Wendy Knowler is a well-known South African journalist, based in Durban, KwaZulu Natal. Knowler has over twenty years experience and has made a name for herself in the field of consumer journalism. She is most widely recognised as the presenter of Consumerwatch which airs every Wednesday at 13:40 on East Coast Radio. Knowler also writes columns for various South African newspapers and is currently the consumer editor for the Independant Newspapers group. Knowler has been honoured with several awards for her contribution to journalism in South Africa. Most notably, Knowler scooped the Vodacom Journalist of the Year award in 2003 for her feature article on domestic workers that appeared in an issue of Fairlady magazine.
Knowler is currently married to fellow journalist Alan Cooper. Both of them live in Durban, South Africa, and they have two children, both in attendance at school (2).
Knowler's reputation as a tenacious consumer journalist appears to be something of a family tradition as her cousin, Greg Knowler, was also a consumer journalist. During the early 1990s, Greg Knowler did pub reviews under the alias of “Grog Knowler” that were published in the Natal Mercury and distributed throughout the province (3).
In 1993, Wendy Knowler took up diving, diving frequently with the Simply Scuba group across the East Coast for two years (1). Acquaintances from this time describe Knowler as having a keen sense of humor and being extremely passionate about her work (1). One anecdote from the Executive National Training Manager for Kanebo, Yvonne Troskie, describes her incorruptible nature. While attending the launch function for a new product by a popular dairy company, Knowler was offered promotional merchandise by the company. Knowler declined on account of being in the process of investigating the company’s products already (1).
Wendy Knowler possesses over 20 years of experience in the field of journalism with columns published in a number of newspapers. In 1998, Knowler had her first column published in the Mercury known as Taking Issue, which focused on consumer concerns that affect South Africans (4). From then on she has continued to write a number of consumer columns for the Independent Newspapers, with weekly columns featuring in Daily News, Cape Times, Pretoria News and The Star. Knowler also contributes a column each month in Metro Beat.
However, Wendy Knowler has moved back and forth through newspaper journalism. In 2004, she left the Independent Newspapers and joined Fairlady. She soon returned in April 2006 to become the Consumer Editor for the Independent Newspapers. Knowler currently presents a weekly show called Consumerwatch on East Coast Radio (5).
Recognitions and awards
Knowler has been recognised several times for her incisive journalism and tenacious stance on South African consumer rights issues (6). In 2003, she was named the Vodacom Journalist of the Year for her feature on domestic workers which appeared in Fairlady magazine (7). Subsequently, Knowler was awarded Consumer Journalist of the year in 2005 (8) by the Department of Trade and Industry, and again in 2008 in the same category (9). Furthermore, in 2008, Knowler was amongst the four finalists for Vodacom's Women in the Media awards (10). Knowler won the Vodacom Columnist of the Year for KwaZulu Natal in 2009 (11), also claiming the regional award for financial/economic journalism (12).
Other professional activities
Knowler has been a motoring journalist since 2000 and runs the Motoring Zone blog for East Coast Radio (13) as well as publishing a weekly column, Wheel Woman, in the Independent Newspapers motoring supplements (14). As a consumer journalist, Knowler's advises and informs the South African public about their consumer rights such as in this 2006 article from The Star (15). In addition, Knowler has been recognised for her exposes on fraudulent South African companies and won a regional award for her writing in 2002 when she "wrote on how a major national chain store hoodwinked its accountholders into acquiring funeral policies" (16).
1. East Coast Radio's biography on Wendy Knowler.
2. Wendy Knowler's Consumerwatch blog for East Coast Radio.
3. Wendy Knowler's Motoring Zone blog for East Coast Radio.
4. Independent Newspapers group online.
Consumer Journalist, Wendy Knowler (17).
1. Troskie, Y. (2009, 17 October). Interview about Wendy Knowler.
2. SA Reunited. Date unknown. "About Wendy." Retrieved 15 October 2009.
3. Tourism KwaZulu-Natal. 1999/2000. "Tourism KwaZulu-Natal's Annual Report." Retrieved 18 October 2009.
4. Knowler, W. 2009. Fiesta Fight Continues, says Columnist. IOL, October. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
5. East Coast Radio. "More Info on Wendy." Retrieved 18 October 2009.
6. The DTI. 2007. “Wendy Knowler.” Retrieved 15 October 2009.
7. Bizcommunity. 2004. “Fairlady appoints Wendy Knowler as special journalist.” Retrieved 15 October 2009.
East Coast Radio. Date unknown. “More Info on Wendy.” Retrieved 15 October 2009.
8. SA Reunited. Date unknown. “About Wendy.” Retrieved 15 October 2009.
Mail & Guardian. 2007. “Wendy Knowler.” Retrieved 15 October 2009.
9. East Coast Radio. 2007. “Wendy scoops national award.” Retrieved 15 October 2009.
10. East Coast Radio. 2007. "Wendy scoops national award." Retrieved 15 October 2009.
Bizcommunity. 2008. "2008 Vodacom Women in The Media winners." Retrieved 17 October 2009.
11. IOL. 2009. “Daily news columnist Knowler honoured.” Retrieved 15 October 2009.
12. Bizcommunity. 2009. “Regional winners in Vodacom Journalist of the Year.” Retrieved on 15 October 2009.
Link2Media. 2009. "KZN Vodacom Journalist of the Year 2009 announced." Retrieved 15 October 2009.
13. East Coast Radio. 2009. "Motoring Zone." Retrieved 18 October 2009.
14. Bizcommunity. 2004. "Fairlady appoints Wendy Knowler as a special journalist." Retrieved 18 October 2009.
15. Fair Debt. 2006. "Only Pay What You Owe." Retrieved 18 October 2009.
16. East Coast Radio. Date unknown. "More Info on Wendy." Retrieved 18 October 2009.
17. The DTI. 2007. "Wendy Knowler." Retrieved 15 October 2009.