By Andries van Zyl FCJ Limpopo member
The FCJ (Forum of Community Journalists) is an independent, non-profit, non-racial and voluntary organisation (and is in the process of turning into a Section 21 company) striving to promote and express the interests of all journalists employed on a permanent or freelance basis at regional community newspapers, magazines and online community publications in South Africa.
Representing hundreds of journalists from among the estimated 500 community newspapers across the country, the FCJ takes great pride in their duty to safeguard press freedom as the corner stone of any healthy democracy. The national management committee (Board of Directors) also comprise a group of volunteers.
Over the last 20 years, the FCJ’s main mandate remained the same: To provide training to its members through initiatives such as their four regional seminars and one national seminar annually. The national seminar coincides with the FCJ’s prestigious Awards for Community Press. This event is regarded as the “Oscars” of the South African community press industry and in recent history it is known as the Sanlam/MDDA Community Media Awards.
The regional seminars include one for Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo (also called No Guts, No Glory), one Eastern Cape and the Garden Route, one for North West and the Free State and one for the Western Cape. Training is provided free of charge in the form of editorial talks and workshops by industry leaders and members of the country’s top tertiary institutions. Training seminars are scheduled over a one or two day period to accommodate newspapers who cannot afford to go without their journalists for a longer period of time. This is especially the case with emerging publications and journalists from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. Being free, these seminars provide many a training opportunity which, under normal circumstances, would not have been possible or even affordable. The seminars are therefore extremely popular.
The local media industry’s star shone brightly last Friday at the annual Local Media Excellence Awards for 2015 held at Leriba Hotel and Spa in Centurion.
These awards have been presented under the auspices of the Forum of Community Journalists (FCJ) for over two decades.
At the annual Local Media Excellence Awards (previously known as the Sanlam/MDDA Local Media awards) local and community newspapers from all over the country and across all media houses compete against each other to award the best of the best in South Africa.
In the judges’ report they state the following: “In general, the judges were impressed with the work submitted by the finalists. The local media is clearly in the forefront of informing (and entertaining) the communities they serve. In fact, print media is far from dying when one looks at the local media newspapers. On the contrary, it is alive and kicking.”
CALL FOR ENTRIES
Presented by the Forum of Community Journalists
The Annual Local Media Excellence Awards is aimed at encouraging excellence and rewarding meritorious work and was previously sponsored and organised by Sanlam, who has unfortunately decided to terminate its participation in the annual local media awards .
The competition has always been presented under the auspices of the FCJ, so the management committee has decided that the competition will continue. The FCJ has also decided to rename the competition to The Annual Local Media Excellence Awards and will be organising the competition. We have re-introduced two categories: editorial comment and headlines.
The Local Media Excellence Awards is open to any editorial staff member (permanent or freelance) working for a local print newspaper or magazine in South Africa.
The competition covers the period 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015 and the closing date for entries is 31 March 2016. The awards ceremony will be held in May 2016. Details to follow.
Download the entry form here!
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It is with a sense of heavy-heartedness that the Forum of Community Journalists (FCJ) has to announce that Sanlam has decided to terminate its participation in the annual local media awards. As many local and community journalists in South Africa know, Sanlam has played a huge role in the annual local media awards over the past 24 years.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Sanlam for their contribution over the past two decades – thanks to them the competition has grown in stature and is regarded as the most prestigious competition for local media in the country,” says Marita Meyer, chairperson of the FCJ
“The print competition has always been presented under the auspices of the FCJ, so the management committee has decided that the competition will continue, albeit without a main sponsor for now. The FCJ has also decided to rename the competition to The Annual Local Media Excellence Awards,” she says.
The convener of the 2016 Local Media Excellence Awards is Mr Hugo Redelinghuys, the FCJ management committee member for the Garden Route and Eastern Cape. “Hugo was the convener of the competition for many years when he still worked at Sanlam, and with his expertise and experience, the 2016 competition is in the best hands possible. He will be assisted by the rest of the FCJ management committee,” says Meyer.
A panel of judges consisting of experts in the local print media industry will be announced in due course.
The call for entries will be sent during the week of 18 February. Regular updates will be posted on www.fcjonline.co.za.