Future News 2015 winners
Future NEWS 2015 winners (L-R): Sandisiwe 'Yogi' Shoba, Jomiro Eming, Veronica Boyi and Jessie Clark-McLeod

The British Council in partnership with the Mail & Guardian are excited to announce the Future News 2015 Competition Winners in South Africa.

The winners are:

  • Jessie Clarke-McLeod
  • Jomiro Eming
  • Sandisiwe Shoba,
  • Veronica Boyi

We were overwhelmed by the response we received for the competition but had only four spots available. This year, the Future News Competition in South Africa was open to the students, aged between 18 and 25, interested in pursuing a career in journalism. Over 400 entries were received and assessed by our judging panel who submitted a shortlist of 25 candidates from across South Africa.

This year’s winners will represent South Africa in Edinburgh at the Scottish Parliament on 4-6 September. During the conference, they will get the chance to meet and engage with media and journalism professionals as well as fellow journalism students from all over the world.

During the conference they will enjoy master-classes from some of the world’s leading journalists on a range of subjects including press freedom and ethical reporting, to technical skills, from investigating features and research to using digital technology and social media to report on their stories.

Over 20 countries including India, Singapore, China, South Africa, and the UK Home Nations will take part in the conference.

Read the winning essays submitted below:

Jessie Clark-McLeod

I’ve met someone who runs toward a stampede of men brandishing knobkerries   in anger and violence , tyres thrown  alight with fire . Another township protest. Head on . Stead fast , I move forward toward the frustrated , the tired , the poor.  My heart beats fast , I am excited ,nervous and afraid all at once and I trust my intuition. My gut feeling. It tells me when to come near , when to push. I trust it . I trust myself to know. 

I know someone who understands that courage means overcoming my fear of what I do not know ,and seeking to understand it ,rather than condemn it. Across racial boundaries and cultures I pursue  these truths.  

I’ve become intimately acquainted with somebody who does not allow for flattery and nuances of power to colour my words and thoughts. Someone whose words are the black and white print of honesty. Who shall not falter in the face of another’s import.  Still onward I march toward the face of conflict. I am not here to make friends or enemies . I am here for the truth for I am its advocate. 

I  Know someone whose passion for the sound of her voice , extends past her own. I am a scribe for the people , my country ,my home.  My fist is their fist ,  balled up and clenched ,so tightly held it quivers. The steel that lines my spine is as a result of each and every one of them. So that when  I look into the face of corruption which rots the foundation of my society, I face it not alone. I am compounded by the support of my nations people. It is as if all their faces appear alongside mine. We can never be alone in our fight for truth and justice always we face it as one body . They are my companions even if they do not know it. 

My pursuit for a life of inquiry shall not be halted.  I have been fortunate enough to discover early in life what it is I want to do.  Any effort to deter me from such is as futile  as a pebble thrown into the unflowing dead expanse of a still body of water , once the rippling subsides , I am captured once more by silence.  So my life path is marred by  the same determination  , the same quiet accepting knowledge of who I am at the core. I need this  more than anything. I want to learn and grow as a person and be the best that I can be within the field of journalism. 

Truth has no side. Integrity is imperative. I seek no advantage , only that which is to the advantage of veracity.  I know I am young and maybe some would say naïve but my youth provides me with redeeming qualities in terms of the fact that my soul is hungry for purpose. I know this is where I belong, it is what I have always been good at.  


Jomiro Eming

Perhaps it is true: “everyone wants to be a writer these days.” Heck, I see the cliché materialise in my own studies within the field of journalism: everybody writes poetry, every other person writes short stories, and “Oh wow, you’re writing a book as well?” 

Nevertheless, what strikes me is where people are finding the appeal in becoming writers. We are brought up hearing about journalism with a general impression of low salaries, outrageous working hours, zero social lives, baggy eyes, rapid vision deterioration, alcoholism and smoking addictions, cranky editors, writer’s block, and a list of other not-so-pleasant occupational add-ons. Placed next to the chance of a well-paid, self-employed, work-from-home CEO position, why write? We all have little respect for writers as it is, what-with their news bias allegations and nosy tendencies, so why is everyone loading the gun that will end up shooting them in the foot? 

In my opinion, it’s a case of genuine passion and enjoyment – a far more genuine one that in many professions. It’s an addiction, putting maybe not your life on the line, but definitely your reputation and your ability to handle whatever you’ve been tasked with. 

I’m not an adrenalin junkie per se, but I crave the “rush” journalism gives me. From getting the idea for a story, to my mind spilling over with ideas and angles, to pulling every trick out of the hat to hunt it down, to sitting with ample coffee and drafting the first article from start to finish in one go… I am absolutely obsessed.

I sense an exciting future lies ahead for journalism and its writers, with its ever-increasing need to innovate and adapt to the “print vs digital” war that is currently sweeping the globe. I firmly believe that my place in journalism – be it through my photography, my writing, or my panache - will prove to be invaluable. I say that with as little ego as possible, and in this case I’d prefer it to be received as a well-refined self-confidence.

Living in South Africa with a home and heritage in Germany, and being able to speak Italian and Afrikaans (and now in the process of learning Japanese), is a situation not many can boast. This cultural amalgamation of being born into a first-world country and growing-up in a third-world country gives me a rather unique perspective from which to write and analyse. Furthermore, my interests range from photography, to nature, to cooking, to travelling-on-a-shoe-string, to playing the piano and tin whistle, to ballroom-latin dancing, to webpage coding... To top it off, I do psychology, linguistics and history alongside my journalism major, which have all laterally expanded my critical thinking and knowledge bases to incredible lengths. 

I’ve been told that I spread myself too thinly, and my reply is simply this: at least I’m doing it thoroughly and evenly. 

In all honesty, I can’t help it. After-all, my appetite for theoretical knowledge and practical experience is insatiable. 



Sandisiwe (Yogi) Shoba

I am a second year student studying Interactive media at the University of Cape Town. I chose to study journalism as it merged my passion for writing with my curiosity, thirst for knowledge and empathetic nature. 

Journalism needs me because news reporting seldom represents truth. It is understood that media products are not a mirror of reality but rather a representation; however, these representations are subject to the manipulation of hegemonic power structures which serve the interests of the elite. The global news agenda primarily favours events which occur in developed nations as a result of powerful news agencies which produce syndicated content which perpetuates a rigid agenda. Journalistic content, in its arguably purest state, is meant to serve the interests of the public. The vast majority of the public is not composed of elite individuals in elite surroundings. Therefore; dishonest representations in the media are a disservice to the public interest and a failure by journalism to act as a Fourth Estate. 

Where I come in is my context as a future journalist in a developing nation. South Africa has come a long way from the censorship laws of the apartheid era to the free and diverse press which we now enjoy. Even with this freedom, the media has perpetuated an adverse self-image of South Africa by reporting news based on negative and sensationalist news values. No country is perfect but no country is solely composed of newsworthy events which include political scandal, violent crime, dread and disease, sickening poverty and a stagnant economy. South Africans have absorbed this negativity believing that the country is in a dire state when in truth, it is merely developing. The way news is framed and packaged is still in accordance with Western news values which can be harmful in an African context. Negativity and sensational news content does little to uplift the spirits and sober the perspectives of citizens living under the uncertainty of a developing democracy.

Elite interests are served when the global news agenda thrives on the same negativity we produce in its representation of Africa. Africa is still portrayed as the heart of darkness in need of rescue when in truth what should be focussed on is the infancy of African democracies and how uniquely African issues need to be addressed alongside Africans rather than developed nations imposing solutions upon them. An imperial gaze needs to be avoided both in dealing with and reporting on Africa.

As a journalist I wish to do my part in shifting the news agenda from an elitist paradigm to one which serves the interests of the victor as well as the underdog. Although news has become commercialised it must not lose sight of its purpose: to serve and protect the ordinary citizen. As an African journalist I wish to reinstate a ‘truthful’ representation of Africa as a developing continent built on a web of both pitfalls and successes. Journalism needs me to champion truth. I can get the job done. 


Veronica Boyi

I am inspired by stories about people for people. As a natural born helper, I believe that through the journalistic profession and free speech, I can arm people with the knowledge and tools they need to help themselves.

Remembering that people expose their emotions, trauma, shame, vulnerabilities and themselves to me, keeps me grounded ethically. It also keeps me cognisant and aware of the effect my story will have on them. As a journalist, it is my duty to bridge the gap between people/communities and their surrounding issues.

A journalist’s first and most important responsibility towards the public is to keep them well informed. The information I put out there in the world has to be accurate, factual and objective at all times. This information opens up the world to your fellow humans. You are opening up the world to your fellow humans, exposing your sources and objectivity. At the same time, I am making many resources available that are essential for the broader public and communities at large.

I aim to provide a critical voice on governmental affairs firstly for the people of this country, then the rest of the world. A voice that will shed light on aspects that are not easily understood such as politics and the shifting economy. A government can only govern a country when there is communication between them and the public, journalists provide this crucial link. The constitution itself states that the public has the right to know. In essence I am merely fulfilling my constitutional duty.

It is not an easy profession, it might seem so, but in actual fact it is one of the most difficult jobs to do. Staying objective and unbiased while reporting on stories about people, for people is not easy. Especially when it involves emotions, death, hardship, culture and religion. As a journalist I cannot be influenced by my feelings or opinions when reporting on a story.  True journalists are guided by their moral compass and compassion for humanity, which makes them neutral to the stories they report because the public’s right to know and see all overrides all emotion.

In the world of journalism people like me are needed, as publications are firing senior professionals and photographers to cut costs. Journalists like me have learnt the skill of multitasking, meaning I can be a photographer, graphic designer, sub-editor and journalist all at once depending on what the story needs. As a journalist in the 21st century one has to learn not to be influenced by the pressures of life, relationships, economic issues, global warming and work conflict. It is important to be in touch with your humanity. Journalism requires me to be human and remember that I deal with people, not subjects for entertainment or sensationalism of topics that arise. 

I have learned to put others before me, thus allowing me to be on a constant learning curve where the world is my book and people, situations and events are my subjects.