Congress of the People (COPE) and ESKOM named National Press Club’s Newsmaker of the Year

The National Press Club has named the Congress of the People (COPE) and ESKOM as
joint Newsmakers of the Year for 2008.
“It was a very tough decision to choose between COPE and ESKOM and therefore the
decision to award a joint newsmaker,” says National Press Club Chairman Patrick Hlahla.
“This award is made annually on the grounds of impact, news value and media attention,
both print and electronic, following nominations received from club members.
“2008 was such a roller-coaster year that we did not always realise what an amazing
news year it was. Nominations like Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma, the Scorpions and Julius
Malema certainly had the executive committee of the club thinking. We are, however,
convinced that these two are equally worthy contenders – hence the decision to make a
joint award,” says Hlahla.
ESKOM made news headlines, especially during the first half of 2008, where COPE
dominated news headlines in the second half of the year with the split from the ANC and
the forming of a new political party.
“The beginning of 2008 saw many South Africans come to terms with a term and system
that had a major impact on everyone in the country’s lives – load shedding. People got
stuck in traffic, small businesses suffered mayor financial losses and the sales of candles
and generators escalated.”
According to Monitoring South Africa (MSA) there were 48 320 unique news items on
ESKOM and the power crisis. MSA says media coverage levels of ESKOM went down in
October and November to half of the volume that was recorded in April and May.
“The last few months of 2008 saw an incredible, dramatic and irrevocable change in the
South African political landscape. What has been described by political commentators
as a sure sign of the maturing of South Africa’s democracy, the political party COPE was
“COPE’s national convention, the launch of its logo, the official launch of the party, the
court cases, its stated intentions and the names of prominent people joining the party,
have been reported on both electronic and print media for most of the latter part of last
year,” says Hlahla.
Details of an awards ceremony for COPE and ESKOM will be announced later.
The National Press Club has named Newsmakers of the Year for more than twenty years
and previous recipients include President Thabo Mbeki and former Presidents Nelson
Mandela and FW de Klerk, the late Hansie Cronjé, the South African Rand, Zachie
Achmat and the Treatment Action Campaign, Charlize Theron, Jacob Zuma, Helen Zille
and a host of other prominent South Africans.
Issued by: Ben Rootman
Junxion Communications
Tel 012 804 8812 / 082 551 4853
For: Patrick Hlahla
National Press Club
Tel 084 274 2817
Date: Thursday, 29 January 2009