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2008 VODACOM JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR (article first published : 2008-06-21)

The Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards is regarded as one of South Africa’s premier journalism honours, with more than R1 million in prize money, making it one of the richest accolades in South African journalism.

The 2008 Vodacom Journalist of the Year winner will win R125,000 in cash as well as being given the opportunity to plough back into the community and donate R125,000 to an official charity of his or her choosing. This is the seventh year that Vodacom - South Africa’s biggest network provider - has rewarded excellence in journalism in recognition of the very real impact journalism has on society.

Dot Field, Vodacom’s Chief Communication Officer says: “Vodacom has always ascribed to the power of communication and the critical role that the media plays in our society. It is therefore with pride that we once again sponsor the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards in 2008. I encourage all South African journalists countrywide to enter this year’s competition and put their best work forward in order to have an opportunity to win the new prizes. In addition, the winner of this year’s title, Vodacom Journalist of the Year, will have the opportunity to make a donation to a worthy charity of his/hers choice and share in this accolade for excellence.”

In addition to the big prize, each national winner receives R15,000 and a BlackBerry® smartphone, while every regional category winner will receive R7,500.

Editors throughout South Africa are encouraged to identify their most promising young journalists who have been in the business for a minimum of two and a maximum of five years and enter them for the Editor’s Choice Award. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for the winner who will receive a grant enabling him or her to study for three months at the prestigious Thomson Foundation in Wales, regarded as one of the best centres for media training in the world.

A new exciting category has been introduced this year. Online Journalism is aimed at internet and MP3 based media who produce podcasts, blogs, photography and web-based newsletters and columns (on a free access basis) which are not carried in print, radio and television.

There are 14 categories in total for entrants to choose from: TV general news; TV feature; Print general news; Print feature; Radio news; Radio feature; Financial/economic; Columnist; Cartoonist; Photographer; Sport; Community Media; Online Journalism and Editors’ Choice.

All material must have been published or broadcast between May 1, 2007, and April 30, 2008. Entries close on July 24, 2008.

The competition begins with the regional awards, which will be held around the country in October and these winners in the various categories will automatically compete in the National Competition. The final awards will take place at a glittering function to be held in Johannesburg in November. A Lifetime Achievement Award honours a journalist who has made a significant contribution to the profession. This winner is selected by the judges’ panel.

Journalists wishing to enter can find all relevant information and entry forms on the Vodacom website www.vodacom.co.za




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