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Women dominate in Profile Awards for science and technology journalism

Women dominated the top five positions in the 14th Profile Awards for science and technology journalism, announced at Wits University on Thursday 11 September 2014.
The winner was Katharine Child, followed by Elsabé Brits, Sarah Wild, Tamar Kahn and John Yeld. Fifteen reporters receive special commendation from the judges.

Siemens supports the science journalism event, organised by the SA National Editors Forum, Department of Science & Technology, Wits and the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).


The judging panel included:
    • Tendani Tsedu, media relations manager at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
    • Wits journalism Professor Anton Harber
    • Rhodes journalism Professor Harry Dugmore
    • Stellenbosch University journalism Professor George Claassen
    • University of Johannesburg Dean of Engineering Saurabh Sinha
    • Media trainer and former Editor Paula Fray
    • Director of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism, Michael Schmidt, as convenor of judges


Child, a journalist at The Times, had judges praising the way she 'tackles quackery' and helps audiences to see the difference between real science and pseudo-science. Judges noted that Child had a particularly difficult task writing for a younger audience for a paper, which produces shorter, 'spicier' stories.

The four runners up were Brits from Die Burger, Wild from the Mail & Guardian, Kahn from Business Day and Yeld from the Cape Argus.

First runner-up Brits was praised for her grasp of science writing principles, 'avoiding jargon, excellent storytelling, captivating her audience and explaining science in a simple way without dumbing it down'.

"We must especially mention her initiative to go outside the normal boundaries of science writing by going into the laboratory, operating theatre and where scientists work," the judges said.

Second runner-up Kahn 'brings science alive to its target audience,' the judges said, 'presenting it with clear story-telling and science explanation.'

Siemens Executive Director Clifford Klaas commended the high standard of entries into the Profile Awards. "Science and technology journalism is essential to building public understanding of issues critical to the development of South Africa, including engineering, energy, agriculture, water supply, environment and healthcare."

Special commendations

A further 15 reporters received special commendations from the judges:
    • Allen Versfeld -
    • Amy Green (with Ina Skosana) - Mail & Guardian
    • Andy Walker -
    • Anina Mumm (and her producer)- and Wits Radio Academy
    • Engela Duvenhage -
    • Irma Venter - Engineering News
    • Lali van Zuydam
    • Maina Waruru -
    • Matthew Edwards - CNBC Africa
    • Nontobeko Sibisi - e-News Channel Africa
    • Sean Woods - Popular Mechanics
    • Stuart Buchanan -
    • Wilma Stassen - Dispatch
    • Yusuf Omar - e-News Channel Africa
This year saw significant changes to the Profile Awards programme, with nominations opened up to the public for the first time, and a skills development and training initiative launched in tandem with the Student Profile Awards, currently open for submissions.

For more information, go to
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