The FCJ Excellence Awards remains the only national newspaper competition for the South African community press.
The 2020 top honours went to Samantha Lee-Jacobs from People's Post who was announced as the FCJ Journalist of the Year, while Wayne van der Walt from Highvelder took the title of FCJ Photographer of the Year.
The Alet Roux Award is given by the judges to a journalist who has been in the industry for less than three years and who is a finalist in the Journalist of the Year category.
The judges say that they were impressed with the quality of work entered by young journalists and the winner of 2020 is Jarryd Westerdale from Roodepoort Record and Northsider.
The Newspaper categories saw South Coast Sun, Kempton Express, Vaalweekblad and Paarl Post win in their respective categories.
The winner in Sports Photography was Ettienne van Rensburg from Vaalweekblad. Top photographer Wayne van der Walt also dominated in the remainder of the Photography sections as he won both General News and Hard News Photography.
Investigative reporting was won by Jon Houzet from Talk of the Town with the top journalist, Samantha Lee-Jacobs taking the winner's title in Hard News and Digital Reportage categories.
The newly introduced Covid-19 reportage category was won by Middelburg Observer's Daleen Naude with Tygerburger's Nielen de Klerk taking top honours in Human Interest Writing.
George Herald’s Hugo Redelinghuys was the 2020 Top Sports Journalist, while Ettienne van Rensburg won the headlines category.
The Best Columnist for the Year was Phumelelo Hlati from The Representative, while Jon Houzet from Talk of the Town won the Editorial Comment category. In the best front page categories, the winners were Bedfordview and Edenvale News in the corporate-owned free section and Knysna-Plett Herald in the corporate-owned paid section.
The winner in the Newspaper of the Year Corporate-owned Free (pagination 24 and less) was South Coast Sun, edited by Roelien D’Amico. The Watts Trophy for Newspaper of the Year Corporate-owned Free (pagination 24 and more) was Kempton Express, edited by Marietta Lombard.
The Hultzer Trophy for Newspaper of the Year Corporate-owned Paid (circulation 5 000 and less) was Vaalweekblad, edited by Elsje Vermeulen. The Cronwright Trophy for Newspaper of the Year Corporate-owned paid publication (circulation 5 000 and more) went to Paarl Post, edited by Lise Beyers.
The judges for the 2020 competition were:
- André Gouws
- Cornia Pretorius
- Thalyta Louw-Swanepoel
- Hennie Stander
- Willem Kempen
- Colin Hoffman
- Marita Meyer
- Pedro Diederichs
- Johann de Jager
- Johann Maarman
- Marlene Malan
- Hennie Homann
- Eddie Alberts
- Sarie van der Berg, and
- Janus Snyders and Lizette Odendaal.
The newspaper categories remain highly contested with judges stating that, after careful consideration, for all the entries the standard can only be described as 'excellent'.
Judges say that the adjudication process confirmed that community newspapers are still the best source of news for a specific community; the most effective platform where communities' voices can be heard and they excel in providing detail in local and relevant news.
The FCJ received support from Caxton Local Media and Media 24. And with these two stalwarts, the forum says that it continues its efforts to ensure reliable, credible media.
The full list of winners can be viewed here.
For more information, visit www.fcjonline.co.za.