Media News South Africa

Get ready for the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards 2023

Entries for the 22nd Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards (VJOY) open on 1 September.
Source: © 123rf  Entries for the 22nd Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards (VJOY) open on 1 September
Source: © 123rf 123rf Entries for the 22nd Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards (VJOY) open on 1 September

Journalists have 12 categories to select from in five regions. A maximum of two entries per category will be accepted from one individual.

Journalists can enter work produced between 1 August 2022 and 31 July 2023, to be submitted online from 1 September at Vodacom (note that the website only opens on that date) to midnight on Friday 15 September 2023. No late entries will be accepted.

Finalists will be chosen from five regions to then compete at the national finals in November.

Regional category winners receive R5,000, national category winners, R10,000, and the overall Vodacom Journalist of the Year winner an impressive R100, 000. The prize money is shared in the case of joint winners, or if more than one journalist contributed to a story.

The 12 categories are:

  • Reporting and breaking news
  • Investigative
  • Opinion
  • Lifestyle
  • Features
  • Photography
  • Sport
  • Financial & Economics
  • Politics
  • Sustainability
  • Innovation in Journalism
  • The Young Journalist of the Year Award

The five regions are:

  • Region A: Gauteng
  • Region B: Free State, Northern Cape, Northwest and Limpopo
  • Region C: KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga
  • Region D: Western Cape
  • Region E: Eastern Cape

Recognising rising stars

The Young Journalist of the Year Award recognises the efforts of the rising stars in newsrooms across the regions. In support of developing journalism in South Africa, Vodacom funds the winner of the Young Journalist award on an all-expenses paid course in an effort to assist in upskilling young talent.

Entrants must have worked in journalism for three years or less and already be demonstrating great future potential as a journalist. Entrants must submit a body of outstanding work (not more than three stories, including proof of publication/broadcast) together with a strong motivation showing commitment to the vocation of news well above the norm – this motivation is a critical component of the judging process.

Lifetime Achiever

The VJOY also names a Lifetime Achiever each year. Decided by the judges, based on their assessment of a person who has made an invaluable contribution to the industry over many years., this is the only category where nominations are not actively sought from others in the industry. There is no financial prize associated with this prestigious award.

Journalism a responsibility to society

This year’s judging panel convener, Mapi Mhlangu, says that journalism is not just a profession; it is a responsibility towards society.

“These awards provide journalists with an opportunity to take a moment to reflect on their best work, the stories that have truly served the core role of journalism in our society. Let us continue to strive for excellence and ensure that our work stands as a beacon of truth and accountability for generations to come."

Takalani Netshitenzhe, director for external affairs at Vodacom South Africa, adds that it has become more crucial than ever to responsibly provide real and true stories to the public, recognising that every story is not just black and white, but nuanced and complex.

“At the core of our theme for 2023 is authentic information and hybrid content. A reminder of the increasingly important role journalists and factual information play in the modern-day society of generative content."

Judging panel

Neo Ntsoma joins the panel this year to assist with the photography category while the rest of the panel of judges remains the same as last year and includeJermaine Craig, Ryland Fisher, Arthur Goldstuck, Patricia McCracken, Professor Gilbert Motsaathebe, Collin Nxumalo, Jovial Rantao, Elna Rossouw, Advocate Robin Sewlal and Obed Zilwa.

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