National Press Club celebrates 40th anniversary

The information about the club’s history was compiled by Tanya de Vente-Bijker. She is completing her master’s degree in Journalism on the history of the National Press Club.

Today, 12 July 2018, the National Press Club celebrates its 40th anniversary.

On 12 July 1978, the Pretoria Press Club started with a handful of members. Today it is known as the National Press Club and has almost 500 members.

Chairman Jos Charle: “It is an honour and a privilege for me to thank all our members, associates and supporters for the journey so far. That this organisation has lasted this long is thanks to our founding mothers and fathers who all those years ago saw the need to establish what was known as the Pretoria Press Club”.

In 1978, late journalist Bernadi Wessels, then at the Rand Daily Mail, came with the idea to start a press club in Pretoria, similar to the Washington Press Club, with representatives from all media houses. He brought this idea home after his travels as correspondent overseas. Together with other colleagues and the assistance of Joh Groenewald, the idea became reality.

Now, four decades later, the club meets monthly for a networking function and also holds regular discussion evenings and hosts newsmakers at news briefings.

“The National Press Club remains committed towards upholding professional standards in the industry, providing a platform and ensuring newsmakers are accessible to all media – including community media, ensuring that our members have a ‘down time’ from their hectic schedules via our various activities and making sure that our voice is heard in promoting media freedom,” said Charle.

The National Press Club will also continue its efforts to help improve community media through training and development in partnership with various like-minded organisations.

“As we start the next 40 years we would like to add our voice to the call for better working conditions for journalists and for them to be allowed to do their jobs without hindrance or any threat, while equally, we would urge colleagues to remain truthful, accurate and professional in their daily interactions,” said Charle.

The 40th anniversary celebration and the annual Newsmaker of the Year function takes place this evening. Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan will hand over the Newsmaker of the Year 2017 trophy to The amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism.

For more information
Lali van Zuydam or 083 457 3809