Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE country’s biggest integrated media house Zimpapers is on a drive to catch aspiring journalists at a tender age and has started a Zimpapers Junior Media Club targeting pupils from various schools countrywide and some will get scholarships to pursue journalism studies.
Zimpapers in conjunction with the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) yesterday launched the Zimpapers Junior Media Club in Bulawayo at the university’s main campus.
Pupils from 16 schools in Bulawayo attended the event with aspiring journalists having a robust engagement with Zimpapers senior staff as well as lecturers from Nust.
Editors and senior journalists took pupils through news production processes.
Nust lecturers also explained enrolment processes for the journalism and media studies degree programme at the university.
Inquisitive learners asked editors how online platforms were impacting on their operations given that the content aggregators were harvesting news freely.
Zimpapers Group Editorial Executive Mr William Chikoto said Zimpapers Junior Media Club is part of the company’s corporate social responsibility meant to help pupils to identify their career paths.
“We are not saying all of you will be in media but you will make a choice. If we are talking about Zimpapers, we are not just talking about journalists, if anything there are just about 100 journalists out of 1 200 employees. We have Information Technology (IT) people, engineers, lawyers, accountants and all sorts of skills. Today we are talking about media clubs. That is why we have the emphasis on journalism. So our journey is starting with you today,” said Mr Chikoto.
He said Zimpapers will continuously engage Junior Media Club members until they complete their studies.
Mr Chikoto said Junior Media Club members will have access to Zimpapers publishing platforms so that they can publish their content.
“In Bulawayo, Mr Ncube (Limukani) has already opened his paper (Sunday News) for those who want to publish in the Sunday News. So, there will be publishing platforms, there will be broadcast platforms. We hope working with your teachers you can create content that can be published, that can be broadcast,” said Mr Chikoto.
He said the company will also provide scholarships for some aspiring journalists who will be a product of the Zimpapers Junior Media Club to study journalism upon completing their high school studies.
Mr Chikoto said while the programme has been launched in Bulawayo it is expected to spread to Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South where pupils from rural schools will also be included.
“We are going to provide you coaches and mentors who are going to come to work with you in areas where you think you need to understand a few more things. You will also have these facilities, especially the broadcast facilities.”
Bulawayo Deputy Education director Mr Thabani Sibanda said the partnership with Zimpapers is important in strengthening the competence based education curriculum.
He said the Ministry has already partnered Nust in the learning of mathematics and sciences under the National University of Science and Technology School Enrichment Programme (Nustep).
Mr Sibanda said for pupils learning commercials, the Ministry has partnered Lupane State University for the development of its learners.
“Now we are happy that even those doing arts have partners who have come on board. I would like to appeal to Zimpapers which has come on board to spread this programme to as many learners as possible in the province. As of today, 48 learners have been trained but we still have thousands of our learners out in the schools who have an interest in journalism. I therefore plead with you to continue with your good work and cover more of our learners,” said Mr Sibanda.
Meanwhile, Zimpapers in partnership with Forest Lovers also donated trees to various schools in the city.
Forest Lovers founder and director Mr Bob Mavende said his organisation is running ‘Every Child a Tree’ movement to encourage the planting of trees.
“This is done to mitigate and combat climate change through tree planting. The programme is targeting pupils in schools that is why we donated trees to several schools. We cherish and honour the partnership that we have with Zimpapers which has enabled us to donate trees to schools in Bulawayo,” said Mavende.
He said they are also working with Swift Transport to transport the donated trees. -@nqotshili