Stellenbosch University (SU) has launched its new journalism centre, Mediafrica, reports Wilma den Hartigh for MediaClub South Africa. The new centre will become the base for developing well-trained, professional media workers who can competently tell Africa’s story, and report objectively on important issues affecting the continent.
SU is home to one of the top 12 journalism schools in Africa, according to a 2007 Unesco survey. Prof Lizette Rabe, head of the SU Journalism Department, said in a statement that Mediafrica will train a generation of journalists who will guard democracy through their ethical reporting and investigative work in a range of media genres.
“An informed society is an empowered society,” said Rabe. “Journalism is one of the keys to empowerment. We need quality journalism to advance human development in Africa. Mediafrica will help us to realise these goals.” The new Mediafrica building, which is currently under construction, will be a modern, double-storey structure behind the Journalism Department’s existing premises on the central campus.
Students will take their studies in a multifunctional lecture hall on the ground floor, and will be able to relax and interact with each other in a separate area. The upper floor will house a multimedia newsroom and video editing facilities. Mediafrica will also enable the SU journalism department to handle an increased interest in journalism studies. Rabe said that limited space and new developments in technology prompted them to consider a new building.
“Our department was designed for 20 postgraduate students, and we have grown to about 75 students. We also needed an integrated multimedia newsroom.” The said journalism has always had a certain allure, although many have a misconception about the career. “We have always had many more applications than the positions we have, and deem ourselves lucky in that respect – that the crème de la crème study with us,” she said.
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