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ITWeb/NML scholarships grow own timber

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Three journalism students at Rhodes University are the winners of the 2011 ITWeb Journalism Scholarship.
ITWeb continues its investment in fresh talent that combines excellent journalism skills with clear understanding of new media trends.

Masetshaba Mpete, Gregory Peake and Mallory Perrett - third-year journalism students at the Rhodes School of Journalism and Media Studies - are the winners of the ITWeb Journalism Bursary for 2011.

ITWeb, the business technology media company, launched the bursary programme in 2009 to enable talented journalism students to gain experience and training in the online media environment, along with a scholarship that goes towards paying for their third or fourth year tuition fees.

Ranka Jovanovic, ITWeb's editorial director, says: "Our bursary programme has proven very successful in practice as all four previous winners are already fully functional media professionals."

The two 2009 winners completed their mandatory one-year internship with ITWeb in December 2010 and started their full-time employment in January 2011 - Tallulah Habib manages ITWeb's social media activities, while Farzana Rasool is a news journalist for ITWeb's top news portal.

The 2010 winners are currently serving their one-year employment contract - Kathryn McConnachie joined the online newsroom, and Guy Martin is a reporter for ITWeb's defence news portal, defenceWeb.

"We are pleased that we have identified a new crop of talent in Masetshaba, Mallory and Gregory," says Jovanovic. "It's a pleasure to be in a position to contribute towards financing their third-year studies, and we hope the support will encourage them to opt for new media specialisation in their fourth year."

In addition to supporting third-year students, ITWeb will continue with a new media specialisation scholarship for fourth-year students - it comprises guaranteed one-year employment at ITWeb, along with fully paid-up fourth year tuition fees.

"We have shifted our focus to third year students in order to grow our own timber," says Jude Mathurine, Head of the School of Journalism and Media Studies' New Media Lab.

"Most media companies have internship programmes which actively target top students after they have graduated. By this time, many students, particularly those from disadvantaged communities who may need assistance to complete their studies would have dropped out or moved on to study other degrees. The ITWeb bursary is one of the few scholarships that identifies and supports potential IT journalists by providing bursaries and support activities that help students learn more about the specialist field before they graduate."

ITWeb, which posts technology news as it breaks and provides in-depth tech trends analysis and commentary, is ready for the disruptive changes that are reshaping both the ICT and the media industry. "We see these sweeping shifts as an exciting opportunity to reinvent the way we gather, filter and deliver our content, through any available media channel our readers prefer to use," adds Jovanovic. "We need journalists with a keen interest in technology - both as a subject matter and as a content delivery platform."