Bridget Lepere is a former Youth Science and Technology Journalism Progrmme (YSTJ) intern. Her science story was nominated for the Liberty Radio Awards in 2018. Bridget Lepere a young upcoming science journalist has a good foundation in journalism. After completing her studies, she worked as a community media journalist for both radio and print. This experience gave her a strong foundation and prepared her for a great career in journalism.
Despite her experience in the community media, there was
something missing. She yearned for a career in science
journalism. Her thirst for science journalism was unquenchable.
She wanted to get into science journalism field
After completing her studies at the Tshwane University of Technology, it was not easy for her to secure a job in journalism. A lucky break for Bridget came when she spotted an opportunity to become an intern at the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), through the Youth Science and Technology Journalism (YSTJ) programme. She tackled this opportunity head on with passion and zeal.
“I always had an interest in science journalism, but I didn’t know how to go about it or where to start,” she said. SAASTA became my stepping stone, it opened the door for me,” said Lepere. “The YSTJ programme enabled me to get in touch with people who had the knowhow”, she added.
After making the switch to science journalism as a YSTJ intern, she began honing her science journalism skills, taking it one story at a time while producing content for Voice of Wits as a science journalist intern. She gained experience as a content producer at Voice of Wits (VOW) FM, a job that sometimes forced her to work outside her comfort zone.
“At some point I had to co-host the show, which was something that was out of my comfort zone, but I did it because that’s how I grew and got better”, she added.
Only two years into her science journalism career Lepere is still working hard and honing her skills and it is paying off. Last year, she was nominated for the prestigious Liberty Radio Awards, which are regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of South African radio industry. For her most recent tenure at the Wits Radio Academy, through VOW FM, nourished her insatiable passion for science journalism. She works as a content producer for a science show and another current affairs show- Breaking Ground, while managing and editing news.
Apart from her role as a content producer and news editor, she is also responsible for training community media practitioners to produce high quality shows. Furthermore, she also provides them with training for reporting news, science stories and overall competency in their newsrooms. Not all this experience means that she has stopped learning and improving as a science journalist. Lepere returned in November 2019 to SAASTA to facilitate a radio science journalism workshop for the new crop of YSTJ interns. For her this experience has been the most beneficial of them all. Speaking at the workshop, Zamuxolo Matiwana, YSTJ leader, spoke fondly of Lepere about her work ethic and how she grab the opportunity and ran with it. Zamuxolo was overjoyed to see one of the former interns giving back to the programme.
“It is a wonderful feeling to see the impact the programme has had on young people’s lives, such as Bridget”, expressed Matiwana.
He challenged the new crop of interns to work as hard as Bridget had during her tenure in order to utilise this opportunity to open doors for themselves in the future.
Lepere’s long-term goal is to create a platform for herself in order to continue informing people about science moreover about health and environmental issues. “I hope to continue playing a role in telling scientific stories”, she said. With her commitment and drive to contribute in bringing awareness about science to communities, it comes as no surprise that Lepere is on the rise to becoming one among the few future science journalists in this country. Watch the space.