Bhekisisa reporter Pontsho Pilane has been named Young Journalist of the Year in the debut category at the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards Saturday. The Mail & Guardian’s Lisa Steyn takes home the competition’s top prize for economic and financial reporting.
Known for her work covering student protests as well as gender, Pilane nabbed the competition’s first-ever Young Journalist of the Year award. The category replaced Vodacom’s previous “Editor’s Choice” award. Pilane wins a trip to visit the UK’s renowned Thomson Foundation and work in an overseas newsroom.
At the award ceremony in Midrand, Steyn was recognised for her body of work as a financial reporter. The judges commended Steyn’s writing for showing a broad range and combining insightful analysis will well-formed commentary. Steyn’s work was also commended for highlighting key abuses of power in the economic system.
Bhekisisa staff members have also won several other awards this year, including the Discovery Health Journalist of the Year, the CNN Multichoice African Journalist Features Journalist of the Year, the Standard Bank Sikuvile Features Journalist of the Year and the Diageo Responsible Drinking Newspaper Journalist of the Year.
“We’re so proud of Pontsho at Bhekisisa and so excited about her becoming part of our team this year,” said Bhekisisa editor Mia Malan. “Pontsho’s work is an example of that of a young journalist with a critical mind and someone who puts passion and many long hours into well-thought through stories. It resonates perfectly with Bhekisisa’s objective: to tell powerful health stories that occupy a central place in mainstream journalism.”
Khadija Patel, editor of the Mail & Guardian said the awards were an indication of the high standards the M&G sets itself.
“We are committed to excellence in all our work, and these awards show that our journalists consistently produce work that sets the national agenda, while at the same time, honouring our own values,” she said.
Patel also paid tribute to Pilane and Steyn, who she described as talented and hardworking journalists.
“Both Lisa and Pontsho are integral to the success of what we do right now, but they are also crucial to our plans going forward,” she said.
The M&G, Patel said, is well placed to see itself through into a new era.
“We are enjoying a continuing spike in our print circulation, in tandem with growth to our digital traffic,” she said.
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Bhekisisa means "to scrutinise" in Zulu
In South Africa, Zulu patients who would like to be thoroughly assessed by a doctor, would ask the physician to "bhekisisa" them.