Phylicia Oppelt, editor of The Times, was named this year’s winner of the 1st for Women Insurance Brokers Women in The Media Awards, while Mandy Wiener and Ethel Hazelhurst were honoured with the titles Rising Star and Lifetime Achiever, respectively.
The awards were presented to the recipients at an event held at Summer Place, Sandton.
“Phylicia Oppelt’s enormous contribution to the industry over the years has not only added to real transformation in print media, but to society as a whole,” said Sandra Gordon, CEO of Wag the Dog Publishers and founder of the event.
Oppelt’s editorship at The Times has seen circulation increased. Launched in 2007, in three years, readership has grown to 330 000. Previously Oppelt was editor of the Eastern Cape’s Daily Dispatch which was commended for its progressive and original online newspaper campaign. Simultaneously, Oppelt was the editor of theSunday Times Business Times until 2010. As author of a regular column published in the Sunday Times between 2000 and 2004, Oppelt garnered national respect for providing penetrating social and political commentary about a country in flux.
Oppelt is a newspaper person, but an insightful leader and businesswoman too, having initiated a number of management changes on all publications, appointing several women to positions of leadership.
Devi Sankaree Govender of Carte Blanche; Michélle van Breda, editor of SARIE, Michelle Meyjes, CEO of MEC Global and Jodi Bieber, award-winning freelance photographer, were chosen as finalists for the overall award.
“The Women in The Media event exceeded our expectations. The calibre of nominees and finalists was exceptional and the winners, most deserving,” said managing director of 1st for Women Insurance Brokers, Robyn Farrell.
The awards acknowledged the up-and-coming talent in the media as well as industry legends. This year’s 1st for Women Rising Star Award was Mandy Wiener, journalist at Radio 702 and author of best-selling book ‘Killing Kebble’. Wiener impressed the judges – The Media magazine’s editorial board – who unanimously agreed that she had made notable strides in her short media career. “I am confident that she will emerge as a forceful leader in the media world in years to come,” Peta Krost-Maunder, editor of The Media said.
Wiener has received numerous awards, most recently from the National Press Club who named her Journalist of the Year in the radio category. Specialising in legal battles, Mandy has covered some of the biggest news stories of the last five years.
This year the 1st for Women Lifetime Achiever Award was awarded to Ethel Hazelhurst –senior journalist at Business Report. While women’s editor of theRand Daily Mail, she earned a degree in economics through Unisa and in 1985, moved to the Financial Mail, and, eventually, to the Star’s business pages – thus making a great success of a career in a domain overwhelmingly occupied by men. Ethel is so highly regarded that the Independent Group has founded the annual Dave and Ethel Hazelhurst fellowship for a journalism student. It is a fitting tribute – she has nurtured the careers of many young journalists.
Apart from being an award winning journalist, Ethel is the author of a book – Banking on change – which follows SA’s business growth through democratisation 1994-2004.