Commercial Radio Australia Brian White Awards

Previous scholarship winners

2021 - Dona Sirimanne

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

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, ARN 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 (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 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."

2020 – Zac de Silva

Macquarie University student Zac de Silva was named the winner of the 2020 Brian White Scholarship.

Zac, a final year journalism student from Mount Colah, was selected as the recipient of the award from among 12 finalists from six universities, following a workshop with leading radio news directors.

The workshop was conducted online for the first time due to COVID-19 and was led by commercial radio news leaders Deborah Clay (Australian Radio Network), Michelle Stephenson (NOVA Entertainment), Natalie Peters (Nine Radio) and Amy Drew (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.

Zac said he was honoured to have been selected for the scholarship.  “I’ve always loved the immediacy of news radio and I’m so excited to take this next step in my career as a journalist.”

 

2019 – Tom Durkin

Tom Durkin, who was in his final year of study at Edith Cowan University studying a Graduate Diploma of Broadcasting, was the winner of 2019's national Brian White Scholarship. Tom said he is very proud to have been granted this opportunity and believes it will give his journalism career a kick start.

"I have always dreamed of having a career in news radio. I am thrilled and very grateful that I will be starting my career with the Brian White Scholarship," Tom said.

Tom was among nine other student finalists who attended a news workshop in Sydney at the Southern Cross Austereo rooftop.

Read about Tom's experience and his tips for future applicants!

Q. What are the top three skills that you learnt on your placement?

1) I developed my ability to process information very quickly. By creating news bulletins under time pressure, I learnt how to summarise information in an efficient way

2) I learnt how to ask engaging questions to ensure a story is pushed forward. I was given the opportunity to interview people from a wide variety of professions. I now appreciate the importance of maintaining an interest in all areas of current affairs

3) I gained the ability to use my voice effectively. I received advice from a variety of mentors across the radio industry. Thanks to their guidance, I have learnt how to vary my pitch, volume and tone, in order to change the meaning of a sentence.

Q. What advice/tips would you give to future applicants? 

Take a chance, back yourself and apply for this brilliant opportunity. During the application process, do not be afraid to display your personality.

 

 

2019 FINALISTS:  Isabel Everett – NSW   |   Alix Waugh – NSW   |   Rachel Holdsworth – NSW   |   Isobel Rushe – NSW   |   Jarrod Melmeth – NSW   |  Naseem Radmehr – VIC   |   Elliott Chipper – WA   |   Samantha Goerling – WA   |   Tom Durkin – WA   |   Danica Lamb – WA

 


2018 – Kamin Gock

Charles Sturt University student, Kamin Gock was the winner of the 2018 Brian White Scholarship.

Kamin was one of eight student finalists who attended a news workshop at the SCA rooftop in Sydney and was judged across several areas including: a general knowledge questionnaire; recording a live cross to a breaking story; and selecting AM and FM appropriate news stories.

After being awarded the scholarship, Kamin embarked on an eight-week paid work attachment in Sydney, consisting of two weeks each at MML, SCA, ARN and Nova. There, he worked with leading radio and industry specialist transferring his knowledge to land a journalism position at Channel 9 Perth. Follow Kamin’s journey on Twitter @kamingock

Q. What did you study at university? 

I studied a Bachelor of Communication majoring in Journalism.

Q. How did the Brian White Scholarship give you an advantage while applying for positions after graduation?

Without a doubt, the scholarship helped leap frog my understanding of journalism and my career. The scholarship teaches you things you can't learn in a classroom and puts you in positions where you get practical experience and learn how a newsroom works. These are the kind of skills employers are looking for and the scholarship provides all that and more as you meet incredible people during the eight weeks as well.

Q. What are the top three skills that you learnt on your placement?

1) How to handle high pressure situations with short deadlines

2) Voice work when reporting

3) How to gather news when you are the first one reporting.

Q. How has radio industry experience impacted your journalism? 

My experience in the radio industry has made me a better journalist, I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunities I have had. In radio journalism you learn how to translate complex information into accurate, short and sharp sentences. You have to do so in a very small amount of time so you quickly understand the time pressures that surround you as a journalist. Importantly, radio is all about the voice and you have to be able to convey a message sincerely through what you say and how you say it. My time in radio helped me develop a professional news reader's voice and also taught me how to convey a message to the target audience. At every station, there is a different target audience which means you have to share the news in a different way but without changing the meaning. All these skills are vital in the industry and transferable across all platforms.

Q. What advice/tips would you give to future applicants? 

When writing a news bulletin, before submitting, read it and try to simplify and shorten it. Radio news you have a short amount of time to get an important message across, make sure the most vital information is delivered first and make sure it is written in a way the target audience can understand it without actively listening - as many people when listening to the radio are in the car or multitasking. It's also very important to read a bulletin sincerely and not "overdo" the news reader voice, as it can sound tacky. The best way to develop your voice is through experience and learning from people in the industry. Most importantly if you're lucky enough to receive the scholarship have fun with it and always say yes to opportunities that come your way! You will meet some truly incredible and successful people during the eight weeks so relish the opportunity and make the most of it!

 

 

2018 FINALISTS: Kamin Gock – NSW   |   Grant Maling – NSW   |   Elfy Scott – NSW   |   Tom Livingstone – NSW   |   Madeline Palmer – WA   |   Anna Hay – WA   |   Thomas Marlow – WA   |   Rashelle McHugh – VIC

 


2017 – Rachel Storer

Rachel Storer was the inaugural recipient in 2017. She studied at the University of Newcastle and was part of the student news team at the university radio station. Rachel currently works as a journalist in Melbourne for Australian Radio Network and was recently named in Radio Today's 30 Under 30 Awards in the news category. Follow Rachel’s journey on Twitter @_RachelStorer.

“The Brian White Scholarship provided me with incredible experience. It was hands on and I was learning from experienced journalists in both AM and FM newsrooms. I advise all final year or graduate communications students to apply for the scholarship.”

The eight finalists attended a news workshop at the Nova studios in Sydney with news directors Deborah Clay (ARN), Michelle Stephenson (Nova), Erin Maher (MML) and Natasha Jobson (SCA) putting the students through their paces with a series of radio newsroom-focused tasks. Students were judged across a number of areas including: a general knowledge questionnaire; recording a live cross to a breaking story; writing five radio news stories; and outlining how they would ensure accuracy of information if they were covering a natural disaster.

All the radio news directors were impressed by the enthusiasm and expertise of the finalists.    

SCA News Director, Natasha Jobson said: “If the finalists for the Brian White Scholarship are any example of the next generation of radio journos, we’re in great shape! Whilst all were impressive, Rachel shone with her ability to identify the nuances between AM and FM style news, and her understanding of the importance of news to both regional and metro audiences.”

After completing the eight-week paid scholarship work attachment in Sydney, consisting of two weeks each at MML, SCA, ARN and Nova, Rachel was offered a full time job with SCA at Hit 106.9 Newcastle.

 

 

2017 FINALISTS: Eleanor Harrison-Dengate – NSW   |   Rachel Storer – NSW   |   Tys Occhiuzzi – NSW   |   Sam Koslowski – NSW   |   Kate Lambe – WA   |   Lucy McLeod – WA   |   Rebecca Maynard – WA   |   Bryce Heaton – QLD.