National Press Club names #FeesMustFall as Newsmaker of the Year for 2015

The National Press Club has named #FeesMustFall as the Newsmaker of the Year for 2015.

This annual award, made by the press club since 1980, awards a newsmaker in a calendar year based on the amount of media coverage received as well as the impact thereof. Nominations and motivations are received from press club members and a final decision made by the executive committee of the club.

“The decision to name #FeesMustFall as the newsmaker for 2015 was unanimous,” says club chairman Jos Charle. “This was a major game-changer in our country. There is no doubt that tertiary education in South Africa will never be the same again.

“The last time the students of our country were united in a common cause like that was in 1976 when they protested against Afrikaans as a medium of instruction. However, this time around, #FeesMustFall received support across many sectors of our society, including students from across the globe,” he says.

“What the #FeesMustFall movement has brought to the fore is the plight of many poor South Africans whose ambitions of studying at our universities remain far-fetched due to the rising cost of higher education. Also notable with this movement, is how the power of technology can, in no time, bring people together in a common purpose.”

He says the role of the social media, complemented by widespread reports in traditional news media, has been instrumental in the success of the campaign. “The #FeesMustFall campaign spread across all university campuses like wildfire and dominated the news environment for at least three weeks. The fact that it led to President Jacob Zuma announcing that there would be no increase in tertiary education fees for 2016 illustrates the success and impact of the campaign.”

The National Press Club is synonymous with the Newsmaker of the Year award. Over the years the club has recognised and awarded many newsmakers. Previous recipients include President Jacob Zuma, former presidents Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk and Thabo Mbeki, Hollywood star Charlize Theron and Thuli Madonsela. Last year the award went to the Oscar Pistorius trial.

The press club’s newsmaker event will be held in Pretoria soon.

Enquiries: Jos Charle, Tel 073 816 4483