INDABA Newsletter | January 2018

New Year’s greetings to all members of the National Press Club

On behalf of the exco, may I wish you a wonderful year ahead – in which all your desires, wishes and wants will be realised.

As you may know, we announced the Newsmaker of the Year at the weekend – the Gupta Leaks. The award will be received by AmaBhungane. We received satisfactory publicity in the media and we are grateful. Thanks to those who sent in the nominations. We are looking at having the awards ceremony soon. Watch this space!

We excitedly enter the year 2018 looking at one or two initiatives to add value to press club members and to our associates and we hope to make an announcement in this regard in the not-too-distant future.

May I again appeal to our members to communicate your needs and hopes about what the press club should mean to you. We welcome all inputs that will help to make our club relevant and in touch. It is important that there is value in belonging to the club. Any ideas that may help build, improve and strengthen our organisation are most welcome.

This is your club – so please speak up.

If you have any thoughts about any news making events or newsmakers we can have for a briefing, please contact the exco.

Equally, if your organisation/company/department/institution can host a monthly forum, discussion evening, or sponsor a particular event, let us know.

The best in 2018!

Jos Charle

Gupta Leaks announced as 2017 Newsmaker of the Year

The Gupta Leaks were named the 2017 National Press Club Newsmaker of the Year and the recipient of the award is the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism.

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 members of the press club and a final decision is made by the executive committee of the club.

“The newsmaker award is neither an accolade nor is it criticism – it represents the dominant themes of the 2017 news cycle,” says club chairman Jos Charle.

The amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism is a non-profit company founded in 2010 by Sam Sole and Stefaans Brümmer. AmaBhungane is isiZulu for Dung Beetles.

“The decision to name the Gupta Leaks as the newsmaker was not an easy one as we saw so many different themes in the 2017 news cycle,” says Charle.

The Gupta Leaks are a set of data disclosed from within the heart of the Gupta family empire. They consist of between 100 000 and 200 000 emails which reveal how the family does business and their engagements with the State and politicians.

AmaBhugane played a vital role in securing, analysing, and disseminating a vast amount of crucial information. In the process they partnered with other media entities, such as Daily Maverick and News24, to make the information public.

“It was a huge responsibility that amaBhungane dealt with in an admirable way. It was an enormous task, but they packaged the information in a way that it made sense to ordinary South Africans,” Charle says.

The Gupta Leaks made an unprecedented impact on the South African news scene and will continue to dominate news headlines.

“The Gupta Leaks was a game changer in our country’s history and will still feature in parliamentary enquiries, court cases and the judicial commission of enquiry into state capture”.

Another strong contender for the 2017 Newsmaker of the Year was: the ANC, its 54th elective conference and presidential candidates Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

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

The annual Newsmaker of the Year function is expected to take place in Pretoria later this year.

Press club partners with MDDA

Independent community media to benefit

More than 200 independent community media entities will be the beneficiaries of a new partnership between the National Press Club and the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA).

This will also see the reach and influence of the press club increased exponentially.

The MDDA was established in terms of an act of parliament with the Department of Communications having oversight. Its vision is to enable access to diversified media for all. It is being funded by private sector media companies and has more than 200 independent media beneficiaries all over the country.

This includes community newspapers, a large number of radio stations and a few community television stations.

Former press club executive committee member William Baloyi was recently seconded from the Government Communication and Information Service to act as CEO of the MDDA.

The aim of the partnership agreement between the press club and the MDDA is to expand the current club membership to include MDDA beneficiaries. The idea is that independent community journalists would benefit from increased interaction with seasoned media practitioners who are currently members of the press club.

This would include training events and current members could expect to be roped in as the partnership develops.

Members of the executive committee of the National Press Club held a special workshop on Saturday 27, January and came up with innovative ways to implement the partnership in practice.

The club and the MDDA are currently finalising the details of the partnership and members are advised to watch this space!

Antoinette Slabbert

The National Press Club turns 40

The National Press Club celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year.

On 12 July 1978 the Pretoria Press Club started with a handful of members. Today it is known as the National Press Club. During the course of the year we will reflect back on the history of the press club with social media posts on Fridays under the hashtag #NPC40years and short articles in this newsletter.

The Pretoria Press Club was the ambitious idea of the late journalist Bernardi Wessels. Tok Grobler was one of the founders. “Bernardi was still at the Rand Daily Mail at that point and suggested that we should start a press club with representatives from all media houses. I remember my membership number was 003.”

One of the first executive committees of the Pretoria Press Club.

Today there are full, associate and student members. “We also had the full membership for journalists and associate membership for media officers in those days, but we also had a ‘country members’ division. That was for the members that came from Johannesburg. I think we then saw Johannesburg as the countryside,” remembers Tok.

The press club’s gatherings of forty years ago had a different character than today’s monthly networking functions. “We had our own bar, emBARgo, in Don Hamilton’s Boulevard Hotel in Struben Street. The regulars, including guys like Roy Devenish and Johan Gieselbach, were there almost every evening after work. Once a month we had a lunch where a newsmaker addressed us.”

Later years the bar was moved to Coleen’s Press Bar at the Proteahof Hotel on the corner of Schoeman and van der Walt Streets. Nowadays the members meet at different locations each month for the networking function. Bernardi was the first chairman of the press club. Johan Gieselbach (then at the SABC, later CEO at the Wool Board) took over from him. “The chairmen came from the SABC for years. After Johan was it me, followed by Robbie Terblance and Pieter Theron,” says Tok.

Francois Lotter (then at Beeld, today at Die Burger) and Koos Liebenberg (then at Citizen) also chaired the club.

“I had the immense privilege to meet Princess Margaret in my time as chairman,” says Tok. “The London Press Club celebrated their 100th anniversary and representatives of press clubs all around the world were invited to the event. I remember SAA paid my flight ticket and I stayed in London for a whole week and visited other journalists on the London press club’s expense.”

For a week he saw how journalists in London worked and socialised. Today Tok still remembers this as a highlight of his career.

Tanya de Vente-Bijker

Submit entries for SADC media awards

South African media have been invited to submit their entries for the 2018 SADC Media Awards competition as the 27 February closing date looms.

“To promote regional integration and cooperation (cross-border issues), the awards aim to recognise excellence in journalism in the area of print, photo, television, radio as well as to encourage media practitioners in member states to cover issues pertaining to the region,” the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) said.

The awards were established following a decision by the Council of Ministers in 1996 to establish a sector that deals with matters relating to, amongst others, information, culture and sport.

These awards serve as part of ensuring a link, coordination and synchronisation between formal structures of SADC governments, civil society, academia, labour and the media.

Journalists who wish to enter the competition can access more information about the competition, including competition rules, on the SADC website. Download the entry form.

News briefings create interest

The press club’s executive committee is hard at work to identify interesting news angles for briefings.

In January the club held two highly successful briefings, one on the listeriosis outbreak and one on the recent spate in kidnappings.

Members should please let the exco know if they have suggestions for briefings that will make the news!


Please send any news, suggestions or information for this newsletter to
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