Oxpeckers portfolio wins top media award

Oxpeckers portfolio wins top media award

Award-winning work demonstrates the success of transnational multimedia collaborations in environmental journalism

Thumbs-up: ‘Kruger’s contested borderlands’ focuses a multimedia spotlight on alleged land grabs along the Mozambique border. Photo: Filipa Domingues

“World class.” “Some of the best work we have ever seen.”

This is how the judges of the 2018 SABEnviroMedia Awards described our portfolio of work that won the coveted Written Media Award on October 23.

The award was given to Oxpeckers editor Fiona Macleod, who headed up the teams that worked on collaborative multimedia journalism projects showing how local neighbourhoods are surviving disruption by global climate change, and a year-long investigation into the anti-poaching buffer zone along Mozambique and Kruger National Park in South Africa.

This is the third time Oxpeckers has been honoured by the SABEnviroMedia Awards since the centre was launched in October 2013. Its mission is to expose eco-offences by combining traditional investigative reporting with new media tools, data analysis and geo-journalism.

The winning entries in our 2018 portfolio are a series of four ClimaTracker investigations published under the title “What climate change means for your town”, and “Kruger’s contested borderlands” – a transnational multimedia spotlight on alleged land grabs along Kruger’s eastern border.

Both are examples of the success of pioneering collaborations in environmental journalism. They combine the technical expertise of Code for Africa’s team with the investigative environmental techniques of the Oxpeckers network of Associates.

Disrupting the future: New technologies help to tell visually strong climate change stories. Graphic: Wayne Bks

New-era tools

The new-era tools the portfolio showcases include drone photography, soundclips, data visualisations, satellite imagery, social media campaigns, and scrollytelling digital design. Teams of young pioneers charting new ways of telling environmental stories worked together on the portfolio.

Katy Katopodis, seasoned journalist and convenor of the SABEnviroMedia Awards, said more than 200 media entries were received this year. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the sought-after awards, SAB “has made a commitment to keep these awards in line with best global practice”, she said.

“Recognising and rewarding work by the media is an important part of making sure that big business, governments, communities and individuals take accountability for their actions which have an impact on the environment. Your work not only shines a spotlight on the challenges that we face as a human race but also spurs action,” Katopodis said.

Macleod is a previous recipient of the prestigious SAB Nick Steele Award, recognising her contributions to environmental conservation through her pioneering reportage at the Mail & Guardian newspaper, where she was environmental editor for 10 years prior to setting up Oxpeckers.

In 2014 the Oxpeckers Fellowship project won the Print and Online category — just one year after the project was launched – and in 2017 Mark Olalde’s data journalism project on financial provisions for mine closures and rehabilitation won the Written Media Award.

Oxpeckers’ hard work uncovering environmental crimes costs time and money. A donation of as little as R20 can help keep our journalists on the case, and keep the pressure on those looking to exploit our natural resources for personal gain.

Oxpeckers Reporters