The Daily Vox, at two years old, has been awarded a silver prize in WAN-IFRA’s World Young Reader Prize in the public service category “for helping young people provide a counter-narrative to what was being reported in many mainstream publications about the #FeesMustFall campaign against rising university tuition charges”.
The jury said: “This is a great example of a successful digital product launch on the wave of a national protest and widespread social change. It does the crucial job of giving voice to marginalized young people and portraying their view of the facts, something which many of the bigger news publishers often forget to do.”
Khadija Patel, co-founder and managing editor of The Daily Vox, said the award is recognition of the hard work that goes into the project.
“It’s gratifying to see our work rewarded, but we know as well that there is a lot more we still need to do,” she said.
Azad Essa, co-founder of The Daily Vox, said all credit was due to the young journalists who knew it was a story they could own.
“We had our pulse on the vibrations on campuses around the country months before it became a nationwide movement because our journalists dared to follow their instinct,” Essa, also a journalist at Al Jazeera English, said.
“Our journalists were told to stick to the basics, to focus on accuracy and let the students tell their story before someone else did it for them.”
The award will be formally conferred on December 1 at the Newseum in Washington DC.
The World Young Reader Prizes are part of WAN-IFRA’s efforts to recognise, encourage and disseminate promising new ideas, thinking and actions to help build stronger and vital news media. World Young Reader Prize-winning strategies are celebrated and shared as they benefit not only the media companies and their young audiences but also society as a whole.
The prizes honour the full range of actions publishers can take to engage the young, starting with the key work of connecting with the newest youth audiences and assuring this new generation understands and appreciates the role of journalism in guarding free expression.
The Daily Vox, launched on 16 June 2014 is an independently funded news website focused on young South Africans. On average, the site receives 200,000 unique visitors per month with a further reach of 150,000 on social media.