New commercial radio scholarship for journalism students: Deborah Clay

At this year’s Australian Commercial radio Awards, ARN’s Sydney and Brisbane News Director Deborah Clay announced a new scholarship, which will give radio journalism students a chance to hone their skills across various networks.

Deborah talks to radioinfo about the new Brian White Scholarship, which sees radio networks put their rivalries aside for a good cause.

How did the idea for the scholarship come about?

I had the idea for a mentoring initiative in response to the huge changes we’ve seen across the media industry and news in particular in recent years. I floated the idea for an industry scholarship with my boss Duncan Campbell and he encouraged me to take it to Commercial Radio Australia.

What does the scholarship involve and who should apply?

News leaders from the various radio networks are coming together to identify the brightest upcoming broadcast journalists and offer guidance and support. The scholarship is open to recent graduates or students in their final year of study in a course relevant to journalism.

The successful applicant will receive a placement across each of the four major metropolitan radio networks – Macquarie Media, Australian Radio Network, Nova Entertainment and Southern Cross Austereo, for a total of eight weeks. They’ll have the opportunity to see how different newsrooms operate and give them valuable time with the News Directors.

Radio journalism is a rewarding career trajectory and hopefully the initiative will capture the imagination of not only the winner of the scholarship, but everybody who applies.

What does the application process involve?

Commercial Radio Australia will contact universities across Australia with applications opening in the new year. Entrants will be required to submit both audio and written examples showcasing their work. The judging process will culminate in a dynamic workshop for finalists who will receive valuable advice from industry leaders. We’ll be looking for journalists with potential and a positive attitude.

You are already mentoring a number of people, why is the initiative necessary?

This is a positive statement to the radio industry about the goodwill which exists within newsrooms and hopefully will have an impact on the next generation of journalists. Radio has proven to be resilient in a changing media landscape and broadcast news continues to be essential when major stories break.

I believe unique news content (interviews and stories) is the key to the future of radio news as listeners are savvy about the information they consume each day. They know if a story is old or if they’ve seen it online across numerous media outlets. Developing the journalism skills to produce unique content doesn’t happen overnight and my hope is the Brian White Scholarship will give people who apply the awareness to question the media release, because it’s rarely the story.



In 2013 Deborah Clay was the recipient of the Brian White Memorial Award for news journalism. Read more about it here, or click Deborah’s name in the tag cloud below for other coverage.

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