Achievement in the media industry doesn’t come without a lot of hard work and a huge dollop of talent. This is not an easy business but those who succeed are generally full of passion and chutzpah. So, to have made it before your 40th birthday is no mean feat. Despite nay-saying oldies who have called this feature “ageist”, the industry has shown its approval. The number of motivations The Media received was five times what we had last year.
It is an interesting and challenging task to hold award-winning journalists and station managers up against media owners, strategists and planners so as to choose the best. What is power and and influence? Is it the amount of money you can generate, the influence you have over the public, your ability to get the most out of your team or simply having a nose for a great story and the ability to uncover information that others can’t? We believe it is all of the above.
The criteria for this listing were fairly simple: the person proposed has to be making a real difference in the industry and, if they were listed last year, they needed to have further accomplishments in the last 12 months to remain on the list. Nobody was automatically kept on the list. Also, The Media team did its homework and did not just rely on the proposals we received.
We believe that the following 40 people are the most powerful and influential people under the age of 40 in the media industry. There are few countries in the world where you would find so many young people with such influence over this industry. Hopefully, these youthful leaders are building the foundation for a solid and even more influential media that will withstand any threats.
Congratulations to all of you (and those who didn’t quite make these pages but are surely moving and shaking in the industry). The Media and TheMediaOnline salute you!
CEO of MediaCom; Age: 38; Industry: Media agency
Within one year of returning to MediaCom as CEO, Manning has restructured the business to prepare it for modern communications challenges faced by clients. In the past year, the company has won R120 million of new business and has successfully defended both its Avusa Entertainment and PPC contracts during review.
He won significant new revenues from existing clients through new services, and has added 10 significant new clients to the roster, including digital assignments won against digital specialist agencies. Manning returned to South Africa after a 10-year stint in Europe to share the knowledge and insight he acquired within the industry.
Unique: Travelling around the world’s wine regions is one of Manning’s particularly enjoyable pastimes.
Founding head and Africa editor of the eNews Africa Service; Age: 36; Industry: Broadcasting
Within four years as eNews’ Africa editor, Maroleng has refocused eNews’s African coverage and helped the company better understand the diversities of the continent.
As host of the popular current affairs programme Africa 360, Maroleng provides audiences with a weekly current affairs programme filled with in-depth interviews with newsmakers across Africa. The insight gained in his previous role as senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies gives him the sensitivity to understand the events that shape the everyday lives of Africans. He is a pivotal part of one of the first homegrown African news platforms.
Unique: Maroleng is into gadgets and enjoys collecting and trying out new hi-tech devices.
Founding editor The Sunday Times Zulu edition; Age: 39; Industry: Newspapers
According to Sunday Times editor Ray Hartley, Mbatha has overseen a massive and unprecedented project in South African journalism. He put in place a brand new production process that translates much of the newspaper (from English to Zulu) while also running a news gathering operation to top up the newspaper with local news.
Within one year, Sunday Times Zulu has become a newspaper that sets the news agenda in the Zulu market, and has introduced investigative journalism to the readers of the Zulu press.
Mbatha’s career in the Zulu language market began when he was made editor of Isolezwe in 2005.
Unique: Mbatha’s childhood dream was to drive a big Oshkosh truck.
Deputy editor, Sunday Times newspaper; Age: 37; Industry: Newspapers
After being part of the team that launched The Times, Meintjies was asked by Mondli Makhanya in 2009 to return to the Sunday Times as national news editor. Meintjies reconstituted the investigations unit and refocused the news operation on the newspapers’ core values to form a top investigations unit. Meintjies is hands-on in driving the news diary, and develops new products while managing several editorial executives.
Meintjies previously had stints at The Star and Daily News, and also worked at IRIN, the United Nations’ humanitarian news operation.
Unique: Meintjies’ passion for newspapers was inspired as a child by many visits to the Natal Newspapers offices to visit his mother who worked as a human resources officer there.
Partner in the Dispute Resolution Practice at Webber Wentzel and expert in media law; Age: 37; Industry: Law
Milo is arguably the most influential media attorney in South Africa. He has successfully represented Zapiro, Carte Blanche, the South African National Editors’ Forum, the Freedom of Expression Institute and Mail & Guardian. He has also been involved in legal matters essential to our industry, including Oilgate, the Protection of Information Bill, the Judicial Service Commission Amendment Bill, the Protection of Personal Information Bill and the Protection from Harassment Bill.
He is an expert in print and electronic media law, access to information and confidential information, data protection and privacy law, constitutional law, and corporate and commercial law litigation.
Unique: Milo says he is a journalist trapped in a lawyer’s body.
Partner responsible for digital and invention at Mindshare; Age: 37; Industry: Media agency
“Peter is a creative thinker whose solutions are innovative, daring and help shape our image in the market,” says Maria Phillips, Mindshare CEO. “He inspires those he works with.”
After working in the banking and auditing world, Monaise moved into the media, where he represented blue chip clients while working for agencies like Ogilvy and McCann Erickson. He joined Mindshare and was responsible for some of its major international clients. In the last 18 months, he initiated two new portfolios and started both Mindshare’s digital media and invention team (responsible for content creation, activations that extend beyond media).
Unique: Monaise was on the cover of Financial Mail at the age of five – modelling opportunities that lay ahead for young people.
Editor of Cosmopolitan South Africa; Age: 30; Industry: Magazine
Mpungose is one of the most headhunted editors in South Africa. Bona headhunted her from Drum and then she was poached to edit True Love. Cosmopolitan snapped her up after she reinvented True Love’s image. While at Bona, she spearheaded a massive makeover that still has people talking.
She was appointed editor of Move! at the age of 23, and shortly after that won the ADMAG Editor of the Year Award, and then was chosen as Women in The Media’s Rising Star.
Unique: Before entering a career in print media, Mpungose had a short stint as a radio DJ at Channel Africa with her show, Eve’s Revelation.
MD of MMAP Integrated Outdoor Solutions; Age: 38; Industry: Out of home media
Munro founded MMAP, an out of home sales company, in 2005. She is passionate about outdoor media and the outdoor sales business. The company sells opportunities on behalf of more than 100 media owners and Munro says they have “created a unique outdoor solutions company for agencies to rely on”.
She’s delivered solutions to some iconic brands including ABSA, Liberty Life, Vanish and Dettol. Munro is lauded for her knowledge of the industry, her know-how and her company’s quick turnaround time.
Unique: If she’s not out partying, Munro says she’s in bed at 8pm, every night. If not, then she is appeasing her addiction to Facebook SCRABBLE.
Editor of CAR; Age: 35; Industry: Magazine
As editor of the biggest motoring and male-interest publication in South Africa, Oosthuizen is an authority on all things motoring. He is one of only seven editors CAR has had since its birth in 1957, and is the youngest one to boot. He has kept CAR up-to-date with trends in the media, digital realm and motoring world, and its readership is now spread evenly across all age groups.
He is the only South African on the World Car of the Year jury, and published his first book, ‘Cranked UP: Confessions of a Petrolhead’, in 2010.
Unique: The late John Wright, former editor of CAR, initially rejected his appeal for an internship, but changed his mind when Oosthuizen wouldn’t stop sobbing and pleading over the telephone.
Head of human experience at Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG); Age: 39; Industry: Media agency
As head of Human Experience at SMG, Pennington’s is passionate about uncovering real time, meaningful insights that drive her clients’ business forward.
Pennington has a deep consumer understanding that informs and builds relationships between creative agencies and media owners. She does this through immersing clients in her research, which could mean taking a client’s staff into townships where necessary. She was identified as one of 21 members of the SMG worldwide network who are fast tracking the organisation. Her creativity has earned her numerous coveted awards within the industry.
Unique: Pennington has seven years of martial arts under her belt, and has a four-and-a-half foot long iguana as a pet.
MD and publisher at Contact Media ; Age: 31; Industry: Magazine
Press formed Contact Media in 2007, a publishing house that produces four successful custom magazine titles, all boasting notable partnerships with big brands. His people skills and his passion for publishing have seen him become a dynamic publishing force in the industry, having launched over 15 titles in the past 10 years.
In 2002, a sales position opened at a local media house and Press jumped at the opportunity. He then became the sales manager, then a director — taking the business from a R6-million company to a R26-million corporation. Press lead Contact Media to 25% growth in the past year alone.
Unique: Press started a tuckshop, barbershop and events business – all while still in high school.
Senior investigative reporter at The Sunday Independent; Age: 31; Industry: Newspapers
Rampedi knows how to follow the money for an exceptional investigative story. Rampedi is committed to uncovering maladministration of public funds and the effect on service delivery. He has exposed Julius Malema’s Ratanang Family Trust and tender corruption and financial mismanagement in Limpopo’s public sector.
Rampedi broke the story about Limpopo’s crisis while at City Press. Some say he is shaping the trajectory of SA’s future political developments through his pursuit for truth, even in the face of threats to his life. He is the recipient of a Vodacom Journalist of the Year, a Media24 Newspapers Journalist of the Year, and a City Press Journalist of the Year award.
Unique: Rampedi is all about facts, and despises racial stereotypes and prejudice.
Group executive producer for eNews and eSat.TV; Age: 32; Industry: Broadcasting
Ramsay’s greatest thrill is controlling the chaos of what’s happening in news around the country, continent and world. Being at the heart of planning is what keeps her hooked, whether it’s rushing out to the smoke-filled skies as a field-producer during the Mumbai terror attacks, running eNews’ entire live broadcast of the FIFA Soccer World Cup, or opening eNews’ first international bureau in China.
She has revolutionised the way eNews delivers stories from far-flung areas, and is at the forefront of how the channel uses mobile gadgets such as iPads and laptops for news gathering.
Unique: Ramsay has a titanium finger bone from a sports injury. She also loves the music of Stimela and long road trips.
Marketing manager for circulation and promotions at the Mail & Guardian; Age: 25; Industry: Newspaper
Rutkowski is known for her ability to tackle any project and ensure positive results. She is described as a dynamic overachiever, and has enhanced the Mail & Guardian’s presence and value proposition with her countless marketing and promotional ideas.
Rutkowski was headhunted by Mail & Guardian from her position as circulations promotions manager at The Citizen. Dickon Jayes, MD of Media Distribution Africa, says Rotkowski is an asset to the Mail & Guardian, whose “unwavering, results-driven nature ensures incomparable return on investment”.
Unique: On weekends Rutkowski listens to solid gold hits on 702 and never passes up an opportunity to dance to the Beatles.
Editor of The Star; Age: 38; Industry: Newspapers
Multiple-award winning journalist Sefara was appointed as editor of The Star in February. Prior to that, he was the first Sunday Independent editor to up its circulation to over the 50 000 mark. In the third quarter of 2011, Sunday Independent was the only English-language Sunday paper to increase its circulation figures.
By refocusing the paper as a cheeky broadsheet with a series of scoops and commentary, with more space for investigations, politics and analysis, Sefara grew the paper’s revenue income in 2011 to the highest the paper has ever seen. He was previously political editor of City Press.
Unique: Sefara has a pathological fear of failure, which often has him leaving the office at 1am.
CEO of OFM; Age: 38; Industry: Broadcasting
Being a manager in the South African radio space has never been tougher. But amidst the challenges of competition and the pressure for technological advancement, Stroebel has achieved record audiences and revenues. Among his various successful gigs in radio have been stints as a presenter, marketing manager, sales director, programme manager and station manager.
After becoming OFM’s programme manager in 2000, Stroebel modernised a station that had become Volksbesit, doubled direct revenue, and grown its audience by 60%. He became CEO in 2008, and is highly respected by his team, his shareholders, the community he serves and his advertising clients.
Unique: Stroebel has lived in Zimbabwe, and also the Caprivi (Namibia) at the height of the border conflict.
CEO of Initiative Media; Age: 39; Industry: Media agency
Taback became MD of Initiative Media at the tender age of 30. Under his leadership, the company has significantly grown its new business and annual revenue. He has expanded the agency’s integrated offerings into hip-and-happening arenas such as digital and mobile marketing.
Over his 16-year career in the media industry, Taback has been a media director, media strategist and media planner at a number of advertising agencies including Ogilvy and Carat. He has worked on major blue chip brands such as Unilever, SAB, British American Tobacco and Vodacom. He was also appointed to the South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) board in 2010.
Unique: Taback is passionate about wildlife, bird watching and exploring untouched remote wilderness areas.
Senior investigative report for Eyewitness News; Age: 29; Industry: Broadcasting
In her eight years as an Eyewitness News reporter, Wiener has built an enviable reputation as one of the most credible journalists in the business. Specialising in legal battles and the criminal underworld, Wiener has covered some of the biggest news stories of the last few years including the Jackie Selebi corruption trial and Brett Kebble’s murder trial.
Her groundbreaking tweets from court and breaking news events give her over
22 000 followers immediate insights into the stories she covers. She was named 2011’s National Press Club’s Journalist of the Year.
Unique: Wiener’s 2011 book, ‘Killing Kebble: An Underworld Exposed’, has sold over 50 000 copies – a remarkable feat in local publishing.
Talk Radio 702 and 567 CapeTalk presenter; Age: 33; Industry: Broadcasting
She has earned the attention of a nation of listeners, readers and viewers through her talk show, her stint as anchor of eNews Prime Time and her columns in Sowetan, City Press, and Sunday Times. Tlhabi also hosts her own television show, Redi on Mzansi, which is produced by her company, Broad Daylight Films. Among those she has interviewed are Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Thabo Mbeki, Tony Blair, Colin Powell, Bono and Julius Malema.
She commands the airwaves through her forthright manner, and ensures that no questions are left unasked, even those that make her guests squirm.
Unique: Tlhabi is an avid road runner, and has run the Comrades, Two Oceans, Soweto and New York marathons.
Editor of DRUM; Age: 32; Industry: Magazine
Makhosazana Zwane-Siguqa has been called a born editor. She is the youngest editor ever to lead DRUM, and under her leadership, one of South Africa’s most established magazine brands has upped its circulation. This multiple-award winning journalist and editor has repositioned the magazine as a leading mass media brand and as an agenda setting general interest magazine in black family households.
Her candid style has led to numerous scoops, and an impressive network of influential contacts, and has also changed the way the publishing team drives certain aspects of DRUM. She serves her readers with passion and integrity.
Unique: Zwane-Siguqa is an introvert who prefers to be at home cooking with her husband.