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Data journalism shines

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The online category of the Northern regional winners of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards brought data journalism to the fore.

Data journalism shone in the online category of the the Northern regional awards for the 2017 edition of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year, announced this week.

Journalists were recognised in 12 categories for outstanding work, with this year’s theme, “Your Word”, promoting the integrity of journalism across all media. This year’s competition drew over 1 000 entries from all over the country, including 397 entries from the Northern region.

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: The entries across the 12 categories were excellent this year. Our criteria for judging is to look for entries that could possibly make the cut for the national finals, and the overall prize of R100 000 for the journalist of the year award. We were overwhelmed by the number and the quality of entries from the Northern Region, particularly for the Print News and Online categories, where the judges made several commendations for outstanding work over and above the regional category winners.”

Winners in the Regional categories each took home R5 000, with the exception of the Young Journalist of the Year regional finalist, who received a certificate. All the regional winners go through to the national awards in Johannesburg on 16 November 2017.

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group, said: “We are delighted to announce the Northern regional winners in Johannesburg for the 2017 Awards, which honour journalists from around the country by recognising their best work from the past year. We look forward to welcoming them at the national finals. I would also like to pay tribute to the judges, who year after year provide their expertise and knowledge in the adjudication of these prestigious awards, thereby ensuring the integrity of the process. Thanks go to Ryland Fisher, Mary Papayya, Arthur Goldstuck, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Nikiwe Bikitsha, Megan Rusi,  Mathatha Tshedu, Albe Grobbelaar and Obed Zilwa.”

The judges gave the following citations for the winners of the 2017 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Regional Awards in the Northern region:

2017 Online

Among a rich field of Online entries, the judges want to commend both the mobile journalism by Thomas Holder on the Knysna fires for Eyewitness News and the infusion of human interest by the Health-e News team into their online feature, “Matriarchs of Mthatha” for Al Jazeera. The winning Online entry in the Northern region made the most of the data journalism possibilities offered by investigative analytics in the online medium. Excellent use of graphics, maps and hyperlinks helped to make this an exemplary piece of digital journalism that exposed a widespread threat generally overlooked by the media. Our regional winners are: Laura Grant and Alastair Otter freelancing for Passmark and Times Live for “Hidden danger: asbestos in Gauteng’s schools”.

2017 Radio News

Hundreds of Radio News stories are broadcast every day in South Africa. Many are run-of-the-mill reports that simply convey information. But sometimes a radio news reporter succeeds in really producing a news story that grabs the listener’s attention in a unique way. For a report on the dangers of WhatsApp voice notes in life-threatening situations, the regional winner is:  Hanri Wondergem and Hendrik Martin of SABC RSG for “WhatsApp-paniek”.

2017 Radio Feature

The Northern Region, which includes Gauteng, always has the largest number of entries and this year the quality of entries for the Radio Feature category was also very high. Ultimately, the regional award went to a brilliant piece of radio work on which the winner had worked for a very long time. For telling the story of an innocent man who spent 17 years in jail, the regional winner is: Paul McNally with John Bartmann, Kutlwano Serame and Freddy Mabitsela of Citizen Justice Network for SAfm for the eight-part series, “Alibi”.

2017 Sport

The Sport category was highly contested in this region with a great deal of creativity and expert knowledge evident. But one entrant stood out. For determination and the creative and very innovative approach to expanding the audience base, the worthy regional winners are: Simon Stephens and Khumo Pulumo of eNCA for his Mixed Martial Arts column, The Clinch.

2017 Sustainability

In a country wracked by drought and a province driven by industrialisation, there were several strong contenders in the CSI/Sustainability category who examined the viability and availability of our natural resources. The top entry combined facts, figures and an intensity of investigation that provoked harassment, attempted bribes and death threats. For revealing allegations of how even water supplies in this region and beyond were vulnerable to corruption and capture, our regional winner is: Sipho Masondo of City Press for “Watergate”.

2017 Print News

The Print News entries in this region were so strong this year that the judges want to commend: Suzanne Venter’s series of articles on mentally ill patients; Thomas Nkosi’s expose on the Speaker of the Mpumalanga legislature; Abram Mashego’s articles on Pravin Gordhan being threatened with arrest; Charl Blignaut’s articles on Hlaudi Motsoeneng; Susan Comrie’s articles on the ANC War Room; Sabelo Skiti’s expose on SAA’s money woes; and Genevieve Quintal’s articles about Bathabile Dlamini and Sassa. However, the winners were indisputably: for the “State capture” series, the Tiso Blackstar team of Graeme Hosken, Thanduxolo Jika, Kyle Cowan, Sikonathi Mantshantsha, Qaanitah Hunter, Sabelo Skiti, Hanna Ziady and Genevieve Quintal.

2017 Print Feature

The Print Feature category was heavily contested by entries displaying all the techniques of superb feature writing and reflecting issues gripping the Northern region. The judges want to commend Charl Blignaut of City Press for his artistic analysis of the melee around making the film Kalushi, about the life of Solomon Mahlangu. The winning entry took on the daunting task of opening to readers the doors of Gauteng’s mortuaries in a two-year-long attempt to unravel the escalating crisis of unidentified corpses. The regional winners are: Sarah Wild and Kristen van Schie of the Mail & Guardian for “Gauteng’s unidentified dead”.

2017 Financial/Economic

The specialist Financial and Economic category attracted a trove of entries in this region and it was good to see several new faces among the frontrunners this year. In this highly contested category, the judges want to commend the challenging expose of Discovery by Rob Rose and Katharine Child of the Financial Mail. The regional winner exposed broken corporate promises to those who, as a result, face becoming the poorest of the poor. The winner is: Lesetja Malope of City Press for “Broken promises from Anglo Gold signal darker days ahead.”

Photography

Photographers use their cameras as a tool of expression to tell stories that demand our attention and can change how we see our world. We want to commend a moving photographic essay depicting the strength of will driving a 37kg bodybuilder with sickle-cell anaemia to compete onstage. Just edging past this to win the regional award was a photographic report that took us to the forefront of violent action and student protest yet retained full technical control in the midst of the anger and frustrations. The same photographer captured both these very different emotional journeys. The regional winner is: Alon Skuy of The Times for “Fees must fall”.

2017 Television News

Protests that unfolded across South Africa during 2016 reminded many of scenes during apartheid. This time, though, the protestors were the Born Frees who pursued their dream of free education in what became running battles with police and authorities. The best TV news coverage gave the audience a sense of the immediacy, scope and intensity of what was happening on the ground. The regional winners are: Malungelo Booi, Lirandzu Themba, Mlingane Dude and Thuthuka Zondi of eNCA for “South Africa’s fees crisis”.

2017 Television Feature

Journalism can influence awareness of what is happening in our country and drive public discourse. Months of investigation resulted in a series of reports that were thoroughly researched, poignantly told, well shot and edited – and exposed conditions contributing to the death of one of the subjects. This impactful reporting was subsequently even used during the official investigation. The regional winners are: Kyla Hermannsen, Shamiel Albertyn, Ashley Market, Tshepo Dhlamini and Tshidi Lechuba of eNCA’s Checkpoint for “Life Esidimeni”.

Young Journalist Award

The winner in the region gets a certificate and goes through to the national round to compete for the overall prize. The overall award provides an opportunity to fast track a young journalist’s professional and personal development through an all-expenses paid overseas trip that includes a visit to the renowned Thomson Foundation, as well as the opportunity to work in a newsroom. To enter this category, the journalist should have worked in the media for up to, but not more than three years, and be able to demonstrate their potential through their entries. The winner is Sebe Buthelezi from Etv/ENCA.

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Opera launches built-in VPN on Android browser

Opera has released a new version of its mobile browser, which features a built-in virtual private network service.

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Opera has released a new version of its mobile browser, Opera for Android 51, which features a built-in VPN (virtual private network) service.

A VPN allows users to create a secure connection to a public network, and is particularly useful if users are unsure of the security levels of the public networks that they use often.

The new VPN in Opera for Android 51 is free, unlimited and easy to use. When enabled, it gives users greater control of their online privacy and improves online security, especially when connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots such as coffee shops, airports and hotels. The VPN will encrypt Internet traffic into and out of their mobile devices, which reduces the risk of malicious third parties collecting sensitive information.

“There are already more than 650 million people using VPN services globally. With Opera, any Android user can now enjoy a free and no-log service that enhances online privacy and improves security,” said Peter Wallman, SVP Opera Browser for Android.

When users enable the VPN included in Opera for Android 51, they create a private and encrypted connection between their mobile device and a remote VPN server, using strong 256-bit encryption algorithms. When enabled, the VPN hides the user’s physical location, making it difficult to track their activities on the internet.

The browser VPN service is also a no-log service, which means that the VPN servers do not log and retain any activity data, all to protect users privacy.

“Users are exposed to so many security risks when they connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots without a VPN,” said Wallman. “Enabling Opera VPN means that users makes it difficult for third parties to steal information, and users can avoid being tracked. Users no longer need to question if or how they can protect their personal information in these situations.”

According to a report by the Global World Index in 2018, the use of VPNs on mobile devices is rising. More than 42 percent of VPN users on mobile devices use VPN on a daily basis, and 35 percent of VPN users on computers use VPN daily.

The report also shows that South African VPN users said that their main reason for using a VPN service is to remain anonymous while they are online.

“Young people in particular are concerned about their online privacy as they increasingly live their lives online,” said Wallman. “Opera for Android 51 makes it easy to benefit from the security and anonymity of VPN , especially for those may not be aware of how to set these up.”

Setting up the Opera VPN is simple. Users just tap on the browser settings, go to VPN and enable the feature according to their preference. They can also select the region of their choice.

The built-in VPN is free, which means that users don’t need to download additional apps on their smartphones or pay additional fees as they would for other private VPN services. With no sign-in process, users don’t need to log in every time they want to use it.

Opera for Android is available for download in Google Play. The rollout of the new version of Opera for Android 51 will be done gradually per region.

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Future of the car is here

Three new cars, with vastly different price-tags, reveal the arrival of the future of wheels, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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Just a few months ago, it was easy to argue that the car of the future was still a long way off, at least in South Africa. But a series of recent car launches have brought the high-tech vehicle to the fore in startling ways.

The Jaguar i-Pace electric vehicle (EV), BMW 330i and the Datsun Go have little in common, aside from representing an almost complete spectrum of car prices on the local market. Their tags start, respectively, at R1.7-million, R650 000 and R150 000.

Such a widely disparate trio of vehicles do not exactly come together to point to the future. Rather, they represent different futures for different segments of the market. But they also reveal what we can expect to become standard in most vehicles produced in the 2020s.

Jaguar i-Pace

The i-Pace may be out of reach of most South Africans, but it ushers in two advances that will resonate throughout the EV market as it welcomes new and more affordable cars. It is the first electric vehicle in South Africa to beat the bugbear of range anxiety.

Unlike the pioneering “old” Nissan Leaf, which had a range of up to about 150km, and did not lend itself to long distance travel, the i-Pace has a 470km range, bringing it within shouting distance of fuel-powered vehicles. A trip from Johannesburg to Durban, for example, would need just one recharge along the way.

And that brings in the other major advance: the i-Pace is the first EV launched in South Africa together with a rapid public charging network on major routes. It also comes with a home charging kit, which means the end of filling up at petrol stations.

The Jaguar i-Pace dispels one further myth about EVs: that they don’t have much power under the hood. A test drive around Gauteng revealed not only a gutsy engine, but acceleration on a par with anything in its class, and enough horsepower to enhance the safety of almost any overtaking situation.

Specs for the Jaguar i-Pace include:

  • All-wheel drive
  • Twin motors with a combined 294kW and 696Nm
  • 0-100km/h in 4.8s
  • 90kWh Lithium-ion battery, delivering up to 470km range
  • Eight-year/160 000km battery warranty
  • Two-year/34 000km service intervals

Click here to read about BMW’s self-driving technology, and how Datsun makes smart technology affordable.

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