University of Sydney student named winner of 2021 Brian White Scholarship

Dona Sirimanne has been named the winner of the 2021 Brian White Scholarship.

Last year’s winner was Zac de Silva.

The announcement:

University of Sydney student Dona Sirimanne has been named the winner of the 2021 Brian White Scholarship, Commercial Radio Australia announced today.

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.

CRA 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, Australian Radio Network and NOVA Entertainment in the Sydney newsrooms.

“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,” she said.

The workshop was conducted online for the second year due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. It was led by commercial radio news leaders, Deborah Clay (ARN), Michelle Stephenson (NOVA Entertainment), Natalie Peters (Nine Radio) and Natasha Jobson (Southern Cross Austereo).

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 said she was 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.

Source: Commercial Radio Australia media release


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