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Vodacom Journalist of the Year: northern, southern, central winners

The northern and southern region winners for the 2010 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were announced last night, Thursday, 16 September 2010, at a cocktail function at the Protea Hotel Balalaika in Sandton, and the central region winners were announced on Wednesday 15 September at the Protea Hotel Willow Lake in Bloemfontein.
The regional winners walk away with R7500 each in prize money, as well as being eligible for the grand prize which will be handed out at the national final ceremony in Johannesburg where the overall Vodacom Journalist of the Year 2010 will be announced in November.

Northern and southern region winners

CategoryWinnerJudges' comment
Regional Television - General NewsJody Jacobs, NewsIt is unusual for SA audiences to have stories beyond our borders reported by our own journalists. This piece ["Haiti Looting"] gives us real insight into what it means to try to survive extreme circumstances brought about by a natural disaster. The danger and emotion and intensity portrayed were what made this piece on Haiti a winner.
Regional Television - FeatureSam Rogers & Meggan Raubenheimer, e.tvThis story ["Curse of Nobody People"] highlights the lethal combination of ignorance, poverty and desperation. In Tanzania, a country of 40 million people, 270 000 are albinos who are hunted for their skin and body parts by criminals masquerading as witch doctors.
Regional Print - General NewsPiet Rampedi, City PressWhile time and accuracy are the most important factors in reporting a breaking news story, updating the story is very necessary as the facts and figures change. This journalist was rewarded for his commitment to collecting information from authentic sources [for his reporting on the Julius Malema business empire], which is very important when working on a breaking news story. Such a story often reaches not only television viewers and readers of newspapers but also policy-making stakeholders.
Regional Print - FeatureRowan Philip, Sunday TimesCovering the Haiti earthquake was one the most challenging assignments. Many journalists descended on the island but only a few came out with insightful and spine-chilling reports. This journalist was awarded for his series of feature stories on the Haiti earthquake.
Regional Radio - General NewsRahima Essop, Radio 702The winning entry [concerning the Jub Jub case] combined intense human emotion, brilliant sound, a flowing script and the story treatment varied from wraparound packages to live Q&As and voice reports. There was a new update every time the story was featured.
Regional Radio - FeatureMelini Moses & Busi Ntuli, SABC Radio NewsThe winners in this category made maximum use of the key ingredients that are needed for an interesting, gripping and powerful radio news feature [for their expose on the lacklustre performance of the SA Gender Commission]. The script was concise, the sound dynamic and the research excellent. The presentation was dynamic and catchy forcing the listener to stay tuned to the very end. The subject matter was tackled with conviction and confidence. The facts were made clear and the truth presented in a fair and balanced manner.
Regional Financial/EconomicLloyd Gedye, Mail & GuardianThe story [on the bread-fixing scandal] reveals the shenanigans and places that were used by the conspirators to plan strategies on how best to rob ordinary unsuspecting South African consumers. The writer has tried to establish the motive behind the multi-billion rand business empires which conspired against their very loyal customers. The bread price fixing scandal had a major impact on South Africa's economy in that, in the final analysis, it placed bread - a staple food for most poor communities - beyond their reach.
Regional ColumnistBabalwa Shota, City PressIn her weekly series of articles, our winner presents cameos which reflect the comical and the serious side of life. She laughs at herself as well as others, without crossing that critical line to unsavory humour. Her winning entry is a letter to the drug cocaine. Motivated by the "Jub Jub" saga, the writer reveals her own use of the substance and tells us how widespread the use of the drug is. She admonishes, she sympathises, and she issues a warning. She is funny; she is serious. The result is a well-written, well-rounded piece which captures the essence of life.
Regional PhotographyJennifer Bruce, The StarPrior to the launching of the Bus Rapid Transit System, taxi drivers threatened to disrupt it and the Security Forces were then called in to raid the notorious Nancefield Hostel. In these pictures we witness the mood and the tension captured by the winner.
Regional CartoonistWilson Mgobhozi, The StarDuring the opening of the rugby match between South Africa and France, a South African Rastafarian based in France sang Nkosi Sikelela out of tune. The cartoonist illustrates the feeling of the Springboks.
Regional SportElijah Moholola, City PressGood journalists not only cover stories that are glaring to the eye but those which require a multitude of skills and boundless energy in bringing them to the fore. The journalist had found out that an unusually high number of sportsmen were departing from what was their regular place of training. It was necessary to get the story behind the story [for his piece titled "Durandt Punches Back"]. And so the journalist successfully set out to pin down the central figure in the exodus. The individual does not generally agree to interviews but the journalist, through his persistence, got his way. Balance and fair reporting drove the journalist to acquire the views of a number of the departing stars. The manner in which he compiled all the facts gave readers clear insight into what had transpired.
Regional Community MediaPaddy Hartegen, Watt Now[For his piece on the shortage of engineers in South Africa.] It takes a skilled journalist to take a complex subject and decode it for the reader. If the journalist achieves that in a manner that is not too obvious, it is a bonus which is one of the treasured tools in his toolbox.
Regional Online MediaLivhuwani Mammburu, Times LiveThis winning entry makes for riveting reading and viewing as the journalist tackles the thorny issue of mining and its effect on the environment. Multimedia tools are employed to great effect to bring home the negative impact mining has had on various rural communities, underground water and farming in parts of the Mpumalanga province.
Regional Editor's ChoiceJinine Botha, Randfontein HeraldThis is what Jinine's editor said in her nomination: "From the start of her career Jinine has shown an unwavering dedication for exposing injustices and mismanagement of local authorities. However, a story is never too trivial for Jinine and she would just as easily write extensive reports on the property rates act as she would about a small boy suffering from cancer. She regularly works overtime to improve not just her writing ability, but to complete extra research for her articles. At a small community newspaper she is definitely not just a pleasure to have in the office but a reliable, trustworthy and ethical journalist dedicated to community concerns. She is a valuable asset and is sure to make a huge impact in the future."

Central region winners

CategoryWinnerJudges' comment
Regional Television - General NewsNo winner
Regional Television - FeatureCharlene and Eddie Stanley,'s 3rd Degree TurfInsightful feature on the life of Bangladeshi shopkeepers trying to survive in Bloemfontein and the animosity of the local shop owners, giving us another insight into the rise of xenophobia in South Africa.
Regional Print - General NewsVicus Burger, VolksbladThis leading report focused on the shocking and savage attack on five family members, of whom two were in wheel chairs, by a gang of six men in Jagersfontein.
Regional Print - FeatureEarl Coetzee, VolksbladThis winner was selected for his well-researched and disturbing feature on human, drug and sex trafficking in Bloemfontein and the role that Nigerians play in orchestrating this...
Regional Radio - General NewsTeboho Letshaba, SABCThe judges awarded this entrant the prize for his excellent report on the tragic event at Welkom Gymnasium High School where two teachers, Johan Liebenberg and Jaco Stiglingh, were left dead after a heated argument.
Regional Radio - FeatureTeboho Letshaba, SABCThis thought-provoking feature brought to the fire the plight of sex workers in Bloemfontein a few months before the 2010 FIFA World Cup and in which we got to know the secret world of prostitution, human trafficking and drug smuggling.
Regional Financial/EconomicVida Booysen, Sake 24The recession hit businesses, especially private enterprises, hard but some put extra effort in to complement their passions and dreams for a better financial future. Vida Booysen was recognised for her account of the entrepreneurial skills of a Bloemfontein black businesswoman manufacturing name boards and advertising material.
Regional ColumnistGert Coetzee, VolksbladGert Coetzee wins this category for the insightful column and sadly ironic implications of the murder of the AWB Leader, Eugene Terre' Blanche, earlier this year.
Regional PhotographyCharl Devenish, VolksbladThe judges selected this as the winning entry for the technically proficient and artistic body of work on the military commemorating a decade of South African engagement, in peace missions at a parade attended by President Jacob Zuma in Bloemfontein in October last year.
Regional CartoonistNo winner
Regional SportJóhann Thormählen, VolksbladThis well-presented and well-rounded feature on a stalwart of Free State rugby who played his 100th game for the province at the age of 26, namely Wian du Preez.
Regional Community MediaCharne Kemp, freelancing for the Kalahari BulletinHer quality report on the outrage of residents in Bathloras, who marched to the Ga-Segonyana municipal buildings in the Northern Cape to protest against their living without electricity, water, roads and proper sanitation for over four years, caught the judges' attention.
Regional Online MediaLeanne Nel, Radio OFMThis journalist set out to arouse interest in the 2010 FIFA World Cup among the rugby-mad listenership. She is the winner in this category for producing racy, captivating high quality sound bites on relevant hot topics to enthuse listeners ahead of the tournament.
Regional Editor's ChoiceVicus Burger, VolksbladVodacom is proud to announce an editor's choice winner in the Central Region this year, for consistent quality reporting, commitment and potential shown by the candidate.

The Vodacom Journalist of The Year, now in its ninth year, strives to honour the very best journalism talent that South Africa has to offer. The awards salute the very best work across the entire spectrum of media disciplines. These range from broadcast news journalists, online bloggers and print journalists, who pull all the threads together in creating the tapestry that is the final story.

This year the associate sponsors are Budget Car Hire, Internet Express, JSE Ltd, Mango Airlines, Media Express, Nokia and Protea Hotels.

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