On October 29, INMA and Google News Initiative (GNI) awarded 50 news media professionals around the world with its debut Elevate Scholarship. This series features these impressive media professionals who are shaping our industry.
Growing up in Steenberg, South Africa, Chad Anthony Williams had few opportunities for his journalism career. But he didn’t let that stop him.
“I refused to sit back,” Williams said. “I started in my community. I covered local elections as a roving reporter, I interviewed my neighbours, and I even started volunteering at a local radio station in my area.”
He worked as a news anchor for two years before landing a job as a content researcher at the Western Cape Government, and he has consistently used each opportunity to find the next door he wanted to open.
Still holding on to his dream of being a journalist, he took a proofreading job for an advertising agency.
“All this time while I was working in the corporate world, my heart was always yearning to work in the media,” he said. Finally, in 2019, Williams made a bold move that he’ll never regret: He left his comfortable corporate job and started his own blog, covering the community around him. The gamble paid off quickly.
“I received the call I was waiting for my whole life,” he said of the invitation to interview at Newspaper House. “Seven months later, I’m working as a journalist/content creator for Africa’s largest news syndication network.”
Because Williams knows firsthand how difficult it is to break into the industry, he is dedicated to helping other young journalists find their way and not have to give up on their dreams.
“There are so many talented young people out there who don’t get the same opportunities to flourish due to their circumstances,” he said. “I want to change that.”
He recognises both the work and the opportunities that lie ahead for South Africa and wants to play a role in helping steer others down the path to prosperity.
“As a young gay man, I want to know that I will have the same opportunity as any other person my age without having to worry whether my lifestyle will determine the opportunities that are available,” he explained. “The news media lacks diversity. It’s the same face everywhere.
“Instead of fighting against something, we should work together and move the industry forward. It is time to be fearless and honour the profession that has assisted in changing the landscape of our country.”