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Vodacom Journalist of the Year announces the 2023 regional winners for Gauteng

Friday, 17 November 2023

17 November 2023 – 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.

Gauteng had 500 submissions, the highest number of entries, with prevalent topics being Johannesburg’s Bree Street explosion, the impact of load shedding, and issues regarding national security. "We received impressive work on the fight against corruption, including exclusive investigations that covered a wide range of individuals involved in combating corruption. We would like to express our special gratitude to media owners, philanthropic founders, and those who continue to support quality journalism by paying for it. The exceptional journalism produced in this region exemplifies why we should continue to celebrate and honour the country's journalistic endeavours," the judges said.

The regional winners are:

  • Live reporting/breaking news – Joint winners, Ziyanda Ngcobo,  with contributors Linda Mnisi, Karinda Jagmohan, Natalie Malgas, Mweli Masilela from Newzroom Afrika for "King Misuzulu Coronation Live Coverage", and Kgomotso Modise from Eyewitness News for "The recapture of Thabo Bester and Nandipha Magudumana"
  • Investigative – Jeff Wicks from News24 for ‘Silenced - Why Babita Deokaran was murdered".
  • Opinion – Zongile Nhlapo from Eyewitness News for "Motherhood isn't defined by my 'non-verbal son calling me mom’".
  • Lifestyle –  Zukiswa Cetywayo and team of Newzroom Afrika for "Tembisa Drug Rehabilitation Movement steps up efforts".
  • Features – Mbasa Khwaza and contributors Tshepo Dhlamini, Sindisiwe Mpahlwa and Tshidiso Lechuba from eNCA Checkpoint for "Ulwaluko".
  • Photography – Elizabeth Sejake from Rapport for "The Calling to Restore: Embracing the ancestral calling".
  • Sport – Njabulo Ngidi from AmaBhungane for "2010 World Cup $10m ‘bribe: South Africa left out even as $201m returned to Fifa".
  • Financial and Economics – William Horne from Netwerk24 for dual entry: "200 dae van beurtkrag: Donker prentjie word al donkerde" and Eskom: "Dis hoekom De Ruyter se projek vir instandhoudeing misluk".
  • Politics – Harri Vithi and team from Carte Blanche for "Of Parties and Puppets"
  • Sustainability – Laura Grant and team Paul Botes, Tanya Pampalone, Leonie Joubert, Gemma Gatticchi, Gemma Ritchie, Ciaran Otter, Alastair Otter and Steve Kretzmann from Media Hack for "A Perfect Storm.
  • Innovation in journalism – Joint winners Kgomotso Modise from Eyewitness News for his deft combination of Twitter Spaces, podcasts and broadcast to cover the Meyiwa Trial and Johannes Steyn from MyBroadband for a vast and in-depth investigation into "South Africa’s biggest-ever mobile network quality testing".
  • Young Journalist of the Year Award – Kamogelo Motecwane from Soccer Laduma.

The national awards ceremony takes place in Johannesburg on Thursday, 30 November.

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