Linda Mnisi of Soweto TV named M&G Community Media Journalist of the Year
The inaugural M&G Community Media Journalist of the Year Award was won by newcomer and Soweto TV journalist Linda Mnisi at the annual Township Entrepreneurship Awards (TEAs) held at Carnival City in Ekurhuleni on April 7.
According M&G Africa managing director Anastacia Martin, the main objective of the category was to recognise and reward entrepreneurial talent in township settlements while building and cementing confidence in township-based businesses.
“Equally important is the impact that the awards will have in changing negative perceptions about township-based businesses as well as encouraging and inspiring township entrepreneurs to realise the conceivable economic gains for the communities within which they operate,” she said.
“The Mail & Guardian is a proud sponsor of the inaugural M&G Community Media Journalist of the Year category. The nominees have played a vital role in keeping those in their immediate locality informed by presenting stories that impact their daily lives.
These journalists are the most important and reliable contributors to trusted reportage in any community and the Mail & Guardian is an honoured supporter of their endeavours.”
Mnisi, who was ecstatic after he was announced as the winner, told the M&G afterwards that he was honoured to be the first recipient of the prestigious award.
“This category is the first of its kind in the township entrepreneurship awards and it is such an honor to be the first to take it,” said Mnisi.
“I officially started working as a journalist last year in November, and with only five months as an official journalist it gives me great pleasure to see such a positive response from this. Prior to being hired as a journalist, I was an intern at Soweto TV and being mentored by Nelisiwe Nxumalo, our news editor. I learnt everything from her.”
His senior reporter colleague, Thabang Sola, said he was pretty chuffed with the launch of the inaugural M&G Community Media Journalist of the Year award because journalists working in poorer communities were less recognised.
“It is really assuring to know that community journalists will be recognised at such a big ceremony. I was even more ecstatic after finding out that our own newsroom would be considered for the category,” Sola told the M&G after awards ceremony.
He said community-based journalists were the voice of the voiceless and the ears of the community.
“They play a very vital role in bridging the gap between the government and the community they serve. I think our role is to hold officials accountable and report back to our communities.”
The gong comes few months before Soweto TV celebrates ten years of existence.
“Ten years. What a milestone. And the station keeps growing in leaps and bounds. What a humbling journey and experience to be part of the growth of such a gem to be counted among the number of great reporters and media personalities that have been produced by the station,” he said.
“The station has a number of celebrations lined up from the month of June until December in celebrations that include going back to the community of Soweto and stakeholders and thanking them for their support.”
He congratulated Mnisi, saying, “Linda was excited to hear that he was nominated let alone winning the actual award. He is one of our seasoned news reporters and he is so excited that within just a year, with the channel he is now the first community journalist to receive the M&G Media Journalist of the Year, an early gift as we mark 10 years of broadcast. This speaks to the fact that Soweto TV are the pioneers in community media. We hope this is the start of more awards for our reporters and that we will continue to lead.”