Jeremy Gordin joins Wits

Politicsweb columnist to run Justice Project at university


Jeremy Gordin, the 2007 Mondi Shanduka South African Journalist of the Year, joins the Investigative Journalism Workshop's Justice Project at Wits University. He will be running the Project along with renowned journalist, Jacques Paauw, who becomes an Honorary Fellow of the programme. Gordin joined Wits on 1 August 2009.

"I am really looking forward to getting my teeth into this project," says Gordin. "They say that those who can, do, and that those who can't, teach. But I'll be trying to make certain that there is as much doing as teaching."

The Wits Justice Project investigates the plight of those locked up in South Africa's prisons. High crime levels means the fate of prisoners is not high on the public agenda. While the presumption of innocence is one of the fundamental principles of justice in a democratic society, it is widely assumed that prisoners, whether sentenced or not, are behind bars for a reason. For many, however, this is not the case.

In partnership with the Wits Law Clinic, the Legal Resource Centre, the Open Democracy Advice Centre, the Julia Mashele Trust and the US Innocence Project, the Wits Justice project investigates the individual cases of wrongly convicted and awaiting trial prisoners.

"This project is a very exciting experimentation in working with journalism students to investigate and expose injustices and to have Jeremy lead it - with his vast experience and reputation - is a major boon," adds Prof. Anton Harber, Head of Wits Journalism.

Gordin has a string of awards to his name, having also won Mondi Shanduka awards in 2003 and 2004 for news writing and creative journalism respectively.

An accomplished journalist and poet, Gordin was also the recipient of the WWB Legal (Print) Journalist of the Year Award (2007) and has two poetry awards to his name - the Vita/Arthur Nortje Memorial Poetry Award (1992) and the AA Mutual Life/Vita Poetry Award (1987).

Gordin served as the Associate Editor of The Sunday Independent, The Sunday Tribune and The Sunday Argus for the last three years.

From 2003 - 2005 he was Acting Editor of the Independent News Network and Group Special Writer. Prior to this, he was appointed Managing Editor and News Editor of The Sunday Independent.

His journalism background dates back to the late seventies and early eighties when he cut his teeth in the profession as a writer and sub-editor on The Rand Daily Mail, Cape Times, Sunday Express, Financial Mail, Frontline magazine and The Northern California Jewish Bulletin.

Gordin has co-authored two books of investigative journalism, The Infernal Tower (1996) and A Long Night's Damage (1998) and is also the author of three collections of poetry. He is widely known for the biography that he completed last year on the life and times of President Jacob Zuma.

Born in Pretoria 1952, Gordin studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel and UNISA. He is married with two children.

Statement issued by Shirona Patel, Wits Communications Manager, August 6 2009

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