Inspired by the courageous life and bold career of a UQ Journalism alumna, a new scholarship hopes to launch aspiring journalism students into work experience opportunities in Sydney’s most powerful media institutions.
The Clare Atkinson Memorial Scholarship seeks to support exceptional journalism students in overcoming financial and other hardships to gain hands-on experience in broadcast, print, or radio news through internships at national news media organisations based in Sydney.
After graduating in 2006, Clare Atkinson quickly became a prominent voice in the crowded journalism landscape, and for the next 8 years her career was intense, diverse, and bold. Ms. Atkinson worked first with Germany’s national broadcaster Deutsche Welle, before returning home to work at the ABC, SBS, The Guardian, Huffington Post and more.
Ms Atkinson was diagnosed with terminal secondary liver cancer in 2014. Over the next 18 months she used her platform to help others, was interviewed by the BBC, and wrote numerous articles passionately advocating for young people affected by cancer.
Ms Atkinson passed away on 22 June 2016 at the age of 31.
As passionate Journalism undergraduates at UQ, Clare and her good friend Shannon Molloy re-established the Journalism Student Association. In 2017 Shannon came back to UQ with an idea: to honour the legacy of his late friend with The Clare Atkinson Memorial Scholarship.
“Clare’s death had a profound impact on me, as it did all of her loved ones. This program is a tribute to her, her career and her zest for life,” Mr Molloy said.
The long-term goal is to endow this fund in perpetuity to allow any future UQ Journalism students the chance at an extraordinary career like Clare’s.
In the competitive landscape of journalism, this career-launching opportunity is unparalleled. As President of UQ’s Journalism and Communications Society Nazlee Salami says, “Being a journalist is easy, becoming a journalist is hard.”
The Clare Atkinson Memorial Scholarship will empower journalism students to dive headfirst into the industry, make the most of the profound impact they can have on our public discourse. It supports students who demonstrate the commitment to journalism that Clare displayed throughout her life.
You too can support Clare Atkinson’s continued legacy, the careers of UQ students, and the future of journalism.