Debora Patta, group editor-in-chief of eNews, has been named this year’s winner of the prestigious Vodacom Women in the Media Award for 2009.
The award was presented to Patta during an event held at Summer Place, Sandton, today. It recognises the substantial contribution she has made to the broadcast media industry over the years and the role she has played in the launch of the 24-hour eNews Channel. Patta was also lauded for her continued commitment to the training and mentoring of up-and-coming journalists.

Sbu Mpungose, editor of Bona magazine, was presented with the Vodacom Rising Star Award – an accolade that applauds the efforts of a woman under the age of 30 who is already making an impact on the media industry. During her role as editor of Move! Magazine and now Bona, both titles experienced significant gains in circulation and readership.

Women of Influence

Pitted against Professor Jane Duncan, the former executive director of the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) who now holds the chair of Media and Information Society at Rhodes University; Esmaré Weideman, editor of YOU, Huisgenoot, DRUM, YOU Pulse, Huisgenoot-Pols and Huisgenoot-Tempo, and Terry Volkwyn, CEO of Primedia Broadcasting, Patta joins an elite list of past winners. These include Pheladi Gwangwa, station manager of Talk Radio 702 (2008), Patricia Scholtemeyer, CEO of M-Net (2007), Ferial Haffajee, then editor of the Mail & Guardian (2006) and Libby Lloyd, then CEO of the Media Development and Diversity Agency (2005).

Established as an initiative of The Media magazine, the annual competition seeks to recognise exceptional women who have made their mark within the media sphere. Since its inception seven years ago, the awards programme has grown dramatically. The challenge facing the judging panel each year is to make a final selection from finalists of an incredibly high calibre.

“Our overall winner was selected from 33 nominations,” says Sandra Gordon, publisher at Wag the Dog Publishers. “The judging panel had to consider what they had achieved across the social, political and economic environments and ask, ‘Is this the woman who will inspire newcomers to the media industry?’

“All four of our nominees are inspiring, senior, no-nonsense and – dare I say it – pretty ballsy. It was a tough decision. These are women who have invested their time and knowledge into promoting the media industry, whether it is through training and skills development or increasing the all-important audience figures of their respective products,” says Gordon.

Source: The Media on line