City Press swept the Standard Bank Sikuvile Awards in Johannesburg with a series of wins that had editor Ferial Haffajee (herself awarded editor of the year) tweeting “Eish! How proud am I?”
The awards, run under the auspices of Print and Digital Media South Africa (PDMSA) honours print and online journalists.
City Press won SA Story of the Year (City Press newsroom team, for The Tragedy of Marikana: Photography entries, feature story coverage including “Faces of Marikana”); newspaper journalist of the year (Adriaan Basson and Paddy Harper, for Nkandlagate); feature writing (Lucas Ledwaba, for The Life and Trial of an SA Child Star) and investigative journalism (Basson and Harper, Nkandlagate). Jaco Grobbelaar won the graphic journalism award too, for City Press and Rapport.
“The 2013 judges commenced their task on arguably one of the biggest news days of the year – Valentine’s Day, 14 February. This was the day of the State of the Nation Address and the day when a South African paralympian hero shot and killed his girlfriend. The competing news agendas of that day reinforced once more why newspapers matter, why journalists play a critical role in our democracy and why good media makes a difference,” said convening judge, Paula Fray.
The judging panel, tasked with finding winners for 18 categories, included Fray (convenor), Henry Jeffreys, Irwin Manoim, Mike Siluma, Peter Sullivan, Matthew Buckland, Tumi Makgabo, Gail Smith, Pippa Green, Thabo Leshilo, Sbu Mpungose, Zubeida Jaffer and Debbie Yazbek
“In the context of a rapidly changing media landscape, it is particularly important to recognise and reward excellent journalism. In this age of political spin, competing versions of reality, and simple news fatigue, getting the truth out there, into the public domain, is no easy thing to do,” said Sim Tshabalala, joint CEO, Standard Bank Group.
The awards recently incorporated the Frewin, McCall and Joel Mervis awards, championed by the Newspaper Association of South Africa. These awards recognise newspaper excellence in advertising, printing and production, layout and typography, as well as the balanced use of pictures and graphics, and this is the first time that one media owner has been named in all three categories.
Media 24 was the winner, with Beeld winning the Frewin award [urban daily newspapers with a circulation above 50 000], Volksblad the McCall [urban daily newspapers with a circulation of 50,000 or less,] and City Press the Joel Mervis award [that recognises urban weekly newspapers irrespective of their circulation].
Convener of judges, Clive Loxton, creative faculty head of the AAA School of Advertising, said that overall, he and his fellow judges, Logan Naidu, Tebogo Serobatse and Linda Rademan, agreed that this year’s entries reached a higher standard than those of 2012.
“The standard of printing is still not what it was five years ago, with notable exceptions. Possibly, this is the result of shareholders finding it difficult to invest in equipment in these tough economic times. However, these comments should be taken in the light of the very high standards the industry has set itself, and that we as judges have become accustomed to in recent years.
“On the brighter side there was more visual innovation than in 2012, most notably the bold and daring new ‘look’ Rapport has created. This has a unique feel and is truly South African in style. Secondly, several papers are using bigger pictures to good effect, making their layouts more exciting,” he said.
Ingrid Louw, chief executive of PDMSA, said there were “more entries, high quality journalism, an increase in the digital submissions … we are delighted to see these awards going from strength to strength. At a time when both transformation and editorial freedom are the hot topics of the day, we can only applaud the excellent results of this year’s Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Awards, and congratulate winners and finalists alike”.
Photojournalist Alf Khumalo was post-humously awarded the Allan Kirkland Soga Lifetime Achievement Award. The legendary documentary photographer, photojournalist and activist’s photographs in Drum established him as the leading recorder of momentous events in South Africa, both locally and internationally, in the course of his long career.
The full list of winners in the Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Awards, with judges’ comments, follows.
CATEGORY 1: HARD NEWS
Mkhululi Ndamase, Shaanaz de Jager, Karen van Rooyen & Graeme Hosken
St Francis inferno
“St Francis inferno”, a story about a veld fire that devastated the St Francis holiday resort in the Eastern Cape, was written by Mkhululi Ndamase, Shaanaaz de Jager, Karen van Rooyen and Graeme Hosken. The story contained much detail from excellent eyewitness interviews and was written under very tight deadlines.”
CATEGORY 2: COLUMNS / EDITORIAL
Series of columns: What has changed from Polokwane to Mangaung, Real economy not a part of ANC’s closed circuit debate, NUM needs to be ruthless about money & politics.
Carol Paton, for a series of columns in Business Day on the NUM, on the shortcomings of how ANC economic policy is made, and on the changes in the ruling party since the conference on Polokwane to that of Mangaung. Her piece on National Union of Mineworkers, written five months before the Marikana tragedy, reflected on how the NUM had changed in the post-apartheid era and how, in many respects, it had become distant from some of its membership. It was an excellently reported, tightly written and prescient piece. (“What has changed from Polokwane to Mangaung? (11/12/12) “Real Economy not a part of ANC’s closed circuit debate, 31/7/2012); “NUM needs to be ruthless about money and politics”, 29/5/2012).”
CATEGORY 3: ENTERPRISE NEWS
Waterless on road to Mangaung
“For many, the road to Mangaung was about the leadership battle within the African National Congress but Thabiso Thakali reminds the reader that in for those who actually live along the road to Mangaung it is about the daily and seemingly endless battle for clean water.”
CATEGORY 4: FEATURE WRITING
Marikana: the aftermath
Ledwaba entered 8 pages of features on the Aftermath of the Marikana tragedy. The judges were struck by the consistent attention to detail and ability to share the minutia of the massacre, while evoking the emotions of the tragedy. Using language and narrative style that was compelling, his pieces were powerfully written, informative, and conveyed the horror and the tragedy of the event and on-going impact on local communities affected and the families left behind.… consistent attention to detail and ability to share the minutia of the massacre, while evoking the emotion of the tragedy … pieces powerfully written, informative and conveyed the horror and the tragedy of the event and on-going impact on local communities affected and the families left behind … Ledwaba’s eye for detail is rivaled by his narrative skill …
CATEGORY 5: INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM
Adriaan Basson & Paddy Harper
The winning story is the Nkandla saga, first broken by Adriaan Basson and Paddy Harper in City Press. Their thorough investigations exposed the massive overreach by government to build a multi-million rand private compound for Pres. Jacob Zuma with public funds, grabbed the nation’s attention. It sent government into a flat spin of denials and perplexing and unconvincing explanations for what is clearly an abuse of the public purse The whole saga is now the subject of an investigation by the Public Protector. In short, it is an excellent example of investigative journalism based on thorough research, forensic analysis, credible sources, straight-forward news reporting, and staying power. It is the national scandal that will simply not go away, largely as a result of the winners’ dedication and professionalism, and others who have followed them.
CATEGORY 6: EDITORIAL CARTOONS
… it was lateral thinking that wins the prize this year for Brandan Reynolds of Business Day, whose cartoon of a forest destroyed to produce a fig leaf, aptly summed up the Zuma-Spear affair. Reynolds managed the rare feat of beating Jonathan Shapiro, unchallenged winner for years
CATEGORY 7: GRAPHIC JOURNALISM
Graphics 24 (City Press & Rapport)
Jaco Grobbelaar, who wins for the second year in a row, produced a complex and astonishingly detailed graphic of The Titanic, the product of several months’ work at his own initiative. Also commendable is Grobbelaar’s assured control of the page layout, which conveys a great deal of information without looking cluttered.
CATEGORY 8: POPULAR JOURNALISM
Glacier Tsakane Nkhwashu
We bust the rapists!
Winner Glacier Nkhwashu’s “We Bust Rapists!” documented the shocking sexual abuse of a mentally challenged teen at the hands of local men with some of the perpetrators being mere schoolboys. The story demonstrated the solid relationship that exists between Daily Sun and its readers as; in this case, a community member alerted the newspaper about the video of the rape.
CATEGORY 9: NEWS PHOTOGRAPHS
Finding winners among the photographs was easy — far more difficult was having to consign some great pictures to the unlikely-to-win pile, only because the opposition was so brilliant. The overall winner in Hard News came from images shot at Marikana by Alon Skuy and published in The Herald, The Times and Sowetan. Skuy’s images were beautiful, emotive, filled with the raw energy of potential and actual violence.
CATEGORY 10: FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHS
A fresh approach is needed to win this category. The winner, Felix Dlangamandla from Beeld captured the drama, pathos and tragedy of Marikana with his poignant image of crosses and candles at sunset on Marikana’s infamous hill.
Winner Deaan Vivier took an action rugby photograph showing determination; grit and poise in a picture of Duane Vermeulen escaping an ankle tackle by Australian Kane Douglas. It captured the moment superbly and the composition, from bottom right to top left had the judges searching for superlatives.
CATEGORY 12: PRESENTATION (layout and design)
John-Grant Munro seized the excitement of the Chad Le Clos Olympics win … by not choosing the picture that dominated other papers, the one of Le Clos shouting in triumph. Instead Munro chose the moment before, an image of Clos in open-mouthed astonishment, to which he added the headline ON-GE-LOOFLIK, a perfect coupling of words to image. Die Burger devoted the entire top of the page to this one image, which ran right over the masthead area, to make for a spectacular front page.
CATEGORY 13: MULTI-PLATFORM
Verashni Pillay (on behalf of the Mail & Guardian Online) & Ines Schumacher
Mail & Guardian
The M&G Online‘s entry by Ines Schumacher was based on the M&G story Of Battleships and Nkandla, how Zuma’s controversial homestead was funded. There was not a platform that the media company did not use to promote AND extend this story. The online team pretty much used all potential tools – including social media. On Twitter, the team previewed the story with a Twitter hashtag #zuma corruption which trended. The story was extended on both the newspaper’s website and iPad editions. Third party apps were used to make interactive timelines and to present key original documentation. This was followed up by Video discussions and interviews using Google hangout where readers put questions to the investigative journalists.
CATEGORY 14: MULTIMEDIA
Pippie Kruger by Liezel Els (Beeld) was an up-close look at Pippie Kruger, the three-year–old child that had suffered 80% burns. This segment was well shot and edited with a thoughtful, sensitive interview with Pippie’s parents. The result was a slick, watchable and emotive video interview that took the newspaper story to moving pictures.
CATEGORY 15: SA STORY OF THE YEAR (no finalists)
City Press Newsroom Team
The Tragedy of Marikana: Photography entries, feature story coverage including Faces of Marikana
The tragedy of Marikana was a platform for some of the most compelling storytelling this year. As such, Marikana is reflected among the finalists in several categories including features and photography. While there were strong individual entries, many newspapers rose to the challenge of telling the story well. The City Press – with their photography entries, feature story coverage including “The Faces of Marikana” – shares this award as a team.
CATEGORY 16: RISING STAR OF THE YEAR (no finalists)
Kristen van Schie, The Star
This is the first time the Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Award has recognised a Rising Star of the Year, drawing candidates with less than three years’ experience from the various entries. The judges reviewed young journalists in production, writing and photography before identifying Kristen van Schie of The Star for her vast body of entries which reflected a maturity and excellence beyond her years of experience.
CATEGORY 17: NEWSPAPER JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR (no finalists)
Adriaan Basson & Paddy Harper / Nkandlagate
Determination, perseverance, commitment to journalistic excellence … also a commitment to holding the high and mighty accountable for their actions, emphasizing the vital role of journalism in a democratic society.
CATEGORY 18: ALLAN KIRKLAND SOGA LIFETIME ACHIEVER AWARD
ALF KHUMALO (POSTHUMOUS)
Photographer Alf Khumalo (September 5, 1930 – October 21, 2012), left a legacy not only of photographs but also of photographers he had inspired, mentored and taught. He started as a freelance photographer before joining the Golden City Post in 1956. His iconic photographs – covering not only South Africa’s journey from apartheid to democracy, but also the lives of ordinary people – set him apart as one of the recorders of our history, and were published in a range of national and international publications. Among the many historic moments were the Sharpville, the Treason Trial, the Rivonia, Soweto 76 and Codesa. He was detained, arrested and harassed during course of discharging his duties. In 2002, Alf started a photographic school in Soweto to train a new generation of photographers. Among his many awards are the South African Order of Ikhamanga in Silver awarded for his excellent contribution to documentary photography and journalism in South Africa in 2004 and the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) Nat Nakasa Award for Media Integrity for displaying courageous journalism throughout his professional career in 2005.
PHOTO: Ferial Haffajee, editor of City Press