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.
Lerato Sejake joined the media industry in 2010 as an intern for the digital side of City Press newspaper in Johannesburg, South Africa. At the time, she was curious and wide-eyed, hoping to learn new skills.
Fast forward 10 years and Sejake is still curious and eager to add more skills to her toolbox, but she also has proven her abilities as a video journalist, social media specialist, copy editor, and writer. In the past decade, she has worn many hats and excelled in several positions, allowing her to develop a broad set of skills. Her greatest interest now is in the multimedia space.
“I grew an interest in multimedia and have been gaining my stripes in the video and podcast environments since,” she said. “I want to grow my knowledge in the world of multimedia and use it as a form of storytelling.”
She then hopes to use those storytelling skills to pass on lessons to the next generation — particularly to Black women from impoverished backgrounds. As a single mother working her way up the ranks in what is still a largely male-dominated industry, Sejake understands firsthand the constraints that are commonly placed on women in the workplace. Because of that, she has gladly taken on the role of mentor and teacher within City Press, helping other young women find their foothold on the future.
“More Black women in leadership roles can bring a voice from overlooked backgrounds,” she said.
That explains why her plans include wanting to hone and improve her own managerial skills — something she is hoping to acquire as an Elevate Scholarship recipient. She also wants to improve her confidence as a leader, she said.
According to Alison Visser, digital editor at City Press, Sejake’s willingness to take the lead in new initiatives already reflects her natural leadership abilities: “Lerato has spearheaded the fledgling podcast projects, taking charge of the move to a new platform, and introducing new offerings to the City Press audience. This INMA scholarship will allow her to continue to learn and grow and pass on her knowledge to others.”