Tuesday, August 20, 2013

SPI pizza lunch was a success

By Annetjie van Wynegaard

Wednesday, 14 August – Despite the fact that hundreds of Rhodes students were marching on the Grahamstown municipality to protest against a nine-day water stoppage, the annual SPI Pizza Lunch still drew a good crowd of interested students.

The Sol Plaatje Institute for Media Leadership (SPI) hosts this informal event each year to provide Rhodes students with an opportunity to learn about the Institute’s flagship Postgraduate Diploma in Media Management.

This year almost 30 interested students attended the gathering where SPI deputy director Peter du Toit delivered a short presentation and three current PDMM students spoke positivelyabout their experiences of the course so far.

Peter said the PDMM target market includes recent graduates and people working in the media industry who want to advance their careers. He said the participation of professionals on the course was a great benefit to both students and lecturers because they ensured the course stayed on top of current issues.

He said PDMM students completed eight core modules during the year and participated in a compulsory month-long period of participant observation at a media organisation of their choice. This time in the field provides students with a chance to reflect on how lessons learned in the classroom can be applied in the professional world.

PDMM student Babalwa Nyembezi spoke about time doing participant observation at Primedia in Cape Town and Johannesburg. She has been invited to return in September to work for them again. “Who knows what can happen when you do this course?” she said. Babalwa was awarded a scholarship from Primedia to study this year.

Zimbabwean student Robin Tatenda Chaibva said a highlight of the PDMM was the way in which the course encouraged students to reflect on the kinds of leaders they would like to be. Robin holds a Bachelors of Science degree and created a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog called Concrete Jungle before she started the PDMM course. Her blog placed in the top five of the Zimbabwe Fashion Week fashion awards.

Robin said that she was benefitting greatly from the PDMM scholarship she received from the Open Society for Southern Africa (OSISA). “It’s been a very good opportunity,” she said.

MTN scholarship winner Mike Moodie said he had decided to do the PDMM course because he wanted to learn about the business side of media. So far, he said, the PDMM course has given him a good understanding of the industry. Moodie completed his participant observation at the Media24 publication Men’s Health and described his experience as “the best”.

Moodie said the PDMM programme provided students with a good chance to meet people from outside South Africa and a good experience to learn from each other.

After a brief question and answer session the meeting ended, and students and teachers gathered for more informal discussions about the courses.

The Sol Plaatje Institute also offers a range of short courses to media professionals. For more information visit their website at spi.ru.ac.za or contact Linda Snam at l.snam@ru.ac.za

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