The country’s top journalists can start sharpening their pens and checking their archives for their best work from the past year, as entries for the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards (VJOY) open on 1 September.
Takalani Netshitenzhe, Director for External Affairs at Vodacom South Africa, said the company looked forward to the 22nd iteration of the event, a highlight on the calendar for newsrooms around the country.
“I am grateful to our judging panel, led once again by Convener Mapi Mhlangu, for their time, the attention and careful consideration they will devote as they apply their minds as to who our country’s finest journalists, photographers and video-journalists are.”
Convenor, Mapi Mhlangu said, “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.”
“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,” said Netshitenzhe.
The esteemed panel of judges remains the same as last year with the exception of Neo Ntsoma who joined the judging panel to assist with the photography category. Other judges asked to weigh up the hundreds of entries are: Jermaine Craig, Ryland Fisher, Arthur Goldstuck, Patricia McCracken, Professor Gilbert Motsaathebe, Collin Nxumalo, Jovial Rantao, Elna Rossouw, Advocate Robin Sewlal and Obed Zilwa.
The 12 categories make provision for journalists from any and all beats to enter their best work, across Live Reporting and Breaking News; Investigative; Opinion; Lifestyle; Features; Photography; Sport; Financial & Economics; Politics; Sustainability, Innovation in Journalism and the Young Journalist of the Year Award.
Finalists will be chosen from five regions to then compete at the national finals in November. The five regions are as follows:
o Region A: Gauteng
o Region B: Free State, Northern Cape, Northwest and Limpopo
o Region C: KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga
o Region D: Western Cape
o Region E: Eastern Cape
For more information on category descriptions and requirements, visit www.journalist.vodacom.co.za
Journalists should enter their finest work produced between 01 August 2022 and 31 July 2023, submitted online at www.journalist.vodacom.co.za between 01 September and midnight on Friday 15 September 2023.
No late entries will be accepted.
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 prize money is shared in the case of joint winners, or if more than one journalist contributed to a story. The VJOYs also names a Lifetime Achiever each year.