PC giant Lenovo has partnered with the Wits Journalism & Media Studies Programme to reward professionalism among aspiring journalists.
Lenovo South Africa donated a ThinkPad R61 laptop to the inaugural winner of the professionalism and leadership award in print journalism. The winner was announced at a gala event last week at the Wits University Club. The award went to Honours student Jackie Bischof (23) from Johannesburg.
"I am very excited to be honoured and rewarded in this way," says Bischof, who adds she is thrilled Lenovo had thought it important enough to emphasise the value of professionalism in the newsroom by sponsoring the award.
Veteran former journalist Brian Streak, a coordinator on the Wits Journalism Programme, first thought of the idea of an award with programme lecturer and author Jo-Anne Richards. With support from Lenovo they promoted and launched the award to encourage a professional approach to the production of the campus newspaper, Vuvuzela, and to instil a life-long respect for deadlines and professionalism among students on the programme.
Produced entirely by journalism students and published weekly during the academic year, Vuvuzela is used as a tool for students to get hands-on training in journalism. Independent of Wits management and the Students' Representative Council, the newspaper covers news of interest to youth and the Wits community and is distributed throughout the entire Wits campus.
Lenovo South Africa business development manager Julian Pienaar says the decision to support the award was based on the company's respect for the important role played by journalists in society and the need to develop the highest possible standards of professionalism among students preparing themselves for a career in the "Fourth Estate".
"As a company we've always respected the media and enjoy working with journalists who subscribe to the highest possible ethical and professional standards," says Pienaar.
He added that Lenovo will explore the possibility of sponsoring the award for professionalism on annual basis and to extending its partnership with the Wits Journalism programme.