South African journalists faced unprecedented risk while reporting during the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, the national lockdown had dried up advertising funding for many publishers, resulting in over 100 print and online titles closing permanently.
Faced with the increasing juniorisation of newsrooms, slashed funding and higher levels of unemployment, the media in South Africa was in crisis. The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) wanted to honour those on the frontline of reporting in South Africa and raise awareness about the importance a free and fair media plays in our democracy.
The 2020 annual Nat Nakasa Award would be awarded to all journalists reporting on Covid-19 for their courage in the face of danger. However, because of lockdown all social gatherings were cancelled. So, with non-profit-level funding, we helped conceptualise, produce and flight a documentary to celebrate the South African media’s coverage of the pandemic.
The documentary would be simultaneously broadcast across all mainstream media platforms with supporting content to amplify the media’s role beyond the documentary.