INMA Elevate Scholar: Bongekile Macupe of Media24

By Paula Felps

INMA

Nashville, Tennessee, United States

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On October 28, 2021, INMA and Google News Initiative (GNI) awarded their Elevate Scholarship to 50 news media professionals around the world. This series features these impressive media professionals who are shaping our industry.

As the senior education journalist with 11 years of experience, Media24’s Bongekile Macupe has spent the past eight years focusing on topics pivotal to education. Her coverage has included some of the biggest education stories in South Africa, embracing both basic and higher education coverage.

Media24's Bongekile Macupe is a senior education journalist who has a special interest in telling the stories of disadvantaged students.
Media24's Bongekile Macupe is a senior education journalist who has a special interest in telling the stories of disadvantaged students.

Part of her interest in education journalism comes from her passion for telling human interest stories, such as the plight of students in rural areas and the challenges faced by learners in historically disadvantaged higher education institutions. Because of her unique insight and awareness of these issues, she also has been invited to share her findings on South African radio stations.

Although she has enjoyed the journey and earned her reputation as a thoughtful and informed journalist, she is ready to move into a managerial role and start mentoring those who are following in her footsteps: “My next step is becoming a news editor or a section head. I feel that with the vast experience I have gathered over the years I can make a difference in a managerial position.”

Macupe looks forward to learning the skills of how to run a newsroom efficiently and to hone her digital journalism and news editing skills. “I also have a keen interest in photography so I would appreciate [learning] such skills as well.”

Those who know Macupe agree that she has both the skills and the temperament to become a newsroom leader. Pontsho Pilane, director and strategic communications lead at Mathaba Media, has worked with Macupe as both an education reporter and a freelancer. Pilane said Macupe is a feisty but observant reporter who is committed to exploring and exposing social injustices and pointing out unfair balances of power. And Macupe herself said she is driven to keep finding those stories and bringing them to light.

“I have always been intentional in my work as a journalist to go to the places where people do not go … to write the stories that other journalists do not see worthy of being written because they are not glamorous or are of high-profile people. This is the work I hope to continue to do at a bigger scale and possibly even influence the organisation I work for to give more voices to such stories.”

About Paula Felps

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