President Cyril Ramaphosa was named the 2018 National Press Club Newsmaker of the Year.
This annual award, made by the National Press Club since 1980, awards a newsmaker in a calendar year based on the amount of media coverage received as well as the impact thereof. Nominations and motivations are received from members of the press club and a final decision is made by the executive committee of the club. The National Press Club is the largest club of its kind in South Africa, representing working journalists.
“The newsmaker award is neither an accolade nor is it criticism – it represents the dominant themes of the 2018 news cycle,” club chairman Jos Charle says. Following the 54th ANC National Conference at NASREC in December 2017 and the resignation of former President Jacob Zuma in February 2018, Cyril Ramaphosa became the fifth President of South Africa. Since then, he has been a consistent feature in political and economic news in South Africa.
“The decision to name Cyril Ramaphosa as the newsmaker was an easy one as his election as President, the ‘New Dawn’, ‘Ramaphoria’ and ‘Thuma Mina’ dominated the 2018 news cycle,” says Charle. In February 2018, President Ramaphosa promised South Africans that he would focus his attention on cleaning up governance issues and driving an economic turnaround. “All eyes have been on President Ramaphosa as he navigates a damaged state and a fractious political environment that includes cabinet reshuffles, state capture, corruption as well as failing state-owned enterprises,” Charle says.
The National Press Club is synonymous with the Newsmaker of the Year award. Over the years the club has recognised many newsmakers. Previous recipients include President
Jacob Zuma, former presidents Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk and Thabo Mbeki and Hollywood star Charlize Theron and #FeesMustFall. Last year Gupta Leaks were named the Newsmaker of the Year and the recipient of the award was the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism. The annual Newsmaker of the Year function is expected to take place in Pretoria later this year.