Claire Bisseker (centre) Sanlam journalist of the year 2019
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Chuks Udo Okonta
Sanlam Group, owners of FBNInsurance Limited recently held its 2019 Sanlam Awards for Excellence in Financial Journalism at a socially distanced gala event in South Africa recently.
Two Nigerian Journalists from BusinessDay newspapers: Caleb Ojewale and Isaac Anyaogo emerged the 1st and 2nd runner ups respectively. Omar Mohammed of Reuters News, Kenya also emerged as 2ndrunner up with Isaac.
Amid stiff competition, Claire Bisseker was named the Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year 2019 for her outstanding analysis of South Africa’s complex economy. Bisseker who also won the Economy category award, is a regular contender in the competition. She has won the financial journalist of the year award in 2013 and as a joint winner in 2014.
The Sanlam Financial Journalist Award is an annual event open to all journalists who practise in Africa, the African Growth Story prize recognises stories covering the significance of business and investment on the continent. Entries are focused on the growth of the continent in terms of investments, infrastructure development, economic progress and related topics.
This year a total of 113 entries were received for the awards, which were established by Sanlam 45 years ago in a bid to recognise and reward exceptional financial journalism. The work judged was all produced in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, and spans the African continent.
Sanlam Group CEO Paul Hanratty says: “A vibrant society needs strong media. In Africa, financial journalists have a profound impact in keeping us informed, helping to uncover corruption, tell our strong growth stories and act as watchdog for companies, government, markets and economy. Against a background of change within their own industry, we commend the outstanding work these professionals do and look forward to continuing our support of the industry.”
Val Ojumah, MD/CEO, FBNInsurance, congratulated the two Nigerian Journalists: Caleb Ojewale and Isaac Anyaogo as well as BusinessDay newspaper for the feat achieved for representing Nigeria creditably in the competition.
The Newcomer of the Year award went jointly to Thando Maeko of Mail & Guardian and Donald Magomere of Kenya’s Financial Times. Both demonstrated a vibrancy and poignancy in their storytelling on various topics ranging from investment to the economy.
The 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award went to Caroline Southey. Over a period of more than 20 years, Southey has served as an editor, media strategist, financial journalist, speechwriter, communications specialist and contributor to government policymaking. She is also passionate about mentoring and motivating novice business journalists wherever she practices the journalism profession. Caroline continues to contribute to journalism as editor of The Conversation.
Nixon Kariithi led the independent judging panel for the first time this year and was joined by Paula Fray, Xhanti Payi, Ylva Rodny-Gumede and Ulrich Joubert. New judges, bringing diversity and extensive experience in pan-African journalism, joined the panel this year and they were Angela Agaowike based in Nigeria, David Moepeng in Botswana, Tom Indimuli in Kenya, and Richard-Stovin Bradford based in the United Kingdom.
Commenting on Bisseker’s achievement as the overall winner, Kariithi says the award recognises the collective value brought to the financial journalism profession by an outstanding individual for consistent professionalism, influential reporting and inspirational contributions. “What made Claire stand out was her ability to pick the key stories in the news cycle and convey these to the public in a way that helps readers have a deeper understanding of the issues prevailing in the South African economy and beyond.”
The full list of winners and runners-up across categories were:
Winner: Pauli van Wyk, Daily Maverick
First runner-up: Ryk van Niekerk, Moneyweb
Second runner-up: Dewald van Rensburg, amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism
Winner: Claire Bisseker, Financial Mail
First runner-up: Londiwe Buthelezi, Business Day / Fin24
Second runner-up: Fifi Peters, CNBC Africa
Financial Markets award
Winner: Ann Crotty, Financial Mail
First runner-up: Rob Rose, Financial Mail
Second runner-up: Giulietta Talevi, Financial Mail
Consumer Financial Education award
Winner: Maya Fisher-French, Maya on Money / City Press / eNCA
First runner-up: Marteli Brewis, Kuier
Second runner-up: Ryk van Niekerk, Moneyweb
African Growth Story award
Winner: Tom Collins, African Business magazine (Kenya)
First runner-up: Caleb Ojewale, Business Day (Nigeria)
Joint second runners-up: Isaac Anyaogu, Business Day (Nigeria) and Omar Mohammed, Reuters News (Kenya)
Established in 1974, the Sanlam Awards for Excellence in Financial Journalism recognises and rewards exceptional financial journalism. The awards are the premier financial journalism awards in South Africa. The winner of each category receives a prize of R25 000, while the overall winner receives an additional R35 000 and the best newcomer prize amounts to R20 000.
Sanlam is a diversified financial services group, headquartered in South Africa, operating across 42 countries worldwide -34 African countries, 8 countries outside of Africa. Sanlam have created value for its stakeholders for over a 100 years since 1918 as they continue to contribute to financial resilience and prosperity in all the countries where they are present.