Editors in the country welcomed the conferring of the National Editors Forum Peer Award on veteran journalist, media activist and Sanef stalwart Raymond Louw.
Louw, 80, received the award on Friday at an event marking Sanef's 10th anniversary in Durban.
The Sanef-Wrottesley Award is a peer recognition award that acknowledges extraordinary commitment to working towards the achievement of the forum's goals.
The event also paid tribute to long-standing Sanef members, past and present.
Keynote speaker University of Cape Town vice-chancellor Njabulo Ndebele spoke about the "many personal tragedies" that have resulted from the creation of the new black middle-class in South Africa.
Njabulo also challenged the media to actively go out and search for the truth.
"I am increasingly impatient and exasperated by more news of struggling organisations and corpses of dead reputations.
"I have come to expect that the historic forest through which we are looking for direction is likely to throw up such corpses," he said.
"It is no longer enough to seek to speak truth to power [elites] through fresh revelations. I want to know exactly what that truth is."
Epitomising the seasoned newsman's indomitable spirit by challenging the media to continually strive to improve, Louw was nevertheless visibly overwhelmed by the bestowal of the award.
Sanef chairman Ferial Haffajee paid tribute to the long-standing members of Sanef for their courage and tenacity in giving the organisation "teeth" and making it a force to be reckoned with.