The Wits Centre for Journalism (WCJ) is one of the leading journalism and media professional training institutions on the continent, with strong relationships with the South African media industry. Over 20 years, Wits Journalism has become a leading provider of quality post-graduate teaching, thought leadership and practical engagement with the changing world of journalism. We facilitate a number of key meetings for journalists in Africa, including Radio Days and the African Investigative Journalism Conference (AIJC). We also host the annual Jamfest, which brings together civil society and journalists in partnership with the Civic Tech Innovation Forum. Also housed within the Centre of Journalism – Africa Check, the Citizen Justice Network, Wits Radio Academy, the Africa-China Reporting Project and Wits Justice Project, which bring together our expertise and relationships with community media, advice offices, advocacy and international reporting networks.
As an independent, partially-donor-funded Centre within the University of the Witwatersrand, we accept funding to help us continue with our important work. Donations to the WCJ provide important support for training independent and skilled journalists able to perform a critical role in society. In accepting funding, we comply with all University policies regarding academic independence, editorial independence and intellectual property.
In addition, we are guided by the following core principles when assessing funding opportunities.
Our guiding principles
Promoting free and independent media
As a Centre for Journalism in South Africa and servicing the wider continent, we provide a space for debate and discussion about the changing nature of journalism on the continent. Our teaching encourages journalists to support a free and independent press in their respective countries. As a Centre for Journalism, we advocate for these rights through our existing projects.
Focus on journalism
We are a Centre for teaching, research and practice in the field of journalism. We are not an advocacy or a policy organisation, and while we may take certain positions on particular issues, we do not become involved in legal defence or litigation regarding journalists or rights to freedom of expression.
While we accept donations, grants and sponsorships to support our activities, we decide independently, free from influence or control by funders or other interest groups, what to publish on our platforms, teach in our programmes or topics to research. In some cases, WCJ may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but in all cases we maintain editorial independence and editorial control. We will never cede the right of review of editorial content, nor of unauthorised distribution of editorial content. Acceptance of support does not constitute or imply endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions.
Transparency and disclosure
We will accept anonymous donations only if it is clear that safeguards are in place that uphold our principles and it complies with the relevant University of the Witwatersrand policies.
We are committed to transparency in terms of funding and partnerships. We will make public all donors who give ZAR100 000 or more a year.
We will only accept funding from government agencies or affiliates where this is mediated through public calls for applications and where the arrangement is governed by a legal grant contract that ensures our right to editorial independence. Similarly, we will not accept charitable donations from lobbying groups, political parties, elected officials or candidates seeking public office.
We will research and perform due diligence on all prospective donors to ensure that grants or donations from these sources will not in any way contravene our principles and University of the Witwatersrand policies.
We will not accept funding from anyone who does not accept and abide by our principles.