Student lands ICT journalism prize

25 April 2006

Winner: Technology writer Peter McMahon.

VARSITY information and communication technology (ICT) reporter Peter McMahon, a fourth-year electrical and computer engineering undergraduate, has landed the Student Category Winner Award in the Telkom ICT Journalist of the Year competition, following a ceremony held recently in Johannesburg.

The category is a new one and has won McMahon a handsome R10 000 purse and a bursary to study further at a South African tertiary institution.

The awards highlight the way information on developments in the ICT field is disseminated to the public by specialist writers.

"Without the clear spread of information about technology and the intelligent communication of such information, technology would exist in a vacuum, rather than enhancing and uplifting our lives. ICT journalists are the connectors between people and the technology that improves our lives," said Lulu Letlape, Telkom's group executive of corporate communications.

The judges used three main criteria in their selections: excellence, clarity and balance, with an eye for the writer's skill in explaining sometimes complex and technical aspects to lay audiences.

McMahon has previously written for software developer trade publications, and writes technical articles for magazines in the US and UK. During his third year he was copy editor for VARSITY, a publication he has contributed to since his first year at UCT. This year he is the editor of the business and technology section.

"I owe much of this award to last year's editor, David Wilson, who pushed me into writing technology articles for the paper," McMahon jokes.

He hopes to pursue postgraduate studies in electrical engineering or computer science next year.

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