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After an entry period that lasted a month, and a rigorous judging process involving 13 judges, Vodacom is thrilled to announce the regional winners of the 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards.
The winners in the KwaZulu-Natal region tackled a variety of topics from corruption, land reform, the Consumer Protection Act and even the underworld of strip clubs. A notable winner in this region is Patricia McCracken, who won two different categories. Patricia won the financial/economic category as well as the consumer category for the KwaZulu-Natal region.
Overall, the judges were very impressed with the quality of the work submitted by the regions. The winning journalists put intelligent thought into their stories and spent time researching and thoroughly analysing their work.
Convenor of the judges for the Awards, Advocate Robin Sewlal commented, "The competition provides a wonderful opportunity for journalists to be duly recognised for their commitment to quality journalism. In this, the 10th year of the contest, we've received an incredible number of entries where the work displays tremendous dynamism and depth. The robust debates during the adjudication process ensured that only top-of-the-drawer entries were rewarded. On the behalf of the panel of judges, I thank those who entered and offer heartiest congratulations to the winners in each of the categories. You've done yourself and the country proud."
The citations and winners of the 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards in the KwaZulu-Natal region are:
2011 Columnist winner
Devi Sankaree Govender, Avusa, Sunday Times Extra, Strip Clubs.
No one can fully explain the intrigue of life. It (life) has a way of putting you where you might have sworn you would not go, hence the expression: ‘Never say Never'! The writer of the winning piece - evidently someone of exemplary morals and good standing - found herself with little choice but to go to a place she least imagined she would ever attend in her life, a strip club. But duty called and she answered! There, she was amazed to see the profile of the patronage - mostly men of course - enjoying the sight of starkly naked women.
The winner is Devi Sankaree Govender of Avusa, Sunday Times Extra for the piece ‘Strip Clubs'.
2011 Community Media winner
2011 Consumer Journalism winner
Patricia McCracken, McCracken Media, various publications, Consumer Protection Act.
Our winner this year presents a body of work explaining the very important Consumer Protection Act. This journalist followed the Act from the time it was first drafted in 2001. By the time it came into effect, she was well versed in its detail. Using various platforms, aimed at different types and levels of readers, she simplifies the Act, bringing out the salient parts for her readers to take on board.
For her series of articles in Bona, Farmer's Weekly and Essentials Magazine, the winner is Patricia McCracken of McCracken Media.
2011 Financial/economic winner
Patricia McCracken, McCracken Media, Farmer's Weekly, A white Zulu on land reform mess.
The mark of a true entrepreneur usually manifests itself in the most bizarre circumstances, where often the choice is either to become creative enough in order to come up with something that would sustain you, or to perish. The story of South Africa's land reform programme does not always make for good reading, with the reality suggesting there are more failures than there are successes.
However, there is one successful case study in the midlands of KwaZulu-Natal. Writing the story, the author conducted extensive research on the project, making comparisons with other similar programmes. Evidently the objective was to educate others who might be faced with similar situations.
The winner is Patricia McCracken of McCracken Media for Farmers Weekly for her entry ‘A white Zulu on land reform mess'.
2011 Online Journalism winner
2011 Photography winner
Sandile Ndlovu, Independent News, The Mercury, Diwali.
Photography is drawing with light. When a photographer masters this tricky relationship between drawing and light the results are stunning.
The winner is Sandile Ndlovu of Independent News, The Mercury for ‘Diwali'.
2011 Print: Feature winner
Niren Tolsi, Mail & Guardian Newspaper, Body of work: On the other side of mountain; Fear and loathing in Obamaland; The cup ran over, now for the hangover.
Afro-American author-poet Maya Angelou once said, "Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning." In the same vein, the writer behind this entry uses text to beautifully weave a tapestry of prose full of texture and imagery. The series of features is gritty and has been masterfully crafted to infuse wonderment in the power of words.
The winner is Niren Tolsi of Mail & Guardian Newspaper for his body of work, ‘On the other side of mountain; Fear and loathing in Obamaland; The cup ran over, now for the hangover'.
2011 Print: General News winner
Colleen Dardagan, Independent News, Mercury Newspaper, ‘Mlaba and the tender hijack'.
This is the story of eThekwini mayor Obed Mlaba's link to a suspected R3bn council tender that was first awarded to another businessman. Every possible angle to the story was covered and all sides cast under the spotlight.
The winner is Colleen Dardagan of Independent News, Mercury Newspaper for her piece ‘Mlaba and the tender hijack'.
2011 Radio: Feature winners
Anisa Ussuph, East Coast Radio, General on air, 150 years: Reliving the legacy.
This entry grabbed the attention of the listener simply because the reporters adhered to the basics of good radio feature story telling. The research was powerful, the use of sound precise, the story script concise and the entire package entertaining and informative. The entry told of the 150th celebrations of the arrival of the Indians to KZN.
The winner is Anisa Ussuph of East Coast Radio for the entry ‘150 years: Reliving the legacy'.
2011 Radio: General News winner
Ellie Makhosini, SABC, radio news, IFP Youth Brigade Conference.
It takes courage and skill for a journalist to enter a politically tense arena and then report on the matter without fear. Our winner showed that the radio journalist is compelled to be at the scene, capture the truth as it unfolds and then tells the story in a balanced and fair manner. The winner entry focused on the uncut proceedings at the intense IFP Youth Brigade elective conference that left the listener with enough information as to how the elections unfold and what the greater political ramifications are in the mother party.
The winner is Ellie Makhosini of SABC, radio news for IFP Youth Brigade Conference.
2011 Sport winner
Feroz Shaik, Lotus FM, History of non racial football.
The sport of football suffered enormously during the difficult days of apartheid. The state allowed one's unbridled enthusiasm and participation to flourish provided it was only played within one's own racial group. In the build-up to the 2010 Football World Cup, the journalist took a look at the first non racial professional league established in South Africa in the early 1960's. The package is peppered with interesting interviews conducted with men who excelled in football. They speak glowingly of the sport they loved but with a tinge of sadness in terms of the conditions under which it was played.
For his compelling documentary on the ‘History of Non Racial Football', the winner in the Sport category is Lotus FM's Feroz Shaik.
2011 Television: Feature winner
Nicky Troll, Health-e News Services for 3rd Degree eTV, Peddling poison.
Julia Laurenz, Health-e News Services for 3rd Degree eTV, Peddling poison.
This piece graphically documents the reality of a relatively new substance smoked as an escape from desperate lives. The producers are to be commended on excellent access to a wide range of interviewees, spelling out the whole process from manufacturing to buying and using, with the resulting devastating social consequences.
The winners are Nicky Troll and Julie Laurenz for Health-e News Services for 3rd Degree eTV, for their entry ‘Peddling poison'.
2011 Television: General News winners
Paula Chowles, eTV, eNews prime time, Long walk to treatment.
Thuthuka Zondi, eTV, eNews prime time, Long walk to treatment.
These journalists went out of town to the forgotten places and to the forgotten people. The piece highlights the complexity of social problems in South African society by connecting two issues not usually linked. Though ARVs are now available in remote areas, if there is no transport to the clinic, it makes little difference.
The winners are Paula Chowles and Thuthuka Zondi of eTV, eNews prime time for their piece, ‘Long walk to treatment'.
2011 Editors Choice winner
2011 Cartoonist winner
Anthony Stidolph, The Witness, Stidy.
A well crafted cartoon which relates the relevant news as it unfolds need not be hard to understand. Here the artist takes us on a journey of what our leaders are up to.
The winner is Anthony Stidolph of The Witness for his entry ‘Stidy'.
The judges for the 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards included, Advocate Robin Sewlal (Convenor), Maud Motanyane (Co-convenor), Ruda Landman, Professor Johann de Wet, Mary Papayya, Victor Matom, Dr Melanie Chait, Arthur (ZB) Molefe, Colin Nxumalo, Leonard Maseko, Tim Modise, Arthur Goldstuck and Max du Preez.
The regional winners were each awarded with R7500 and also stand a chance of being crowned the national winner of the 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards at the national awards ceremony to be held on 4 November 2011 in Johannesburg.
The overall 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards national winner will walk away with R125 000 in prize money, as well as being given the opportunity to donate an additional R125 000 to an official charity of his or her choosing.