02 September, 2013


By Sarin Drew

For journalists, unemployment and unpaid internships have become a rite of passage into journalism.

Highway Africa’s Future Journalists Programme (FJP) seeks to provide a unique training and networking opportunity for journalism students from different South African tertiary institutions.

We believe our undergraduate degrees hold us in good stead for the future, but this is far from the truth.

Journalism students will grovel, slave and make coffee after our graduation parties. FJP serves as a gateway into the media world.

We have had training schools throughout the year to equip us for our engagement with media during the Highway Africa conference.

“We are here to share our opinions about the current state of the media and engage with people involved in media. As an aspiring journalist this has been an eye opening experience.” said Khethukuthula Lembethe (20), a journalism student from the Durban University of Technology (DUT).

For FJPs the opportunity to network at this conference is equivalent to receiving the confirmation for a breaking story.

Unathi Nkumi (22) from the University of Fort Hare is maximising this opportunity. “Although it is very intimidating to speak to heavyweights in media, I just want to network as much as possible so that I can take a step closer to achieving my goals.”

The seminars and discussions about accountability, transparency and the emerging social media have been particularly enlightening. It helps us realise that our generation of journalists have a lot of challenges to face.

Michelle Atagana, Managing Editor of Burn Media said that the changing format of journalism doesn’t mean a decline in the standard or credibility of the journalistic profession.

For the FJPs, we have taken heed of the many messages that have been sent to us by our future peers. It is our belief that the future of the media lies squarely on the shoulders of aspiring journalists. As FJPs we promise to make the programme proud.

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