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Queens of the green journalists

Monica Graaff, an environmental journalist working for Mind Shift, has won the 2008 SAB Environmentalist and Environmental Journalism Award in the print and internet category, while Sandra Herrington emerged victorious in the broadcast category for her documentary ‘Sustainable Options for the Wild Coast', aired on SABC2's 50/50. The presentation of these awards took place earlier this week at the Johannesburg Country Club in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.
Sandra Herrington, SAB Environmental Journalist in the broadcast category, and Monica Graaff, SAB Environmental Journalist in the print & Internet category. Picture by Lettie Ferreira.
Johan Joubert, second from left, accepts the Nick Steele Memorial Award for Environmentalist of the Year on behalf of Adrian Gardiner, owner of Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape. With him is Steve Bluen (SAB director for corporate affairs and HR), Miss Earth South Africa 2008 Matapa Maila and judge Dr Ian Player. Picture by Lettie Ferreira.
Tony Carnie of The Mercury receives a merit award in the SAB Environmental Journalist print & Internet category. With him is Janine van Stolk (SAB communications manager) and Miss Earth South Africa 2008 Matapa Maila. Picture by Lettie Ferreira.
According to the panel of judges chaired by Dr Ian Player, Graaff - the editor of Mind Shift - excelled because her articles presented many challenges for the business world, examining the politics, economics and technology involved in meeting environmental challenges.

Mind Shift is printed on top quality recycled paper and is partly sponsored by the University of Cape Town's School of Business.

Herrington's outstanding work for SABC2's 50/50 caught the judges' attention due to its fairness and balance and its focus on the sustainability and involvement of the community, while steering away from any unnecessary sensationalism.

Herrington previously won two SAB Environmental Journalism awards in the electronic category in 1993 and 1999. Print media and broadcast's past winners include Russel Molefe with the Sowetan (1999 and 2001) and Elise Tempelhoff with Beeld (2005), and Annelise Burgess with SABC's Special Assignment (2005), respectively.

Honoured alongside them on Wednesday, 8 October 2008, was Adrian Gardiner, owner of Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, who took home the Nick Steele Memorial Award for creating jobs, rejuvenating the region and helping increase the flow of foreign currency through tourism in that area.

The following journalists were declared merit winners in the print and internet category: Lesley Andrews (Property Magazine), Leonie Joubert (freelance), Tony Carnie (The Mercury), Michelle Nel (freelance), Brindaveni Naidoo (Mining Weekly) and Anthea Torr (Biophile).

Mayshree Bhim (Radio 2000, The G-Net Show), Karl Ammann (M-Net's Carte Blanche, the Bangui Connection), and Julie Laurenz and Nicolene Troll (M-Net's Carte Blanche, River Jeopardy) emerged as merit winners in the broadcast category.

Mariette Liefferink, CEO of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE), praised environmental journalists for what she called a critical contribution in protecting the environment. She told Bizcommunity.com:

“I am really grateful to environment journalists for helping us a lot by giving us a public voice.

“Without them, the earth will fall apart because it is mute and cannot speak. The monitoring and management of the environment in SA has been cheaply outsourced by government to NGOs and civil society groups. But the news media have stepped in by creating public awareness, so it is great to see them rewarded for their tireless efforts.”

She added, “We are entitled in terms of section 31 of the National Environmental Management Act No 104 of 1998 to disclose truthfully and honestly to the news media all damages made to environment without fear of prosecution.”

About Issa Sikiti da Silva

Issa Sikiti da Silva is a winner of the 2010 SADC Media Awards (print category). He freelances for various media outlets, local and foreign, and has travelled extensively across Africa. His work has been published both in French and English. He used to contribute to Bizcommunity.com as a senior news writer.
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