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.
After earning her bachelor’s of commerce degree in industrial psychology and information systems, Rushaye Smith wanted to add to her existing knowledge, so she also earned her honours degree in information systems. She was excited to use those degrees to land an internship at one of South Africa’s leading media companies, Media24 — and was even more excited to be offered a permanent position just seven months later.
As a product manager, she now works with senior-level product managers, Web designers, senior engineers, and quality assurance engineers on a variety of projects to make sure they meet all the outlined business objectives. Her skills have led her to work on such major media projects as the South African Elections, the matric results Web site, and the Rugby and Cricket World Cup Web sites — among others.
“I believe Rushaye is one of the insightful and diverse voices that will help drive digital publishing over the next few years,” said Reeza Odendaal, a senior product manager at Media24. “Digital publishing is especially important in these times, and it will be a multidisciplinary effort to keep trustworthy journalism accessible to the public.”
Smith is eager to use the knowledge she has already gained to make a difference within the industry today but also to make a difference in future generations.
“Being part of the media industry has allowed me to see the influence the news industry has in the world,” she said. “Media and technology go hand in hand; technology grows rapidly and so does news within the media. People seek information and media provides that; people seek data and technology provides that. [Together they] have the ability to reach anyone and impact any situation. I always want to be part of that.”
Although creative thinking skills are already a strong suit for her, she is looking forward to using the Elevate programme as an opportunity to enhance her existing skills and also hone her communication and analytical abilities.
“We always need to work on finding ways to communicate with others in this ever-evolving world,” she said. “I can bring something different to the team and industry by adding what I already know, working and collaborating with others, and working toward where we as an industry want to be.
“It is imperative to have goals and a vision we are all working toward so we can achieve it and grow together.”