Announcing the 2019 Rising Stars in Media winners

The FIPP Rising Stars in Media Awards 2019, kindly supported by UPM – The Biofore Company, recognise outstanding work in the global media industry. Submissions came from all over the world, including Africa, Europe, America and Asia. 


Soga Mbali Media24 ()

2019 FIPP Rising Stars Overall Winner: Soga Mbali, Editor of True Love magazine, Media24, South Africa

Soga Mbali was appointed editor of South Africa’s True Love magazine in November 2018 and tasked with giving a full turn around to the brand. 

“I took the brand back to a consumer – centric model, including our tag line “all a woman needs”. I took out most celebs (except for the cover) and fleshed the content with a more consumer-focused model and included our biggest supporter – the reader – in almost all our content. Basically, going back to basics. I also increased our physical touchpoints with our audience, meaning more experiences and events.”

Nerisa Coetzee, General Manager of Media24’s monthly magzines, says: “Under Mbali’s leadership, True Love magazine as a brand (including print, digital, event and diverse revenue platforms) has exceeded expectations. True Love was undoubtedly the highlight of the fiscal in Media24’s Lifestyle portfolio. Their success is due to advertising and circulation against the prior year. Mbali also expanded the brand’s portfolio of ticketed events, cementing a diverse revenue stream for the brand’s future. We believe that this past year has established events such as True Love Night of Style, Empower Yourself, Cooking Schools and Financial Workshops for growth in 2019 and beyond.

Mbali started her turn-around strategy with a client roadshow and PR campaign, sharing her vision for the brand. Furthermore, she managed to nurture her team, using existing talent in the right places, sourcing new talent where they were falling short, with the end result being quality content that secured circulation growth quarter on quarter in 2018. Her passion to empower the South African female market continues to inspire us across multiple platforms.”

Our overall winner will have the chance to join the FIPP board of directors for 12 months as a non-voting observer.


2019 FIPP Rising Stars Winners

(In alphabetical order)


Rachel Boom Saloon ()

Rachel Arthur, Founder and Creative Director, Boom Saloon

Janine Matheson, Committee Chair, Boom, says: “Chairing the Boom committee is an honour – I’ve watched Rachel grow since she was a freelancer and boom saloon was a spark of an idea. To see how it has been nurtured and developed since then is a joy. In the past year Rachel has worked strategically to make some real power moves in a challenging industry which will undoubtedly serve as a bounce board for boom’s next steps; her hard work, resilience and refusal to ever give up have placed boom in a strong position and we’re all excited for the next moves.”


Kieran TR OK ()

Kieran Guilbert, Slavery and Trafficking Editor, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Belinda Goldsmith, Editor-in-Chief, Thomson Reuters Foundation, says: “Kieran joined the Thomson Reuters Foundation five years ago as a junior reporter and has gone from strength to strength, to become one of the most prominent journalists globally covering human trafficking and slavery. After one year in our London reporting team and two years as our West Africa correspondent in Senegal, he now leads a team of nine journalists around the world dedicated to this topic, initiating and leading investigations on the drive to combat slavery and transparency of supply chains that have led to action from both governments and companies. Winning awards for his work, he is now also in high demand as a speaker and trainer at the top global conferences on trafficking and slavery.”



Helen Pye Immediate Media ()

Helen Pye, Senior Digital Writter, Hitched, Immediate Media

Helen says: “My expertise in SEO, digital content planning, and writing quality editorial content has seen Hitched thrive and draw in over 1.2million unique users a month. I have embraced the commercial opportunities at Hitched also: my work delivers significant editorial and social partnership deals that have seen Hitched smash profit predictions month after month in a tough climate.”



Tom River Group ()

Tom Rowley, Editor, Healthy for Men, River Group

Ellie Hughes, Editorial Director, says: “Tom is an ambassador for his brand in the truest sense. From the obvious – a serious gym habit and a dedication to eating six protein-packed meals a day – to the more subtle – a personal commitment to genuinely meaningful content about male mental wellbeing issues. Tackling male loneliness, anxiety and grief, alongside the traditional fitness and nutrition content, has given HFM a modern relevancy to a new audience and greater depth as a general health media brand. It’s also seen him be invited to speak on toxic masculinity at the Festival of Marketing. Tom can work across platforms to a high level of expertise – his detailed and careful podumentaries have won nominations at the British Podcast Awards and the Mind Media Awards alongside much bigger hitters. Sales and engagement stats are healthy, but it’s Tom’s vision and drive that have really enabled HFM to punch well above its weight.”


Rachel S OK ()


Rachel Savage, LGBT+ Correspondent, Thomson Reuters Foundation

“With a mandate of delivering fair, accurate and impartial news to a world that isn’t, I have broken multiple stories for Openly, TRF’s dedicated LGBT+ news site. In doing so I have become one of the world’s leading specialist LGBT+ reporters, with expertise on topics from transgender sportspeople to the scapegoating of gay and trans people by right-wing politicians,” says Rachel.


2019 Highly Commended Rising Stars

Alex Crossley, Digital Editor, Olive magazine, Immediate Media

Laura Jenkins, Digital Marketing Manager, BBC Good Food, Immediate Media

Emily Maitland, Account Manager, River Group

Christoph Pagel, Journalist, Burda Asia

Shahyan Tahseen, Presenter, Rudaw Media Network


Corporate Awards

The following media companies also receive recognition due to the high quality of submissions:  

River Group

Immediate Media

Thomson Reuters Foundation


The FIPP Rising Stars Awards will be presented on 12 November, during the UPM Night of the FIPP World Media Congress in Las Vegas.


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