The Wits Centre for Journalism is pleased to welcome Dr Collen Chambwera, a seasoned educator in the media space who joins the team as a senior lecturer and researcher.

“When an opportunity arose at the WCJ I was immediately attracted by the idea of returning to journalism, which had been my interest from when I started my undergraduate degree. My PhD topic was financial and economic news production practices in Zimbabwe from 1980 to 2017,” says Chambwera, previously a postgraduate research coordinator at AFDA School for Motion Picture and Live Performance and School of Communication lecturer at the University of Johannesburg.

“The WCJ is known for producing quality graduates and engaging in projects that benefit the practice of journalism. Many want to be associated with the best, and I am no exception. The prospect of growing my journalism practice research in one of the best journalism education and training centres in South Africa and Africa was irresistible.”

Chambwera joins the WCJ to assist with lecturing, research and supporting the various projects run by the Centre.

“I bring an inquisitive attitude. I think there is always more that can be done to improve and innovate the practice of journalism in the profession’s ever-changing contexts. This should permeate into how we facilitate learning and produce knowledge through research. Networking and collaboration enhance our understanding of the field and opens avenues for innovation,” he says.

When engaging with students, Chambwera describes himself as a facilitator.

“I believe students learn better when they get involved in their own learning. I have had the experience of teaching big and small classes, and it is always amazing how students understand better when given room to get involved in their own learning,” he says.

“I make myself available to students as much as possible so that no one ever feels like they are on the journey alone. Patience is key whether one is dealing with struggling students or those most active.”

Chambwera explains that technological changes, such as the rapid rise of artificial intelligence in the media space, bring opportunities and challenges in learner experiences, as well as learning facilitation and research.

“In the Global South, it is not just a matter of keeping up with technological advances, but also issues to do with access. It takes an understanding of the economic contexts in which we operate and aligning conduct and expectations accordingly,” he asserts.

“It is also about acknowledging and embracing our own experiences and centring them in the ever-changing global contexts. The field of journalism faces challenges from evolving technologies and students need to be prepared for the new realities that arise from that. Research also needs to continuously interrogate these changes to find ways in which journalism remains a significant field adapted to evolving realities.”

Says WCJ Director, Dr Dinesh Balliah: “Dr Chambwera has worked with the Centre through his involvement at the South African Communications Association (SACOMM) in the past, and we are delighted that he has decided to join us as a senior lecturer. He joins our renowned academic team and extends it with his focus on multimedia journalism, and African journalism ethics and practice, in a shifting media landscape. His commitment to excellence in teaching and learning, and of the pastoral care of students, is a clear match with the ethos of the WCJ and the university.”