South Africa’s public allies and warriors for reporting the truth have been unveiled, as the regional finalists in the Vodacom Journalist of the Year competition are revealed for 2023.
More than 1300 entries were received nationally in 2023 across 12 categories. 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. 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 2023 theme for the awards is Authentic Information and Hybrid Content, at a time when journalists are challenged to rise above generative artificial intelligence (AI), and to push factual information.
“As journalists are employed to inform the public, it is crucial that the information they are sharing is truthful and authentic,” said Takalani Netshitenzhe, Vodacom South Africa’s Director of External Affairs. “The misuse of news reporting can lead to mistrust by the public. Vodacom is proud to play a role in encouraging journalists to bring important issues to light, in a manner that is factual and original. Congratulations to all of our regional finalists for their efforts.”
The 2023 VJOY judging panel was convened by Mapi Mhlangu, with Neo Ntsoma joining the panel to assist with the photography category. Vodacom extended its thanks to stalwart judges Jermaine Craig, Ryland Fisher, Arthur Goldstuck, Patricia McCracken, Professor Gilbert Motsaathebe, Collin Nxumalo, Jovial Rantao, Elna Rossouw, Advocate Robin Sewlal and Obed Zilwa.
The Awards have once again showcased the incredible talent and dedication of South African journalists. “This region continues to benefit from whistle-blowers, who play a crucial role in exposing corruption within various sectors of both the government and private entities,” the judges said. The province has consistently shed light on the influence exerted by the construction mafia and this year was no exception. “Apart from the persistent threat to national security, entries originating from this province also shed light on organised crime and unresolved cases. Entries raised awareness about the pressing issues of climate change and environmental challenges. The exceptional journalism produced in this region exemplifies why we should continue to celebrate and honour the country's journalistic endeavours.”
The regional winners are:
The national awards ceremony takes place in Johannesburg on Thursday, 30 November.