These young people have what it takes. Meet 2014’s top 40 under 40 in the media industry.
Some ask why we bother celebrating the young powerhouses in our industry. Simple: if they aren’t yet the leaders, we are nailing our colours to the mast and saying they will be because they have something special going for them. Choosing 40 from the entire media – or at least the many who were nominated – is no easy task. So, this year, we brought in some big guns in this industry across the board to help us make the decisions. Have we included everyone who is phenomenal out there? We’ve certainly done our level best.
We salute these powerful, smart people who are prepared to stick their necks out for excellence. We congratulate them for what they have achieved and would like to spur them on to achieve even more than that. They have made their mark in this industry and we will keep an eye on them all to see what they do. For those who didn’t make it, push yourselves, make your mark, don’t give up. We want to see you on this list next year!
The Media Online will publish part two of the list – which runs in alphabetical order – tomorrow.
Editor of Beeld
After starting his journalism career at Beeld in 2003, Adriaan Basson returned to the newspaper a decade later as its editor.
He has ensured his team has been breaking stories and standing out like Beeld hasn’t done for many years. He has introduced new, younger voices as columnists. He is determined to make Beeld accessible to a wider audience by, for example, getting Julius Malema to try convince white people to vote for the EFF.
Under Basson’s watch, Beeld has broken stories about Jackie Selebi shopping while on medical parole and an air force officer’s affidavit that implicated President Jacob Zuma in ‘Guptagate’.
In his previous position as assistant editor at City Press, Basson was awarded newspaper Journalist of the Year in 2013 with Paddy Harper at the Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Awards for their investigation into ‘Nkandlagate’.
Unique: Basson is soon to be a dad.
Correspondent for Eyewitness News
Barry Bateman has been a journalist at Eyewitness News (EWN) for almost four years, but when Oscar Pistorius shot Reeva Steenkamp last year, his public profile shot through the roof.
As one of the lead journalists covering the story, Bateman became a Twitter sensation, gaining 139 000 new followers in one week. Covering the case led to Bateman and his colleague Mandy Wiener signing a deal with Pan Macmillan to write a book about the story. Bateman also broke the ‘Guptagate’ scandal last year.
EWN editor-in-chief Katy Katopodis says Bateman is like a rottweiler who won’t let go until he has the story. “He has a great news instinct and is a thorough and relentless investigative journalist,” she says.
Unique: Bateman DJs in his spare time. He says he has an ear for tech-house and techno, but has been known to bang out hard-house and bounce on occasion.
Senior anchor at eNCA
Nikiwe Bikitsha is a passionate newshound and a world-class interviewer. In her 16 years in broadcasting, she has interviewed the likes of Jacob Zuma, Thabo Mbeki, Al Gore and Kofi Annan.
From mid-2012 Bikitsha completed a Fulbright Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship in the United States and an internship at the United Nations Development Programme. Group head of news at eNCA Patrick Conroy says Bikitsha has the ability to interrogate an interviewee without hostility. “You’d better know your stuff before agreeing to an interview,” says Conroy. “This top-class anchor will rip your argument apart with charm and grace.” Bikitsha resumed her position as a senior anchor on eNCA when she returned to South Africa in August last year.
Unique: Bikitsha may look serious on air, but she laughs loudly and says she often battles to hold her composure on screen when something funny happens.
Group managing director of The MediaShop
The MediaShop continues to soar under Chris Botha’s leadership.
In the last year, this media agency grew by 16% off an enormous base, was successful in winning nine out of 11 pitches, and earned R622 million in new business.
In 2013, the agency also won the Full Service Media Agency of the Year at the MOST Awards for the third consecutive year.
For the second consecutive year, it was named Large Media Agency of the Year at the AdReview Awards.
Botha also recently ensured that The MediaShop add integrated mobile expertise to the services they offer their clients.
Media guru Harry Herber says that what he likes about Botha is his “human touch, his approachability, his feet firmly on the ground, but with stars in the eyes”.
Unique: Botha’s first job was as a DJ on a community radio station, hosting a sport show called ‘Sport FM’.
Publisher of Huisgenoot, YOU, DRUM, heat, TVPlus and Finweek
In 2013, Lee-Anne Coosner became the publisher with the biggest magazine reading audience in South Africa. She had been the publisher of Finweek, heat, and TVPlus for six months when DRUM was added to her portfolio. This was followed by Huisgenoot and YOU, and she oversaw the launch of mobi sites for TVPlus and DRUM.
Coosner brought in the most money on brand extensions across the Media24 Health and Lifestyle division, earning her the honour of being the company’s highest performer for 2011.“Lee-Anne is a publishing force to be reckoned with – she has charm, guts, chutzpah and a very creative brain… Lee-Anne is a master at developing engaging and profitable brand extensions and client solutions – she is one of the most dynamic young people in media today,” says Chantelle Beukes, general manager of Media24 Weekly Magazines.
Unique: Coosner is the youngest publisher at Media24.
Chief technology officer at the Mail & Guardian
Described by Mail & Guardian editor in chief Chris Roper as “a true digital citizen”, Alistair Fairweather has been running the newspaper’s technology platforms since July 2013.
Last year Fairweather launched the M&G’s Android edition, making it the first paid edition of a South African newspaper on the platform. He also played a role in ensuring that traffic to the publication’s main site grew by more than 60% to
1.2 million unique users per month. The mobile site grew by 799%.
In other positions at the M&G, Fairweather was involved in launching the first newspaper Kindle edition in Africa, the first iPad edition of a weekly newspaper in South Africa and the M&G iPhone app, which is the first paid news app in the local market.
Unique: Fairweather secretly thinks he would have been a very good ballet dancer. He also still plays geek games like Dungeons and Dragons.
General manager of Daily Sun, Sunday Sun, Beeld, Rapport and City Press
Groomed by newspaper giant Deon du Plessis, Minette Ferreira is the unstoppable force behind the Daily Sun, Sunday Sun and City Press. In 2013, Ferreira took over the general management portfolio of Media24’s Afrikaans titles, Beeld and Rapport. She also won the Media24 Ton Vosloo award for best financial performance for the Daily Sun for the second consecutive year.
In late 2012, Ferreira launched Daily Sun TV on DStv’s Mzansi Magic. It’s the first newspaper television show that aims to bring print stories to life. Daily Sun and Sunday Sun publisher Jeremy Gordin says Ferreira has one of the toughest jobs imaginable, but she rarely loses her cool or her smile.
“Minette juggles various, extremely complex inter-personal relationships with remarkable aplomb and works like the proverbial dog… She can also drink and swear with the best of them while still remaining angelic-looking,” says Gordin.
Unique: If Ferreira could do it all again, she would like to have been a spy.
Host of the ‘Midday Report’ on Talk Radio 702 and 567 CapeTalk, Eyewitness News senior political journalist
Politics junkie Stephen Grootes took over from formidable broadcasting veteran Chris Gibbons as the host of the ‘Midday Report’ in September 2012.
He made an effortless transition from political journalist to engaging talk show host.
In 2013, Grootes authored ‘SA Politics Unspun’, a comprehensive guide to South Africa’s intricate political landscape. He challenged himself by inviting ANC presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj and DA leader Helen Zille to interview him for his book launches.
Eyewitness News (EWN) editor in chief Katy Katopodis says Grootes is obsessed with politics. “Stephen’s experience and seniority sets him apart from so many other journalists working in his field,” says Katopodis.
Grootes writes regularly for Daily Maverick and Business Day.
Unique: Grootes describes himself as a ‘Trekkie’ – a Star Trek fan.
Editor at Isolezwe
As editor of Isolezwe, Sazi Hadebe is responsible for the newspaper breaking the one-million readers per average issue mark last year, a figure reflected in the All Media and Products survey results.
In 2013, he had Isolezwe redesigned to look more modern. He brought on board Fred Khumalo and Thulani Mbatha as columnists, and two new weekly features on business and religion were introduced.
Hadebe also oversees Isolezwe ngoMgqibelo and Isolezwe ngeSonto, the Saturday and Sunday editions of the Zulu newspaper. While these spinoffs are in their infancy, they too reflect impressive growth.
Barring two years working elsewhere, Hadebe has spent his entire journalism career at Isolezwe, moving through the ranks as a sports writer, sports editor, deputy editor and, finally, editor.
Unique: As a soccer fanatic, Hadebe dreams of one day coaching Bafana Bafana.
CEO of MACHINE marketing agency
Adrian Hewlett was 26 when he founded media and marketing communications company, the Habari Group.
In 2012, he led the restructuring of the company, resulting in the group’s four marketing agency divisions uniting to form Machine.
Habari Media was sold to the Caxton Group last year. Machine has shown tremendous growth with its annual revenue reaching
R40 million in early 2013, a 40% growth from the previous year.
Machine won South Africa’s Breakthough Agency of the Year at the 2013 AdReview awards, where Hewlett also won Agency Leader of the Year. Tom Fels, deputy managing director at Machine, calls Hewlett a “potent leader”. “His entrepreneurial flair and can-do attitude make him an easy figure to follow, naturally directing the collective energy toward a common purpose. Competitive by nature, it’s no surprise that success often follows,” says Fels.
Unique: Hewlett is an avid surfer.
Columnist for Business Day
What ever you think about what he says, it is hard to ignore this controversial columnist.
Sipho Hlongwane began blogging as a Mail & Guardian Thought Leader in 2009 before moving to the Daily Maverick in 2010 as a political correspondent. In April 2013, Hlongwane joined Business Day as a columnist and published his first book, ‘Get Me Started’.
“He is always provocative and insightful, topical and on point, whether the subject is hardcore politics or the passions and agonies of the sporting arena. In an age when the internet groans under the weight of ‘opinion-makers’ who have little of interest to say and too much room to say it in, Sipho stands out as a journalist well worth reading and following,” says veteran journalist and Twitter guru Gus Silber.
Unique: Some people complain that Hlongwane tweets too much, but he actually deletes four out of every five tweets before sending them.
Editor in chief at Eyewitness News
Described by talkshow host Jenny Crwys-Williams as “a Greek princess with the balls of Zeus”, Eyewitness News (EWN) editor in chief, Katy Katopodis, has steered EWN’s digital evolution over the last year.
EWN’s mobile app was placed seventh in the 2013 Effective Measure report published by the Digital Media and Marketing Association (now called Interactive Advertising Bureau South Africa).
Katopodis manages a strong team of multi-skilled journalists who were at the forefront of the biggest stories in 2013.
Primedia’s head of news and current affairs Yusuf Abramjee says Katopodis is one of South Africa’s leading editors. “Katy is a news junkie. In her passion, drive and commitment, it is clear that news is her life,” says Abramjee.
In 2013, Katopodis also published ‘I’m Missing News’, a book about juggling a career with raising a family.
Unique: Katopodis is morbidly fascinated by plane crashes.
Senior specialist reporter at eNCA
When the High Court reporter at the Cape Argus resigned unexpectedly, Karyn Maughan was asked to take over the beat for a few weeks – which turned into four years. Two years later she took up a job at The Star, covering Jacob Zuma’s rape trial, and in 2009 she joined eNCA.
Maughan has authored two books: ‘Lolly Jackson: When Fantasy Becomes Reality’ and ‘Love Is War: The Modimolle Monster’.
eNCA group head of news Patrick Conroy says her success is due to her impressive contacts, with whom she will have coffee at 2am if that is what a story requires.
Conroy says that Maughan never stops working. He once told her to go home and watch some TV, to which Maughan replied, “I don’t have a TV” and promptly ignored him.
Unique: When Maughan was 19, she worked in a mortuary in order to get over her fear of death.
Television producer, current affairs analyst, reporter and presenter for Sunrise on e.tv and host on YFM
Faith Mangope has perfected the art of multi-tasking in her position on e.tv’s breakfast show. Mangope’s talent extends to radio as the host of a current affairs show on YFM. She first cut her teeth in radio as an executive producer on Talk Radio 702 where she worked on ‘The John Robbie Show’, the ‘Early Breakfast’ with Udo Carelse and the ‘Afternoon Drive’ with David O’Sullivan.
Mangope is also the founder of New G in Business Forums, which aim to educate young professionals and aspiring and established entrepreneurs on the different sectors of industry in South Africa.
She writes a Friday column in The New Age and has been an master of ceremonies at events such as the City of Johannesburg Women’s Seminar For Abused.
Unique: Despite her involvement in media, Mangope still finds the time to lend a helping hand to others by getting involved in various charities.
Talk show host at Power FM, political analyst, columnist, author
Eusebius McKaiser hosted ‘Talk At Nine’ on Talk Radio 702 before moving to Power FM, in 2013 to host the 9am to midday ‘Power Talk’ show.
McKaiser is a political analyst and writer, and his columns have appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian and BBC magazines. He currently writes a weekly column in The Star.
McKaiser’s first book, ‘A Bantu in My Bathroom’, was published in 2012 and sold over 10 000 copies. This Rhodes University graduate and one time lecturer was selected in 2009 for a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford during which time he conducted research in moral philosophy.
“McKaiser consistently challenges others to shun lazy thinking and lazy rhetoric when discussing the hot-button issues of the day … [He] serves as an invaluable tonic for the mental health of all South Africans,” says UCT lecturer Jacques Rousseau.
Unique: McKaiser’s second book, ‘Can I Vote DA?’, has just been released.
Investigative journalist at the Mail & Guardian Centre for Investigative Journalism, amaBhungane.
As an investigative journalist at amaBhungane since 2011, Craig McKune tackles the secrets behind shady politicians, crooked big corporates and other aspects of South Africa’s underbelly.
He was instrumental in gaining access to 12 000 pages of official documents relating to the upgrade of President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla estate. This led to amaBhungane breaking a number of stories relating to state funds being used to upgrade Nkandla.
McKune also worked on, among other stories, the dodgy empowerment deal at Gold Fields and PetroSA’s R1 billion scandal.
Stefaans Brümmer, managing editor for amaBhungane, says McKune is one of the most unusual people he has worked with.
“He plays bass in a punk rock band but lives like a saint. He is an accomplished cyclist, skateboarder and surfer, and completely obsessive about work, fact, detail and truth.”
Unique: McKune plays bass in Cape Town punk rock band Crossfire Collision.
‘Afternoon Drive’ host on 94.7 Highveld Stereo and TV personality
Anele Mdoda first got hooked on radio at campus station Tuks FM where she hosted a show with Grant Nash. The pair moved to 94.7 Highveld Stereo in 2007 and then to 5FM in 2008.
Mdoda returned to Highveld in May 2012 as the first female host of the ‘Afternoon Drive show’.
“Anele’s wit, authenticity and can-do attitude is a radio game changer,” says Ravi Naidoo, Highveld’s programming manager. “ [In] a mere eight years… I’ve watched her mature into the powerhouse she is today.”
She has ventured into television with a brief stint as a presenter on ‘Top Billing’ and as the host of SABC’s ‘Clash of the Choirs’ and M-Net’s ‘MySchool Dream School’.
She has also dabbled in stand-up comedy after receiving praise for roasting singer Steve Hofmeyr on Comedy Central.
Unique: Mdoda dreams of having her own talk show and already knows what she would ask guests such as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
News director at eNCA
Mapi Mhlangu was a technical intern at the SABC when the then SABC KwaZulu-Natal assignment editor, Ami Nanackchand, challenged her to stop being an armchair critic and start reporting. She took on the challenge and has never looked back.
After working at eNCA as head of assignments from 2010 to 2013, Mhlangu was appointed as the channel’s news director – responsible for running the daily news operation – in the second half of 2013.
eNCA’s managing editor, Seamus Reynolds, describes Mhlangu as the “ultimate mother of the newsroom” who has a soft heart for all her colleagues and is very generous with her time.
“But, just like any mother, you’ll feel her wrath should you step out of line,” says Reynolds.
Unique: In the early 2000s, Mhlangu (then a reporter) would often travel by government helicopter across KwaZulu-Natal with then deputy president Jacob Zuma.
Media and information lawyer and litigator at Webber Wentzel
Dario Milo is the legal mind behind some of the media’s biggest battles for independence. He is insightful and has a knack for explaining legalese to the average person.
Milo was the lead attorney advising the South African National Editors’ Forum and the Digital Media and Marketing Association (now IAB South Africa) on a potential challenge to the Protection of State Information Bill.
He was also the lead attorney in a successful Constitutional Court application to strike down a provision of the Refugees Act.
He led the Mail & Guardian’s application for documents relating to the upgrade of President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence, and he advised the Sunday Times and Zapiro on the Cricket SA cartoon depicting Lord Ganesha.
Milo co-authored ‘A Practical Guide to Media Law’ last year.
Unique: Milo once took an adventure holiday where he swam between various Greek islands.
Talk show host at Power FM, television personality
Azania Mosaka spent six years hosting Metro FM’s mid-morning show, ‘Total Bliss’, before joining Power FM in 2013.
She has also taken to the small screen as the presenter of entertainment and art shows ‘Bassiq’ and ‘Noted’ on SABC 1, as a judge on SABC 3’s talent show ‘Popstars’, and as the host of her own cooking show on the same channel called ‘Cooking with Azania’.
Mosaka is the producer and director of internal communications television for large organisations such as Sasol and Eskom though her production company Mile Productions. Mosaka began her 15-year career in broadcasting at the SABC where she was the first woman to host a breakfast show at Metro FM.
Unique: In 2013, Mosaka portrayed Christ in a film and photographic reinterpretation of Michaelangelo’s Pieta, called ‘Moyo’, by award-winning artist Kudzanai Chiurai.
The Media magazine annually publishes the MINT Top 40 under 40s in media list. It is based on nominations submitted by the public and media organisations. It was first published in the March 2014 issue of the magazine.
The Media magazine team would like to thank the judging panel: Kanthan Pillay, YFM CEO; Clare O’Neil, broadcast media expert; Michelle Meyjes, MEC Global CEO; Dr Melanie Chait, CEO of Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking; Toby Shapshak, Stuff magazine editor; Tim Spira, general manager online for eNCA; and Michelle Munro, MD of MMAP Integrated Outdoor Solutions. They were a superb judging team.