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Online journalism winner sets new benchmark



At the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards this weekend, the winner of the online category earned the highest praise.|At the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards this weekend, the winner of the online category earned the highest praise.

An investigation into South Africa’s growing role in the international heroin trade, by Susan Comrie of City Press, won the online category of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards over the weekend, for its exemplary use of the digital medium.

“The winner sets a new benchmark in the range of platforms that can be successfully combined in strong online journalism in South Africa,” the judges said of the feature, Pushing Heroin, which can be viewed at

The Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards celebrates what makes journalism great. The judges faced a tough job processing entries that were of a very high standard. This year there were 976 entries, an increase of 204 from 2015.

“The increase in numbers of entries this year was heartening,” said Mary Papayya, convenor of the judging panel. “We were presented with outstanding submissions and we are pleased that some of these came from smaller publications and online sites. Next year we hope to see even more entries from as wide a range of media platforms as possible

“We were very happy to see entries from all areas grow – and across all media. This year the Vodacom Awards welcomed an exciting new category, ‘Young Journalist’, which replaced the Editor’s Choice Award, and the judges were unanimous in their praise for the high quality of submissions in this category. Fifty young journalists entered their work. The overall quality and depth of entries bodes well for journalism in South Africa.”

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at Vodacom Group, said: “Once again, I 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.

“I would like to thank Mary Papayya, Arthur Goldstuck, Ryland Fisher, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Nikiwe Bikitsha, Peter McKenzie, Mathatha Tshedu, and Albe Grobbelaar for their service and wisdom.

“Communication is one of Vodacom’s core functions, and with increased connectivity and data speed, the link between connectivity and journalism, we are proud to say that Vodacom serves journalists in keeping track of breaking stories, and indeed breaking them.”


Group shot of the national winners at the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards 2016. Front row L – R: Piet Rampedi, (award accepted on behalf of Bongani Fuzile), Thanduxolo Jika, Zikhona Tshona, David Ritchie, Sameer Naik, Junia Stainbank and Muraga Mpaphuli. Second row L – R: Izak du Plessis, Qaanitah Hunter, Ntokozo Sindane, Sam Nzima, Takalani Netshitenzhe, Pontsho Pilane, Susan Comrie, Lisa Steyn and Julie Laurenz. Back row L – R: Matshwela Ngoveni, Hazel Friedman, Pieter Brewis and Sabelo Skiti.

Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award

The 2016 Overall National Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award goes to a journalist from the Western Region who displayed through his photography a nuanced and captivating montage of one of the biggest stories of the year. For his entry published in the Cape Argus, UCT Under Fire, David Ritchie wins R100 000 and the accolades that go with being the Vodacom Journalist of the Year.

Entries were received in 12 categories this year: CSI/Sustainability, Young Journalist, Financial/Economic, Online, Photography, Print Feature, Print News, Radio Feature, Radio News, Sport, Television Feature, and Television News.

The national winners in the various categories are as follows, with each winner taking home R10 000:

2016 Radio Feature

Courage, strength, seeking the truth, and the appetite for skillful storytelling defined the winner in this category at national level. This radio feature was exemplary in all aspects that make for a riveting radio feature – live sound, in-depth analysis, strong news value, and debate. The winner in this entry featured stories that brought to the fore the specialist skills that are needed for the genre of radio features. The winner is: Izak du Plessis, for SABC Current Affairs, RSG.

2016 Radio News

In a category that featured strong entries highlighting a range of socio-political and economic issues – it was clear that radio remains a powerful medium – with minute-by-minute breaking stories from the scene, and at the heart of the community. While on par with every medium when it came to highlighting the key stories that made the headlines, our winner added new angles, refreshing perspectives, and breaking story hooks in the ever-changing face of radio news. The winner is Nkululeko Nyembezi for his story about the court case and sentencing of the king of the Abathembu for SABC Radio News.

2016 TV Feature

This category was highly contested with 79 entries in the five regions. While a news story on television requires amongst other elements good footage, presentation, and story appeal – it is the overall package that determines its desired impact and result. Our winning entry highlights how the television journalist through sheer hard work can find exclusive angles to stories that have already made social media, print, and radio headlines. The winners are:  Matshwela Ngoveni for the Lily Mine Tragedy, and Ntokozo Sindane for Payola for Checkpoint at eNCA, and Hazel Friedman, Pieter Brewis, and Marc Mullenberg for Afterburn for SABC Special Assignment.

2016 TV News

This category attracted 52 entries throughout the country and the content was riveting. It was clear that those who pushed the limits when it came to telling a story added something extra to what was already known about the issues at hand. The winners brought us insights into all of the key stories that made the headlines and took us to the heart of the community behind the news. The winners are: Zikhona Tshona and Muraga Mpaphuli for eNCA.

2016 Print Feature

There were some very good news features this year, dealing with, among others, the local government elections and serious societal issues, such as rape and serial killing. But it was also a year in which there were several excellent features about prisons and prison conditions in various parts of the country. Our winner in the feature category goes to someone who went beyond the call of duty to expose serious corruption in the prisons system, where millions appeared to have been paid for non-existent security measures. The winner is: Bongani Fuzile for Maximum Insecurity in the Daily Dispatch.

2016 Print News

This category had more than 150 entries, many of which were high quality stories that informed the news agenda and debates in the country. They were as many as they were varied. This can be seen from the regional winners which ranged from stories that compared how media and society reacted to two gruesome virtually identical murders of young girls who were separated by class. There was also the body of work on medical shortages, great coverage about the killing fields of the Glebelands hostel, and the body of work around the coverage of a well-known business family’s alleged influence in the state. Lastly, there was the gruesome tale of a mutilator from Denmark. The winners are: Qaanitah Hunter, Thanduxolo Jika, Sabelo Skiti, Sibongakonke Shoba, and Piet Rampedi for State Capture for the Sunday Times.

2016 Photography

The national award is a vindication for the enduring ability of strong photography and dedicated photographers to represent, reflect, interpret, hold reality up to scrutiny, the moment in time, and the elements in the frame.  The winner is: David Ritchie. UCT Under fire for the Cape Argus.

2016 Financial/Economic

The winner demonstrates a broad range of work combined with insightful analysis and well-formed commentary, highlighting key continuing abuses of power in the economic system. The winner is: Lisa Steyn for a body of work for the Mail & Guardian.

2016 CSI/Sustainability

The winner showed how personal tragedy and local interests clashed with corporate plans and implementation of regional and national political interests on the Wild Coast. The winner is: Julie Laurenz for Mining Murder for eNCA Checkpoint.

2016 Online

The winner sets a new benchmark in the range of platforms that can be successfully combined in strong online journalism in South Africa. The winner is: Susan Comrie Pushing Heroin for City Press.

2016 Sport

This category unveiled a picture of a country mad about sport. The coverage was exceptional from soccer to rugby to cricket, with spy sagas and other associated debates making the headlines. The winning entries highlighted the skill in the sport reporting genre. Journalists have to be on top of their game to cover this demanding field. The winners in this category are: Sameer Naik for the Saturday Star, and Junia Stainbank for eNCA.

Young Journalist

The winner in this category gets an opportunity to fast track his or her 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. Journalists must have worked in the media for up to, but not more than three years, and have demonstrated their potential through their entries. The 2016 Young Journalist Award goes to the Mail & Guardian’s Pontsho Pilane.

Vodacom Journalist of the Year Lifetime Achiever Award

This award honours a journalist who has made a significant lifetime contribution to the media in South Africa. June 16 marked a turning point in the history of resistance to apartheid. When the high school pupils in Soweto undertook their march from Orlando West bent on showing their displeasure at being taught maths and other subjects in Afrikaans, they were saying more than just “Away with Afrikaans”. History has recorded that the march did not go far, and that the apartheid police unleashed bullets on school children.

One of those children was Hector Pietersen, who went on to become the face of the Soweto uprising. The picture of a dying Hector, carried by Mbuyisa Makhubu in his Delela overall, with sister Antoinette screaming alongside, is the aggregate representation of the start of the phase of the revolution that eventually saw Nelson Mandela released 14 years later, and democratic elections ushering in a new dispensation 18 years after that fateful day.

At the centre of that iconic image stands the unassuming Sam Nzima, who was at the right place at the right time and ensured that the first draft of history the following day in The World, could graphically represent the brute force unleashed on Soweto and in following days, on the nation as a whole. Bra Sam shot the picture, had the presence of mind to realise he had a good frame, and took the film out and hid it. When the police later forced him to hand over his film that picture was saved. As the picture grew in stature, the attention of the security police on him also grew.

He left journalism and went on to become a businessman in Bushbuckridge, where he still lives. The judges of the VJOY Awards 2016 are convinced that, as we remember the courage, bravery and commitment of the young ones of 1976, it is time to also honour Bra Sam for his work. The 2016 Vodacom Lifetime Achiever winner is Sam Nzima.

“This year has been a celebration of excellence with great stories being entered into the Vodacoms,” said Netshitenzhe. “From entries telling the everyday tales of human life, to massive breaking stories, we saw entries from journalists who looked beyond the obvious and found jewels.”


Facebook fakes behind most phishing attempts

In the first quarter of 2018, Kaspersky Lab’s anti-phishing technologies prevented more than 3.7 million attempts to visit fraudulent social network pages of which 60% were fake Facebook pages.



The results, according to the Kaspersky Lab report, ‘Spam and phishing in Q1 2018’, demonstrates that cybercriminals are still doing what they can to get their hands on personal data.

Social network phishing is a form of cybercrime that involves the theft of personal data from a victim’s social network account. The fraudster creates a copy of a social networking website (such as a fake Facebook page), and tries to lure unsuspecting victims to it, forcing them to give up their personal data – such as their name, password, credit card number, PIN code, and more – in the process.

At the beginning of the year, Facebook was the most popular social networking brand for fraudsters to abuse, and Facebook pages were frequently faked by cybercriminals to try and steal personal data via phishing attacks. This is part of a long-term trend: in 2017, Facebook became one of the top three targets for phishing overall, at nearly 8%, followed by Microsoft Corporation (6%) and PayPal (5%). In Q1 2018, Facebook also led the social network phishing category, followed by VK – a Russian online social networking service and LinkedIn. The reason for this is likely to be the worldwide 2.13 billion active monthly Facebook users, including those who log in to unknown apps using their Facebook credentials, thereby granting access to their accounts. This makes unwary Facebook users a profitable target for cybercriminal phishing attacks.

This all reinforces the fact that personal data is valuable in the world of information technology –both for legitimate organisations and attackers. Cybercriminals are constantly searching for new methods to hit users, so it’s important to be aware of fraudster techniques to avoid becoming the next target. For example, the latest trend is spam emails related to GDPR (Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation).  Examples include offers of paid webinars to clarify the new legislation, or invitations to install special software that will provide access to online resources to ensure compliance with the new rules.

“The continuous increase in phishing attacks – targeting both social networks and financial organisations – shows us that users need to pay more serious attention to their online activities. Despite the recent global scandals, people continue to click on unsafe links and allow unknown apps access to their personal data. Due to this lack of user vigilance, the data on a huge number of accounts gets lost or extorted from users. This can then lead to destructive attacks and a constant flow of money for the cybercriminals,” said Nadezhda Demidova, lead web content analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky Lab experts advise users to take the following measures to protect themselves from phishing:

  • Always check the link address and the sender’s email before clicking anything – even better, don’t click the link, but type it into your browser’s address line instead.
  • Before clicking any link, check if the link address shown, is the same as the actual hyperlink (the real address the link will take you to) – this can be checked by hovering your mouse over the link.
  • Only use a secure connection, especially when you visit sensitive websites. As a minimum precaution, do not use unknown or public Wi-Fi without a password protection. For maximum protection, use VPN solutions that encrypt your traffic. And remember: if you are using an insecure connection, cybercriminals can invisibly redirect you to phishing pages.
  • Check the HTTPS connection and domain name when you open a webpage. This is especially important when you are using websites which contain sensitive data – such as sites for online banking, online shops, email, social media sites etc.
  • Never share your sensitive data, such as logins and passwords, bank card data etc., with a third party. Official companies will never ask for data like this via email.
  • Use a reliable security solution with behaviour-based anti-phishing technologies, such as Kaspersky Total Security, to detect and block spam and phishing attacks.

Other key findings in the report include:


  • The main targets of phishing attacks have remained the same since the end of last year. They are primarily global Internet portals and the financial sector, including banks, payment services and online stores.
  • About $35,000 USD was stolen through one phishing site that appeared to offer the opportunity to invest in the rumoured Telegram ICO. Approximately $84,000 USD was stolen following a single phishing email mailshot related to the launch of ‘The Bee Token’ ICO.
  • Financial phishing continues to account for almost half of all phishing attacks (43.9%), which is 4.4% more compared to the end of last year. Attacks against banks, e-shops, and payment systems remain the top three, demonstrating cybercriminals’ desire to access users’ money.
  • Brazil was the country with the largest share of users attacked by phishers in the first quarter of 2018 (19%). It was followed by Argentina (13%), Venezuela (13%), Albania (13%), and Bolivia (12%).


  • In the first quarter of 2018, the amount of spam peaked in January (55%). The average share of spam in the world’s email traffic was 52%, which is 4.6% lower than the average figure of the last quarter of 2017.
  • Vietnam became the most popular source of spam, overtaking the U.S. and China. Others in the top 10 included India, Germany, France, Brazil, Russia, Spain, and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • The country most targeted by malicious mailshots was Germany. Russia came second, followed by United Kingdom, Italy, and the UAE.
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Acer gaming beast escapes

Acer this week unveiled two notebooks that take portable gaming to new extremes.



Acer  unveiled two new Predator Helios gaming notebooks this week at the next@acer global press conference in New York. They include the powerful Predator Helios 500, featuring up to 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processors, and the Predator Helios 300 Special Edition that includes upgraded specs from its predecessor and a distinctive white chassis. Both feature VR-Ready performance, advanced thermal technologies, and blazing-fast connectivity.

“We’ve expanded our Predator Helios gaming notebook line in response to popular demand from gamers seeking extreme performance on the go,” said Jerry Kao, President of IT Products Business, Acer. “The Predator Helios 500 and Helios 300 gaming notebooks feature Acer’s proprietary thermal technologies and powerful components that, coupled with our award-winning software, deliver unparalleled gaming experiences.”

“The 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processor for gaming and creation laptops is the highest performance Intel has ever delivered for this class of devices; purpose built for enthusiasts who demand premium gaming experiences whether at home or on the go,” said Steve Long, Vice President and General Manager, Client Computing Group Sales and Marketing, Intel. “Intel and Acer’s long relationship has produced amazing products over the years, and the new Acer Predator Helios gaming notebooks are powerful examples of what’s possible with this unprecedented level of performance.”

Predator Helios 500 is a gaming beast featuring overclocking, 4K 144 Hz panels

Designed for extreme gamers, the Predator Helios 500 is a gaming beast. It features up to overclockable 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processors and overclockable GeForce GTX 1070 graphics. Intel Optane memory increases responsiveness and load times, while ultra-fast NVMePCIe SSDs, Killer DoubleShot Pro networking, and up to 64GB of memory keep the action going, making the Helios 500 the ideal gaming notebook for graphic-intensive AAA titles and live streaming.

Top-notch visuals are delivered on bright, vibrant 4K UHD or FHD IPS 17.3-inch displays with 144Hz refresh rates for blur- and tear-free gameplay. NVIDIA G-SYNC technology is supported on both the built-in display and external monitors, allowing for buttery-smooth imagery without tearing or stuttering. For those looking for maximum gaming immersion, dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, and display and HDMI 2.0 ports support up to three external monitors. Two speakers, a subwoofer, and Acer TrueHarmony and Waves MAXXAudio technology deliver incredible sound and hyper-realistic 3D audio using Waves Nx.

The Helios 500 stays cool with two of Acer’s proprietary AeroBlade 3D metal fans, and five heat pipes that distribute cool air to the machine’s key components while simultaneously releasing hot air. Fan speed can be controlled and customized through the PredatorSense app.

A backlit RGB keyboard offers four lighting zones with support for up to 16.8 million colors. Anti-ghosting technology provides the ultimate control for executing complex commands and combos, which can be set up via five dedicated programmable keys.

Acer’s PredatorSense app can be used to control and monitor the notebook’s vitals from one central interface, including overclocking, lighting, hotkeys, temperature, and fan control.

Predator Helios 300 Special Edition brings a sophisticated design twist to gaming notebooks

Acer’s budget-friendly Helios 300 gaming line sees the addition of a Special Edition model featuring an all-white aluminum chassis accented with gold trim, an unusually chic design for gaming notebooks.

The Helios 300 Special Edition (PH315-51) allows for ultra-smooth gameplay via its 15.6-inch FHD IPS display with an upgraded 144Hz refresh rate. The rapid refresh rate shortens frame rendering time and lowers input lag to give gamers an excellent in-game experience. It’s powered by up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7+ processor, overclockable GeForce GTX 1060 graphics, up to a 512 GB PCIe Gen 3 NVMe solid state drive, and up to a 2 TB hard disk drive.

The Helios 300 Special Edition also comes equipped with up to 16 GB of DDR4 memory, and is upgradable to 32GB. Intel Optane memory speeds up load times of games and applications, access to information and improves overall system responsiveness. In addition, Gigabit Ethernet provides fast wired connections, while Gigabit Wi-Fi is provided by the latest Intel Wireless-AC 9560 that delivers up to 1.73Gbps throughput when using 160 MHz channels (2×2 802.11ac, dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz).

The Helios 300 Special Edition also includes two of Acer’s ultrathin (0.1 mm) all-metal AeroBlade 3D fans designed with advanced aerodynamics and superior airflow to keep the system cool. They can be controlled with Acer’s PredatorSense app, which offers three usage modes:

1. Coolboost mode:

For heavy loading games, rendering, streaming, and extended video consumption

2. Normal mode:

For productivity tools like Microsoft Office

3. Silent mode:

For web browsing and online chatting

Price and Availability

Predator Helios 500 will be available in South Africa in June starting at R34 999.00

Helios 300 Special Edition will be available in South Africa in August 2018. Exact Price will be communicated closer to the time.

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