University of Sydney student Dona Sirimanne has been named the winner of the 2021 Brian White Scholarship.
In her final year of a Bachelors of Secondary Education/English Literature, the student from Dundas, New South Wales, was selected as the recipient of the award from among 10 finalists from five universities, following a workshop with leading radio news directors.
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive officer Joan Warner congratulated Dona on winning the scholarship, which will see her undertake an eight-week paid placement, working for two weeks each at Nine Radio, Southern Cross Austereo, ARN and NOVA Entertainment in the Sydney newsrooms.
Joan says, “It has been another challenging year and we are delighted that the Brian White scholarship finals could continue in a virtual capacity. Current global and domestic events make it imperative that Australia’s young top talent have every opportunity to build their careers in the live broadcast news industry.”
The workshop was conducted online for the second year due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and was led by commercial radio news leaders, Deborah Clay (ARN), Michelle Stephenson (NOVA), Natalie Peters (Nine Radio) and Natasha Jobson (SCA).
The finalists took part in a series of newsroom exercises and were required to record a live cross about a current news event. They also had the opportunity to receive individual feedback and advice.
Dona says she is honoured to have been selected for the scholarship. ”I’ve always loved the production and broadcast aspects of news radio and can’t wait to learn as much as I can during the scholarship.”
The scholarship is named after legendary radio broadcaster Brian White, who covered the wars in Vietnam and the Middle East, served as general manager of 3AW in Melbourne and was a role model and mentor to many radio journalists.
This is the fifth year that the scholarship has been facilitated by the commercial radio industry. The competition is open to recent graduates or students who are in their final year of study in a relevant course such as Communications, Media, Journalism and Radio.
Dona has been volunteering in the 2SER Newsroom during her University course. 2SER Manager Martin Walters has told radioinfo: “2SER is absolutely thrilled for Dona, we all look forward to seeing where she takes her career journey from here. We’re also delighted that a 2SER Newsroom volunteer has won the scholarship two years running, reflecting the talent coming through the station and News Director Geoff Field’s dedication to mentoring student volunteers.”