Grobbelaar and Obed Zilwa.”

Other winners in the Northern region included:

2017 Sport
Simon Stephens and Khumo Pulumo of eNCA for his Mixed Martial Arts column, The Clinch.

2017 Sustainability
Sipho Masondo of City Press for “Watergate”.

2017 Print News
The winners were: for the “State capture” series, the Tiso Blackstar team of Graeme Hosken, Thanduxolo Jika, Kyle Cowan, Sikonathi Mantshantsha, Qaanitah Hunter, Sabelo Skiti, Hanna Ziady and Genevieve Quintal.

2017 Print Feature
The regional winners are: Sarah Wild and Kristen van Schie of the Mail & Guardian for “Gauteng’s unidentified dead”.

2017 Online
The winners are: Laura Grant and Alastair Otter freelancing for Passmark and Times Live for “Hidden danger: asbestos in Gauteng’s schools”.

2017 Financial/Economic
Lesetja Malope of City Press for “Broken promises from Anglo Gold signal darker days ahead.”
Alon Skuy of The Times for “Fees must fall”.

2017 Television News
Malungelo Booi, Lirandzu Themba, Mlingane Dude and Thuthuka Zondi of eNCA for “South Africa’s fees crisis”.

2017 Television Feature
n. The regional winners are: Kyla Hermannsen, Shamiel Albertyn, Ashley Market, Tshepo Dhlamini and Tshidi Lechuba of eNCA’s Checkpoint for “Life Esidimeni”.

Young Journalist Award

The winner is Sebe Buthelezi from Etv/ENCA.