Sanlam and the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) have received a record 750 entries for the 2013 MDDA-Sanlam Local Media Awards since the joint awards were established four years ago. Entries closed on 14 February 2014. For the 2012 Awards, 540 entries were received.
The awards, co-sponsored and organised by the MDDA and Sanlam, celebrate and promote excellence in local, community and small commercial media, and they bring together more than 20 years of Sanlam Community Newspaper Awards and four years of SABC News/MDDA Community Media Awards into one big event.
CEO of the MDDA, Lumko Mtimde, said: "We are encouraged by the steady growth of these awards. This year we also received community television entries, which we had not received in the previous two years or there were not sufficient entries for the judges to evaluate."
Mtimde said print entries continued to grow and there was a good response to the new categories introduced in the broadcast section. "We are satisfied with the good progress we are making in attracting quality entries and we are pleased with the remarkable increase in print entries as well as the positive response to the categories we have introduced in the broadcast section. We thank the judges whose passion, commitment and hard work in adjudicating all these entries and ensuring a high integrity for these Awards." he said.
Evaluations of the entries are currently being concluded by the judging panels and the 2013 awards will be presented on 23 May 2014 at a gala event in Johannesburg.
The adjudicators for the print section of the competition are Henry Jeffreys, who is the convener, Lindsay Clowes, Fanie Groenewald, Collin Nxumalo, Joe Thloloe, Maphindisi Xaba as well as Mboneni Mulaudzi and Mike Mzileni who both joined the panel this year.
Jacob Ntshangase is the convener of the broadcast adjudicators and the team comprises of Nomusa Dhladhla-Mntambo, Mapule Mbhalati, Bruce Mkhize, Doc Fick and Advocate Robin Sewlal who has also joined the panel this year.
Sanlam's Head of Group Communications, Ainsley Moos, paid tribute to the late Professor Gavin Stewart, who was part of the print judging panel and who passed away in February this year.
"Gavin's vast experience as a reporter, editor, academic and passionate media activist was well reflected in his insights and generally constructive critique as a panellist. We appreciate his invaluable contribution to these awards and the energy and passion he infused into the judging process. We will sorely miss him."
Commending the judges, Moos said: "We are grateful to the dedicated team of judges who have the mammoth responsibility of identifying the most outstanding work from the best writing and broadcasting from very diverse community media across the country. We are confident that both teams have applied themselves thoroughly to the task and look forward to presenting their selections at the awards event in May."
The awards involve industry stakeholders who are partners - the Association of Independent Publishers, the Association of Community Broadcasters, Forum for Community Journalists, Independent Forum for Faith and Media, National Association of Broadcasters, National Community Radio Forum and Print and Digital Media South Africa.