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By Pearl Majola, 24 June 2015
This is the second year in a row Bisseker has walked off with the top prize. This year, a financial journalist from outside South Africa also took one of the main accolades – the Best Newcomer Award went to Neville Otuki of Business Daily in Kenya.
Peter Bruce, editor-in-chief of Business Day, Financial Mail and BusinessDayTV, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Bruce has served journalism for nearly 40 years and has covered stories locally and abroad, where he was based at Financial Times for nearly 20 years. The judging panel commented that Bruce has “a passion for what makes good journalism, and a belief that what journalists do is good for democracy”. They pointed out that he has been “opinionated and challenging – he has stuck his head above the parapet, and had it shot at quite a few times”.
As well as being named joint Financial Journalist of the Year with Whitfield, Bisseker took top honours in both the Economy (platform neutral) and African Growth Story (platform neutral) categories. “She writes with so much insight and clarity, recognising that information that people want is not what happened in the past but rather what will likely happen in the future,” said Peter Vundla, convenor of the judging panel and chairman of AMB Capital Ltd.
Whitfield was also named Radio Financial Journalist of the Year (platform specific) and Multimedia Financial Journalist of the Year (platform specific). He was a finalist in the Consumer Financial Education (platform neutral) and Television Financial Journalist of the Year (platform specific) categories. Vundla said Whitfield was “in a different class when it comes to multimedia. His contribution to the evolving business story on multiple platforms is paramount, making him one of the most visible faces of financial journalism”.
The Best Newcomer Award recognises a significant contribution by a journalist reporting on the economy, financial markets, consumer education, business or the African growth story. Vundla said the judging panel was impressed by Otuki’s entries, which focused on entrepreneurship. “His well-written pieces included a comparative study of Kenya and Korea in the 1960s, when these two countries’ economies were on par, questioning what has set them apart over the years,” he said.
Platform neutral awards
Platform specific awards
Desmond Smith, chairman of Sanlam Limited, said the 40-year milestone of the Sanlam Awards for Excellence in Financial Journalism has served to redouble the Group’s commitment to honouring the role that financial journalists play in the economy and the corporate sector. “In an era of unprecedented and far-reaching change, the role of financial journalists has never been more important. By reporting on and interpreting the economic landscape, they have the ability to change perception. They influence how a nation thinks,” he said.
An independent panel of judges – which includes media experts, an academic and an economist – judged the 2014 entries according to the following criteria: news value, impact, rigour in reporting, analytical value, originality, integrity, specialist knowledge and storytelling.