Charleen Clarke has been recognised as South Africa’s top commercial vehicle journalist in the recent SA Guild of Motoring Journalists’ Motoring Journalist of the Year awards.
The award was made possible by Hino South Africa, which sponsors the category and the winner’s prize money. It is the second consecutive year that Hino has sponsored this award.
“Commercial vehicles are truly the life-blood of the South African economy. This industry’s vehicle sales are considered by many as a leading indicator of the state of the economy and it remains an important employer, manufacturer and investor in new technologies,” says Ernie Trautmann, Vice President of Hino South Africa.
“With this in mind, we are extremely proud to support the South African Guild’s awards and specifically the category that recognises journalists who shine a light on this important sector.”
Clarke is the editor of FOCUS on Transport and Logistics, a mainstay publication in the commercial vehicle market. She is a past winner of the overall SAGMJ Motoring Journalist of the Year Award and has also won the Commercial Vehicle category on a previous occasion.
In judging her the winner of the category, judges remarked that Clarke’s deep knowledge of the industry allowed her to find unique and interesting stories, while proving insightful and accurate commentary on the industry and the diverse commercial vehicle sector.
“Charleen is a worthy winner of this award,” says Trautmann. “As a seasoned journalist, she is perhaps the only writer who has consistently covered both the passenger and commercial vehicle markets. Her depth of knowledge of the industry is exceptional, as is her work ethic.”
A commercial vehicle writer since 1988, Clarke has risen through the ranks to become editor of FOCUS, while also being selected as a judge in the International Truck of the Year Awards. She remains the only commercial vehicle journalist from the African continent to serve on this coveted panel of judges.
Clarke says that she is elated at winning the award. “I think everyone appreciates recognition – and I most certainly do. This award, which came as a big surprise to me, has certainly touched my heart! It is so wonderful to know that my efforts are being noticed. It will inspire me to try even harder in the future.
“I am enormously grateful to Hino for sponsoring this award, which will certainly uplift the standards of transport journalism in South Africa. I hope that it will also encourage more young people to become transport journalists; we really need more young talent in our industry.”
However, she says that the award is not hers alone. “I am extremely fortunate to work with a talented team of individuals. These people inspire, motivate and support me on a daily basis. The team has made FOCUS the leading magazine in the South African commercial industry; I have certainly not achieved this singlehandedly.
“Furthermore, I am fortunate in that I have access to superb material – thanks to companies such as Hino. The transport industry is at the forefront of developments in technology; we are seeing innovations being announced monthly – such as the launch of electric trucks, for instance. I am very proud of our industry, which is evolving faster than ever before. This level of innovation certainly makes my job a lot easier.”
Clarke recently returned from a two-week visit to China, where she was one of only two international guest judges of the Chinese Truck of the Year competition. She was also the only African judge on the Women’s World Car of the Year panel and is a member of the jury of the South African Car of the Year competition.
The SAGMJ Motoring Journalist of the Year Awards was made possible by Toyota Financial Services.