Dinesh Balliah new Director of the Wits Centre for Journalism 


“I am thrilled to be able to lead the Wits Centre for Journalism at this incredibly exciting time,” says Balliah. “The Centre has grown and developed over the years and is well-received across the continent and beyond, and I look forward to more sustained growth in the years to come. Together with our partners, the Centre has a crucial role to play in shaping and making room for new forms of journalism rooted in ethical practices.”

Prof. Dan Ojwang, the Head of the School of Literature, Language and Media says: “I am very pleased that the University has been able to make this appointment as Wits Journalism transitions into its new life as a research centre – a time of significant change both within the legacy department and in the journalism industry. We look forward to working with Dr Balliah in her new role and wish her a productive tenure as the new Director of the Wits Centre for Journalism.”

A talented individual – Balliah is an experienced, journalism academic, researcher and ICT specialist. She joined Wits over 20 years ago as an ICT specialist who bridged the gap between academia and technology. She was then appointed to lead the career-entry programme at Wits Journalism from 2013, where she also edited the Wits Vuvuzela newspaper for some years before stepping aside to lead the mid-career honours programme. She has supervised a wide range of media studies and journalism Honours and Master’s students over the years and continues to lecture in digital journalism and media. In 2017, she won the Faculty of Humanities postgraduate teaching award. 

Balliah completed her doctorate in journalism and media studies at Wits in 2021, following her dissertation titled Going Online: An Analysis of Shifts in Journalism Practice in the Mail & Guardian’s History of Digitisation. She holds a Master’s degree in History which resulted in the publication of a monograph on the history of the internet in South Africa. Prior to this, she completed her undergraduate degree at the former University of Natal majoring in law and history, where she was awarded the Abe Bailey Fellowship. She also completed a certificate in Globalisation and the Information Society via the LINK Centre and University of Michigan (Ann Arbor).

Balliah has lectured in Wits’ Media Studies Department, in various aspects of media and journalism at the University of Johannesburg and Boston Media House.

The editor of SANEF’s Covid 19 Impact on Journalism Report (2020) by Reg Rumney, Balliah also authored “They are resistant – shifting newsroom cultures in a sea of uncertainty: journalism next” (2015), in Rhodes Journalism Review. She authored “The Historical Context of Internet Development in South Africa: A way to understand current ICT penetration” (2003) in The Politics of Digital Inequality, edited by Joelien Pretorius and Ian Liebenberg.

Beyond the University, Balliah has served as the deputy public advocate on the Press Council of South Africa, where she evaluated online complaints in line with the Press Code against member organisations and acted on behalf of complainants to process complaints. She also served on the ethics advisory committee of Newzroom Africa.

She is currently a director of the German International School in Johannesburg and the Health-e news agency where she acted as chair of the Board until January this year. In 2019, Dinesh spent six weeks at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University as part of her professional development fellowship from the Study of the United States programme.

Read more about the new Wits Centre for Journalism and visit the Wits Journalism website for details.

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