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Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Speaker series empowers aspiring journalists

INSPIRING: Thembekile Mrototo was one of he speakers. INSPIRING: Thembekile Mrototo was one of he speakers.

CPUT’s Journalism Speaker Series, which has featured some of South Africa’s top journalists and broadcasters, is inspiring the next generation to reach their goals.

Thus far the series, which is presented via an online platform, has featured Newzroom Afrika’s Athi Mtongana, Cape Talk’s Lester Kiewit, SABC’s Abra Barbier and eNCA /947’s Thembekile Mrototo.

Journalism lecturer, Sisanda Nkoala said she started the series as part of her audiovisual journalism courses as the Covid-19 pandemic meant that students could no longer go on field trips to newsrooms, as they had previously done.

“The field trips have always been a highlight in the course because it allows students to engage directly with developments in the industry and network with industry leaders such as editors and journalists, to forge relationships that will stand them in good stead as they advance in their professions, said Nkoala.

 “The Speaker Series is a way of addressing this and, through it, students have an opportunity to hear from key players in South African broadcast journalism and pose questions to them.”

She said the objectives are for students to network with journalism professionals in the hope of building long-term relationships with key players in the industry.

“Secondly, it is an opportunity for industry to get a glimpse into what is happening in our programme to keep channels of communication between the programme and them open. Thirdly, it is a chance for students to hear from a guest speaker, who contextualises some of the content they have been covering in their courses so that they have an even better idea of how to apply what they are learning practically.”

She said the speakers were selected because of their formidable careers as broadcast journalists.

“Each of them is a respected broadcaster and journalist who has been at the forefront of covering some of the most meaningful moments in our nation’s history. Further to that, I made a point to bring in some speakers who are also CPUT alumni to showcase to the student audience the kinds of opportunities the content we teach them can open for them.”

Student Siphosethu Phikelela said the series empowered her as a citizen and as an aspiring journalist “to strive to be the best at everything I do”.
“Nothing is more reassuring to me than being in the same room as someone who was once in a position close to mine but is now living my potential goals. As I prepare for my internship, it was a much-needed boost to have an established journalist assuring us that there are challenges in this field, but there are also ways to overcome them.”

Another student, Lisalee Solomons, said all the guest speakers had left an impact on her life, “I've grown up watching all of them on TV and radio, I still do, so hearing that they didn’t always have it easy when stepping out into the media world was refreshing to hear, considering some of us students are kind of in the same boat.”

Nkoala said the hope was to have three sessions of the speaker series per term.

Written by Ilse Fredericks

Email: Frederickskennediji@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Health and Wellness Sciences and Informatics and Design Faculties.