We are pleased to announce the names and projects of the professionals who have received this year’s Public Media Alliance travel bursaries

Our programme enables staff from broadcast networks and partner NGOs to go on exchange, attend an event or training in another country for up to two weeks – sharing knowledge between national broadcasters across the world and bringing back experience and fresh ideas to their organisation.

This year’s intake includes bursars with a wide range of backgrounds from across our membership, including producers, reporters, researchers and managers.

Our thanks to the Grace Wyndham Goldie Trust fund for supporting our 2018 bursaries.

Our 2018 bursars will be undertaking the following projects: 


From Bangladesh Television to Doordarshan

Afifa Afroz, Assistant Director 

Afifa Afroz, Bangladesh Television

Afifa proposes a visit to India’s largest Public Service Broadcaster Doordarshan (DD).

Afifa has been working at Bangladesh Television (BTV), a state owned public broadcaster, for six years. Her job role enables her to be involved in development planning and policy making with regards to digitisation and broadcast management. Bangladesh Television plans to launch a Direct-To-Home service (DTH) service and is in the process of digitalising its network and broadcasting services.

This bursary will allow Afifa to travel to DD’s headquarters in Delhi as well as some of their regional stations, where they have already developed a DTH service. Afifa believes the trip will allow her to gain essential knowledge and practical experience regarding DTH policy and management, which she can then impart upon her BTV team.

The project will include a visit to a Doordarshan DVB-T2 Transmitter site at Delhi to see their transmitter system and signal surveys, along with a visit to DD’s central production centre in Delhi to see their uplink facility. Afifa will also visit DD’s National Academy of Broadcasting and Multimedia (NABM) to see their training facility and meet with colleagues at DD headquarters.

Afifa hopes that the proposed travel opportunity will enhance her capacity to understand digital content marketing and the policy requirements to implement DTH services at BTV.

"I am eagerly looking forward to my upcoming visit for network building and possible future collaboration with Doordarshan, India which is the largest DTH market in the world."

Afifa Afroz, Assistant Director, Bangladesh Television

From Radio New Zealand to the United States

Claire Murdoch, Product and Audience Lead

Claire Murdoch, Radio New Zealand

Claire’s project is to travel to the United States to research best practice in digital media and broadcast organisations for digital innovation and audience development. Claire will use this experience to inform Radio New Zealand’s (RNZ) programme for product development for which she is responsible as Product and Audience Lead.

RNZ is currently undergoing a major strategic reorientation from radio to digital and multiplatform media. This project will directly benefit RNZ’s current strategy and mission as New Zealand’s leading public multimedia broadcaster: To create an informed and connected nation.

Claire intends to interview leaders in both public/not-for-profit and commercial media organisations and observe their teams working at a practical level. She will visit NPR in Washington DC, the digital design, trend-spotting research and development group at The New York Times, observe digital content marketing practices at Buzzfeed and Vice as well as visiting PBS, Associated Press, Chartbeat and Google.

Aside from the above, Claire plans to meet experts researching digital media at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies and the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford, to gain answers to the following questions:

  • How can traditional media best structure our teams, newsrooms and wider organisations to innovate and create?
  • What developments should we prioritise, given our always-constrained resources and the speed of technological change?
  • How can we plumb the pool of data to find, engage and convert new audiences?
  • How will we empower staff to act on insights to deliver what audiences will respond to?
  • How can we communicate the social and democratic value of our work?

Claire would like to embark on this project because there are no on-the-job training opportunities at her level at RNZ, or even nationally, particularly in the fast-paced digital innovation and product development area. While Claire has made contact with peers at relevant institutions such as NPR, the BBC and the ABC in Australia to learn and benchmark, there is no substitute for first-hand observation to truly understand how things work operationally. “The proposed overseas travel is a rare opportunity to gain knowledge, upskill and go back to my organisation to share with colleagues and management.”

This bursary is directly aimed at gaining a practical knowledge of the innovations needed to enable change and will help Claire advise and lead RNZ on its technological roadmap ahead. In short, this grant will help her to empower and up-tool the national broadcaster to continue to lead in positively shaping New Zealand, Australasian and Pacific broadcast journalism, and the audiences it serves.

"I’m determined to bring what I learn back to Aotearoa New Zealand so RNZ can up-skill, up-tool and evolve our teams, newsrooms and wider organisations to innovate, build a positive work culture, and create great experiences for our audiences."

Claire Murdoch, Product and Audience Lead, Radio New Zealand

From Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation to Radio Television Hong Kong

Hamid Ullah Khan, Senior Producer

Hamid Ullah, PBC

In Pakistan, numerous endeavours have been made to enhance health communication frameworks, with limited success. Many of the primary medical problems are due to the absence of awareness, particularly about dietary needs, water contamination and cleanliness, which increase the prevalence of transmittable diseases. Khan currently produces public health programmes for the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation to promote health and educate the public on health-related issues, but will use this bursary as an opportunity to develop new ideas and broaden his skillset to impart on others.

The aim of this project observe and investigate the methodologies and strategies applied in shows and programmes for the promotion of good health and health communication, and to discover the perspectives through which the programmers influence and motivate their audiences.

The project will conduct research through in-depth discussions with Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) officers, producers and programmers as well as observing the production of live shows/programmes that promote health initiatives, health education and health communication.

Two key questions will be explored:

  1. How does RTHK frame the promotion of health communication?
  2. What techniques and strategies do RTHK producers use in influencing and motivating the general public in health issues.
"This bursary will give me assets to share and pick up abilities and information in another’s country's media organisation"

Hamid Ullah Khan, Senior Producer, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation

From the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (Bocra) to the Netherlands

Masego M Jeremiah, Manager of Media & Content

Masego M Jeremiah
Manager of Media & Content, BOCRA

Masego would like to attend the Organisation of News Obudsman & Standards Editors Forum (ONO), which will explore how to rebuild public belief in news media.

As a news regulator  Masego feels it is critical to feel the pulse of broadcasters and media in order to know the emerging trends so that one could be better placed to develop relevant regulatory tools for the industry.

One of the most pressing challenges facing the BOCRA and the Botswanan media industry is the concept of “Fake News”, especially as audiences struggle to verify online content. Masego also notes that traditional media in the country is under pressure to compete with online sources and citizen journalists while having the extra role of ensuring that their news is accurate and report on a wide range of issues.

Masego’s objective is to gain useful insights on dealing with “fake news” at a regulatory level. One of the other media issues often discussed in Botswana is the scarcity of women in journalism, with most only reporting on soft issues. This will be one of the issues covered at great length at the ONO Forum.

By taking part in an event on an international stage Masego would like to share the Botswanan  media experience.  Masego says that this opportunity will help her to grow personally and assist in forming colleagues how they can best improve accuracy and deal with Fake News.

"As a Media scholar, my interest is on the effect that Social Media that operates outside of any ethical and policy considerations, have on audiences and the media fraternity itself."

Masego M. Jeremiah, Manager of Media & Content, BOCRA

From CBC/Radio-Canada to Radio New Zealand

Mathieu Simard, Reporter

Mathieu Simard,
CBC/Radio-Canada

Mathieu will undertake an internship with Radio New Zealand (RNZ) to explore ways to improve the collaboration between various news services within CBC/Radio-Canada.

As part of its mandate as a public broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada offers diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight (8) Indigenous languages.

Mathieu has noticed during his time with CBC that there has been greater integration between newsrooms working in different languages. However, there is still a tendency to work in isolation from one another, leading to the loss of information and the duplication of work. Mathieu believes that within an ever-changing media industry, it is crucial to rethink the workflow and reassess the framework to increase its efficiency. For these reasons Mathieu would like to partner with the RNZ to learn from their experience in multilingual broadcasting.

This bursary will allow him to observe RNZ’s approach to serving diverse communities across the nation. Moreover, it will give him the opportunity to understand how to effectively divide the workforce among different daily shows and newscasts.

He will also take advantage of his visit to propose ideas to his manager and record interviews. As a result, he will bring back original stories reflecting various situations happening in the South Pacific to CBC/Radio-Canada audiences.

"I’m sure that this travel will help me become a better journalist. It’s a unique experience that will have an impact on what I do every day."

Mathieu Simard, Reporter, CBC/Radio-Canada

From Lesotho Television to the South African Broadcasting Corporation

Nts’epase Nkokana-Heshepe, Acting News Editor

Nts’epase Patrcia Nkokana-Heshepe, Lesotho Television

Nts’epase will travel to South Africa and do a placement at the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

In Lesotho Nts’epase works for the state-owned broadcaster, Lesotho Television, where much of their news coverage is about government related issues. She would like to gain experience on how to cover news that is non-political and more community based, and how best to handle sensitive stories.

Nts’epase will also seek to gain experience and ideas on how SABC covers political issues and gives a more balanced or impartial view. Nts’epase has had very little training opportunities and feels that the knowledge she will acquire from SABC will be very beneficial for her organisation as she can pass on the knowledge to her colleagues.

"After completing my study tour I will share my learning experience with my colleagues so that they get an understanding of how other media houses impact their stories."

Nts’epase Nkokana-Heshepe, Acting News Editor, Lesotho Television (LNBS)

From the University of Westminster to the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation

Peter Block, Independent Media Consultant and Course Lead

The Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) has announced a 5-year (2017-2021) Strategic Plan aligned with MBC Vision “To be a globally positioned player as a Public Service Broadcaster”. Broadly speaking the Strategic Plan resides on three main axes: People,  Finance and Technology, with the audience being at the centre of all three.

As part of the plan, MBC has embarked on a recruitment exercise to fill key positions that have remained vacant for a significant period of time. As such, MBC will require a Management Training Programme aligned to the Strategic Plan to equip new managers including those already in service:

  • To have a clear understanding of what is actually happening in the media landscape with regards to new technologies, broadcasting on multimedia platform, on line services, digital gap and possible solutions to face these challenges.
  • To apply appropriate leadership capabilities to embrace innovation and adapt to change.
  • To build, maintain and lead effective teams.
  • To develop consensus and a strong organisational culture while looking in the same direction and working interdependently.
  • To translate the vision and objectives of the MBC to a clear road map according to the Strategic Plan.

Peter Block will use his extensive practical and academic background in the global media business to work with MBC to develop the first steps in achieving the goals and objectives MBC has set itself by working with senior managers and staff at MBC in creating a road map.

Peter currently leads the international MA in Global Media Business at the University of Westminster and the Communication University of China in Beijing. Peter is also an independent consultant through Media Operations Management Ltd, assisting organisations with their people development, particularly in the creative industries. He sits on the board of the European Media Management Association (emma) and is a reviewer for the Journal of Media Business Studies.


Bursars will be travelling until July this year, when we will publish their reports and stories from their  projects.

The Public Media Alliance is grateful to the Grace Wyndham Goldie Trust for their continued support for these bursaries.

Header image: Koro Vaka’uta from RNZ, one of our 2017 Travel Bursars.