The media are often different things to different people, and whether we love them or hate them, we cannot live without them. For almost four decades, the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has been instrumental in the training and provision of competent journalists to the media industry.
This milestone was celebrated in grand style at Leriba Lodge, during the VC’s Annual Alumni engagement of 2017 that focussed on Alumni from the Department of Journalism. The Advancement and Partnerships Office (APO) hosted the event.
Reminiscing about his early memories of the media, Prof van Staden said, “As a young boy when I was growing up, the cry of the street seller Read all about it …. Read all about it … to sell his newspapers, was an all too familiar and reassuring phrase – it guaranteed a new addition of the daily paper packed with information and entertainment.”
“In the digital age one doesn’t hear that anymore, instead the ping of a phone or computer now announces a fresh stream of information and news coming in be it from recognised media houses or the new generation of content generators,” he added.
If the number of heads in the audience bobbing affirmatively was something to go by, Prof van Staden’s memories struck a familiar cord with the audience.
In his welcome, Prof van Staden recognised the important role journalists play as the watchdogs of society, “Despite the current changes in the landscape, the media has, and always will be, the Fourth Estate, who keep a beady eye on governments and society to ensure that the truth about what happens in institutions is uncovered and shared. A free media is the cornerstone of any democracy, especially since we rely on journalists and the media to provide us with information and context to help us make sense of the world around us. It is encouraging that South African journalists take their role as watchdog so seriously. Your tenacity has ensured that corruption, the attempted state capture and many other serious political and financial issues have been and continue to be exposed.”
Acknowledging the challenges the higher education sector currently faces, Prof van Staden emphasised the importance of cementing good relationships with the media, and more specifically our own Alumni working in the media. “We will always respect your objectivity and the fact that you need to investigate issues. But I look forward to have a much closer, more beneficial relationship with you and that we will become partners on the journey of taking TUT to higher places.”
In her word of thanks, Mari Booysen, Director of APO, commended journalists for the role they play in keeping society on their toes. Her announcement that this was only the first of many annual engagements with Journalism Alumni to come, was greeted with a huge applause.
History of Journalism at TUT
In 1979 The Department of Journalism and Public Relations was introduced at the then Technikon Pretoria’s School of Communication Sciences. Student numbers at the School increased to such an extent that the two department was split into two in 1991, which says something about the popularity of these courses.
Five years later, in 1996, the Department of Journalism at the former Technikon Northern Gauteng, opened its doors. I am really proud to have been the founder of the Department of Journalism at TNG. This step provided access to study Journalism to many more students and opened up a whole new world to hundreds of our current Alumni.
Interesting enough, these two departments were the first to merge voluntarily ahead of the finalisation of the merger of the former three Technikons (Pretoria, Northern Gauteng and North West) in 2004.
Over the years Department of Journalism has been and is still regarded as one of best three Journalism training centres in South Africa, which is generally attributed to the integrity and dedication of our Journalism students and Alumni. TUT’s Alumni continue to play in the same league as Rhodes and University of Stellenbosch.
For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology please contact Willa de Ruyter on tel: 012 382 5352 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alumni having fun at the annual VC’s Alumni Engagement function.
Journalism Alumni arriving at the annual VC’s Alumni Engagement hosted at Leriba