Walker seeks deeper insight to shore up social practices, journalism
A CURIOUS mind and a desire to live a life of impact have fuelled 28-year-old Brian Walker’s scholastic journey and placed him on a pathway to the pinnacle of academic achievement.
The former journalist is the recipient of the inaugural Cambridge Caribbean Scholarship and will pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) exploring how news coverage shapes and is shaped by experiences of (in)justice in Jamaica.
“I’ll be looking specifically at the experiences of families bereaved by homicide. This topic is a throwback to my early days as a television reporter covering a range of high-profile court cases,” he told The Gleaner.
“I’m hopeful that the project will generate insights that can help to strengthen social policies and improve how journalism is practised.”
Walker is one of two recipients of the scholarship that supports students from the Caribbean who demonstrate outstanding academic ability, and aims to supply the region with an alumni of talented people who will contribute to its future development.
It is expected that the scholarship will support at least 20 Masters and five PhD studentships over the next five years.
“Copping this scholarship affirms the value and importance of my research project and I’m really energised to see how the thesis will take shape over the next few years. Importantly, I’m keen to see how my Cambridge journey will help me to grow as a global thinker and doer,” he shared.
A former student of the Caribbean School of Media and Communication, he graduated in 2016 with a first class degree in journalism. He then worked as a reporter at CVM television before moving on to The Gleaner, where covered the parliamentary beat.
In 2017, he received the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence in Journalism. A year later Walker received the Chevening Scholarship and pursued his graduate studies at the London School of Economics (LSE).
While pursuing his Master’s in social and public communication, Walker campaigned for the renaming of a building on the school’s campus in honour of pioneering black economist Sir Arthur Lewis.
Sir Arthur was LSE’s first Black academic, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics in 1979. The renaming took place earlier this year.
Believing that the future is filled with “dizzying possibilities”, Walker intends to take advantage of them when he completes his doctorate. However, it will be grounded in his love for media, and aspiration to create social impact.
“Broadly speaking, I’d like to find a creative and strategic way to work at the intersection of social research, public affairs and media production, within a global context,” he said.
The Wolmer’s Boys’ alumnus also shared his desire for more youth to seek out and apply for scholarships that he said will not only widen their world view, but drive change in their homeland.
“I think it’s very important for young professionals to broaden their world view and deepen their expertise and one such route is to explore the full range of international scholarships on offer,” he said. “At the same time, I’d encourage young professionals to embrace the idea that Jamaica can be more than she is now and play their part in driving meaningful change, wherever in the world they are.”