The NWU held its Spokesperson of the Year awards evening on 15 November. The winners are Prof Albert Helberg, Mr Theo Venter (second runner-up overall), Prof Raymond Parsons (2015 NWU Spokesperson of the Year), Prof André Duvenhage (runner-up overall), Adv René Koraan and Prof Peet van der Merwe.
Top spokespersons receive their due
Speaking words of wisdom has its perks as the NWU’s most prolific spokespersons can confirm.
The university’s top spokespersons were rewarded for sharing their expertise and making a positive contribution to the media landscape during the seventh annual awards ceremony in November last year.
The awards were held for the 2015 period and top honours went to Prof Raymond Parsons of the NWU’s School of Business and Governance. He was named as the individual who was quoted the most in 2015 of all NWU spokespersons.
Raymond was mentioned in the media more than 300 times. In addition to his prize money, he also received a floating trophy for his contribution.
The first runner-up in this category was Prof André Duvenhage of the focus area Social Transformation in the Faculty of Arts on the Potchefstroom Campus, followed by Mr Theo Venter of the NWU School of Business and Governance. Both André and Theo are previous winners of the coveted title.
The numbers speak for themselves
The NWU prides itself on the outstanding quality of its experts and this expertise is also held in high esteem by the media as is evident in the hundreds of quotes and mentions NWU staff regularly receive in newspapers, online media, radio and television.
In 2015 a total of 8 958 media mentions of the NWU were monitored. This is an increase of more than 1 700 on the 2014 number.
The 2015 articles had a total advertising equivalent value of R197 million. This is an increase of more than R100 million, compared to the previous year. Of the media items analysed, 3 972 appeared in print media, 775 in broadcast media and 4 211 in online media.
Recognition for outstanding contributions
“The aim of an event of this nature is not only to award our top achievers, but also to give recognition to those who are beginning to become household names, and then of course the ones who are only entering the media space,” said Prof Dan Kgwadi, vice-chancellor of the NWU.
“Recognition is also given to comments on a specific subject or an NWU event that caused a noticeable increase in media mentions during a specific period.”
He said 2015 was a challenging year for the university, when the first wave of the #FeesMustFall movement hit the country. “The university also went through the process of having a new strategy approved by Council; a process which also presented its own challenges in the media.”
Ongoing topics which dominated the media were sport, expert opinions, quality of education and innovation, research and, as always, achievements of alumni.