The trio were handed their award at a gala event in Lusaka, Zambia on Saturday night for the video Leasing Scams: A Dummy's Guide. The piece was created to explain the complex leasing scam investigation done by McKune, who works for the M&G's Centre for Investigative Journalism, amaBhungane.
Member of the judging panel, France Télévisions editor-in-chief, Jean-Paul Gérouard, said: "This dummy's guide to leasing scams is a good example of what you can achieve by using multimedia tools. The Mail & Guardian had produced an impressive investigation story on how to rip off taxpayers with state leases."
"It is such an honour for us to receive this award, particularly as this is the first year that online journalism has been recognised," said M&G Online deputy editor Verashni Pillay.
"This new award, if I may, represents the future of journalism on this continent in so many ways. The work that we do at the M&G and as African journalists seeks to tell the truth, to uncover corruption, to guard the guardians, as it were. To do that, we need to use every tool at our disposal – be it social media, audio visual stories, or the sheer reach that mobile and online journalism offers. In doing so we will do a better job of informing our audience, a better job of holding those in power accountable and a better job of making this continent the place it could be," said Pillay.
The awards have been running since 1995 and the digital journalism category was created for the first time in 2012. The criteria for the category stipulated entries needed to show creativity with the use of digital platforms to tell the story. The M&G's piece was chosen winner from 1 799 entries from 42 nations across Africa.
M&G Online editor Chris Roper said: "The award is great recognition of the work the M&G has done to break down the barriers between 'traditional' and digital journalism. The winning piece combines the best of deep investigative journalism with the most useful of digital storytelling tools, to give the reader a story that's compelling on multiple levels. It's the way African journalism should be done, and the way it will be done in the near future."
South Africans did well at the awards overall, scooping seven of the accolades for print, radio and niche reporting.
"The M&G is renowned for its important investigations, which are often quite complex. At the M&G Online we try to unpack these sometimes difficult to understand stories and show our audience why it's important in an easily accessible way, using the various online tools at our disposal," said Pillay.