The country’s top media people gather at the Women in Media Awards each year, recognising the best in female talent. And winning the award is no easy feat, considering the intimidating achievements of past winners. What make the awards so coveted is this high standard, set of course by past victors, but also, by the formidable judging panel, who all comprise The Media magazine’s editorial board.
The judges, who are all media legends, include Ferial Haffajee, Professor Nixon Karithi, Govin Reddy, Clare O’Neil, Ryland Fisher, Gordon Muller, and Matthew Buckland. Each has, in their own right, fiercely punted the interests and needs of the media, and they continue to maintain its integrity amid many political and economic challenges in South Africa.
The finalists in this year’s awards were Michelle van Breda (SARIE), Jodi Bieber (award-winning photographer), Michelle Meyjes (MEC Global), Devi Sankaree Govender (Carte Blanche) and Phylicia Oppelt (The Times). Oppelt walked away with top honours. Judges admitted that each woman was an incredible force to be reckoned with and that the decision was extremely hard to make.
As one judge, Nixon Karithi said: “These top media women, despite the challenges they face, have been stalwarts and champions of the industry, which has resulted in the vibrancy and longevity of the sector.”
Although a winner has to be chosen each year, the judges enjoy the process of selection more than anything else.
At the awards ceremony, judge Gordon Muller said: “I’m inspired by the courage and commitment and work ethic of these women. I hope the young women attending the awards feel that same sense of inspiration to be the best they can be. I’m motivated for another year. I love these ‘milestone’ moments in media.”
The judges all share the sentiment that the awards have immense benefits as a whole for the media industry. Women continue to shatter the glass ceiling and transform the sector. Long may it continue. These awards bring home the fact.
“What is gratifying with this event – and I’ve been a judge for nine years – is watching the growth in the nominees and winners over the years. Every year we see increasing nominations and fantastic quality. It shows huge development in the media industry and shows a pool of talent and professionalism that shines through. The power of the woman is a vital thing,” said another judge, Jos Kuper.
Photo: Judge, Gordon Muller