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e.tv journo quits over Harvard leave

2012-05-10 16:11
 
 
Cape Town – An e.tv journalist promptly quit after the broadcaster denied him special study leave after he was selected as South Africa's candidate for a prestigious overseas programme.

e.tv has refused Beauregard Lucian Tromp special leave after he was chosen as only one of 12 journalists outside of America to attend a study programme as part of the prestigious Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University.

Tromp subsequently resigned.

e.tv claims Tromp has not been working for e.tv for long enough to qualify for special leave and that there are many others in line ahead of him for the privilege.

The last time a South African was chosen as a Nieman fellow but wasn't allowed to attend the overseas programme was in 1965.

eNews senior management said in a statement to Channel24: "Beauregard Tromp is a worthy recipient of the Nieman Fellowship. We are very proud of him for being selected."

Other eNews staffers studying in US

According to the statement, three eNews staffers have received scholarships to Columbia University within the past year and the eNews anchor Nikiwe Bikitsha will be taking special leave from August to take part in the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship in the United States.

eNews said the news operation sent two journalists to Duke University in the past year which eNews funded with another one going next year. Two eNews staffers also go to Atlanta for training with CNN every year.

"It is within this context, and in order to treat all applicants fairly, that eNews requires staff to have worked for the company for a minimum of three years before being eligible for special leave."

Policy due to abuse

eNews said the policy was instituted because in the past employees have abused the system with people allowed to go on fellowships who fail to return to e.tv's employment despite contractual obligations, and some who have resigned immediately after they've returned.

"Beauregard only joined our company towards the end of last year and is therefore not eligible," said eNews.

eNews says Tromp didn’t apply for the Nieman Fellowship for 2013 but for 2011. "This year the Nieman selection committee in South Africa failed to secure a candidate and so took the rather unusual step of granting the 2013 position to a past and unsuccessful candidate."

eNews said many others at the news organisation are ahead of Tromp in the queue when it comes to special leave.

"Furthermore an open invitation was extended to Beauregard to return to eNews should he wish to do so after the programme. His future is in no way compromised by the decision to resign in order to take up the Nieman offer."

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