Plattekloof student wins citizen journalist award

Terri-Ann Brouwers has her hands full with the awards she won.

Terri-Ann Brouwers, a Pearson Institute journalism student from Plattekloof, has taken home three Sinelizwi Citizen Journalist of the Year awards.

The event was co-hosted by agricultural news site Food For Mzansi and the Google News Initiative.

Ms Brouwers won the “top performer in the Western Cape” competition, the “games master” award, and the “citizen journalist of the year” award.

“The games master award was because I did not miss a deadline, and the lecturer is known as the games master,” Ms Brouwers said.

Terri-Ann Brouwers receiving her “games master” award from food journalist Duncan Masiwa.

“I was surprised that I won this, I did not expect it at all. It was a really good competition to be part of as it kept me busy. I was always working towards deadlines, applying the new skills. Just as the competition started, I was diagnosed with depression. At first I did not want to enter because I had this mental illness and I did not know how I would manage, but a friend encouraged me, and I thought why not, I have nothing to lose. In hindsight, this project was just what I needed to keep me sane,” she recalled with a smile.

The competition began in August last year and ended in April, with an awards ceremony in Paarl at which all of the winners were present.

“We were taught the basics of journalism and how to apply it, we were tested regularly through the stories we did. I did a written report on beauticians, entrepreneurs in Plattekloof about their business and how it is flourishing. I interviewed a fellow student about remote learning, the challenges, the pros and cons, and that was a video blog. So the focus wasn’t just agriculture or food, the organisers gave us a good variety of topics to work with and that enabled me to learn about different people, and industries.”

The 23-year old student hopes that citizen journalism continues to be supported as she believes there is a need for it.

“Most citizen journalists do not have the skills we (students) have, but citizen journalists are important because they know what’s in the area or township they live in, so they can tell authentic stories. I hope through this initiative that more people can be skilled up so they can tell their stories accurately.”

Citizen journalist award winner Terri-Ann Brouwers speaking at the awards ceremony.