Journalist quits over Harvard fellowship

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beauregard tromp INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Beauregard Tromp. Photo: Mujahid Safodien

An SA journalist was forced to resign from his job last week after he accepted a fellowship at Harvard University in the US.

Beauregard Tromp, a senior field producer at e.tv, was announced as the latest SA Nieman Fellow to attend Harvard. The Nieman fellowship selects top journalists from around the world for training and journalism studies.

“It is the most prestigious journalism award in the world,” according to Tim du Plessis, the chairman of the Nieman Fund Trust SA.

The fellowship takes place over one academic year, costs between R500 000 and R600 000 and is funded through the Nieman Society.

“Essentially, the kingdom has been offered to me,” said Tromp, about his acceptance into the Harvard programme.

However, Tromp had to resign from his job at eNews when the channel refused to allow him the period of leave to participate in the fellowship.

The television news channel said that while it was “proud of his appointment” it could not grant him a leave of absence owing to company policy. Its policy states employees can only be granted a leave of absence if they have worked with the company for a minimum of three years.

Tromp joined the company less than a year ago.

“We’ve never had this before,” said Du Plessis, “their companies normally react with delight and support them.” He said e.tv’s reasons were “incomprehensible”.

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