Judging the nearly 400 entries in this year’s Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Awards from the 27 July to 3 August, the judging panel reviewed 14 categories as well as the South African Story of the Year, Journalist of the Year, Upcoming/Rising Star of the Year and the Lifetime Achiever Award – the Allan Kirkland Soga Achievement Award.
Dinesh Balliah, Henry Jeffreys, Mike Siluma, Tyrone August, Phindile Xaba, Shona Bagley, Pippa Green, Liesl Louw-Vaudran, Mary Papayya, Ryland Fisher, Neo Ntsoma, Maud Motanyane, Themba Hadebe, Gus Silber and Thabo Leshilo made up this years judging panel with Lizeka Mda, this year’s convener judge.
While judging took place virtually, but Mda says the end goal is the same as previous years, that is to give recognition and to celebrate the best work produced by the nation’s journalists, that also adheres to the highest journalistic principles.
“Journalism is supposed to shine a light in all corners of society, the darker the corner, the brighter the light. So much happens in a country in a calendar year, that one hopes to find in the entries the most important stories that define us as a country, with all our curves and angles,” she says.
She adds that this is an even more challenging year, because of the environment in which the industry is operating. “When citizens are struggling to put food on the table, the last thing they will do with their hard-earned cash is to pay for journalism.”
The South African media industry has not been immune to challenges brought on by an economy that has been contracting, rather than growing. “Add to those challenges COVID-19 and you are talking about media companies having to be super creative in order to survive, while ensuring the survival of our democracy through a free, vibrant and fearless press,” she says.
The awards event will be held virtually on 15 October where the winners will receive R15 000, a trophy and a certiﬁcate.