The iconic awards have introduced several category changes more in keeping with the ever-evolving journalism landscape.
The theme this year is “The Pen is Mightier than the Sword”, and comes at a time when news in South Africa, and indeed in the world, has become a rapidly shifting canvas both in terms of delivery and content.
Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group said, “We are pleased to announce that we have updated the various categories that journalists can enter their work in. It’s vital that the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards remain relevant and a true reflection of the evolving media landscape, and with the changes made, we have achieved this.”
“The theme this year promotes the integrity of journalism across all media. The past year has been a momentous one for news coverage and we look forward to entries of a high standard as we recognise journalists’ best work from the past year.” said Netshitenzhe.
Awards are given for the best journalist in a range of categories in five regions nationally, with the process culminating in a national award ceremony in Johannesburg. The awards are regarded as one of the highest accolades for South African journalists. This year also sees a change in the names of regions:
Region A – Gauteng
Region B – Free State, Northern Cape, North West and Limpopo
Region C – KZN and Mpumalanga
Region D – Eastern Cape
Region E – Western Cape
The VJOYs are a means of recognising skill in the all-important arena of news and information dissemination. Winning a Vodacom Award has become a prestigious career achievement, with the overall national winner set to receive a prize of R100 000.
Said Netshitenzhe, “There have been important news stories and reportage over the past year and for Vodacom there is a continuing synergy between keeping people connected through our network and the tireless work that journalists do. We are hopeful that the new categories will appeal to a wider range of journalists. The biggest evolution is the move away from judging awards based on platforms, but rather on content.”
The revised categories for 2018 are:
1. Live reporting/ breaking news
10. Data Journalism
12. Young Journalist of the Year Award
For more information on what is expected in each award, please visit journalist.vodacom.co.za.
This year’s prestigious judging panel (see biographies on the website) will be convened for a second year by Ryland Fisher and includes Mary Papayya, Arthur Goldstuck, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Collin Nxumalo, Mathatha Tsedu, Albe Grobbelaar, Megan Rusi and Obed Zilwa. The judging panel will also debate and decide on the Lifetime Achiever’s Award that recognises the lifetime contribution made by a single individual to journalism and media in this country.
The VJOYs have a proud history of honouring excellence in journalism across a range of categories. Journalists will be able to enter their best achievements for work produced between 1 August 2017 and 1 August 2018. In a further change this year, all entries will be online, and hand delivered entries will no longer be accepted. Entries open from 6 August, and can be submitted online at journalist.vodacom.co.za. Entries close at 6pm on 24 August and no late entries will be considered.
Regional category winners will receive R5 000 each, national category winners take home R10 000 each, with the coveted national accolade of Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award winner receiving R100 000. The winner of the young journalist award must have been a journalist for no more than three years, and will win an all-expenses paid overseas trip, that includes a visit to the Thomson Foundation, as well as the opportunity to work in a newsroom.