Saturday, September 4, 2010

Development Journalism Package

Poverty is affecting the whole of South Africa. With high unemployment rates, the poorest of the poor are most vulnerable. As a result, some of the community members from the Eastern Cape are working alongside the Centre for Social Development (CSD) in Grahamstown to help the children and communities who need it the most. Jane van Doorene spoke to some of the people involved.

Climate Change Feature

Climate change… the lingo on the lips of scientists, environmentalists and other really important people but what does this word mean to you? How serious is this whole climate change business? Scientists have made alarming predictions but overwhelming amounts of information on the subject often leave the average person more confused than informed. Jane van Doorene tries to clear up some confusion…

G-News Podcast 2

Counterfeit R200 Notes In Circulation

Over one million rands worth of high quality counterfeit R200 notes are currently in circulation in Grahamstown. The South African Reserve Bank (SARF) is encouraging consumers to present their old R200 notes at any commercial bank by the end of May. The reserve bank hopes consumers will become familiar with the new features to avoid being scammed in future.

Jane van Doorene spoke to local business owners and managers about their techniques for spotting the counterfeit notes.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Reflection on Podcast and Individual Story

I believe that my individual podcast story has met most of the aims that I have outlined in my personal philosophy as well as the agency document. I have reported the news on a factual, informative basis. In doing so, I have provided the opinions of others instead of my own. Furthermore, I have committed to the guidelines of ethical reporting. I have accepted my role as a social commentator and facilitator to inform while trying to remain fair and sensitive to the needs of the community.

I have used sources external to Rhodes campus as this was one of the aims outlined in the agency document and I wanted to report on news that was relevant to the wider Grahamstown community. I also attempted to air the voices of the minority and shed light on the injustices and repercussions of the action taken by South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) to the Old Gaol. However, I tried to balance the story by getting the views of other businesses as to why they think the Old Gaol should not stay open. I would have liked to have spoken to someone from SAHRA but unfortunately no one was available for comment. Thus, in future I hope to secure my sources beforehand in order to ensure that all the voices are given an opportunity to speak.

This story has the potential to focus on important issues which have relevance to the wider community, for example the unemployment of staff, the loss of a culturally diverse backpackers and the thoughts of surrounding businesses. In doing so, I hoped to educate individuals about the repercussions of what it would mean for the Old Gaol backpackers to close.

More broadly speaking, the podcast could improve technically by adjusting the introductory music and possibly changing it to suite the more casual style of reporting that was used by the anchor, Tom Sizeland. Also, I think all the stories need to experiment more with different sound opportunities and need to be creative in order to truly entertain the people who listen to the podcast. Thus, the package should transport listeners and make them feel as if they are in the environment in which the reporter is telling the story.

The final podcast was, however, overall a success and the group worked well together to produce good quality, newsworthy reports in a variety of different formats. This variety as well as the casual tone the group decided to use helped engage the listener. We also aimed to present stories which were specifically about Grahamstown even if they originated elsewhere. For example, Fifi Peter’s story was about the views individuals had regarding Melema’s comments and the response from the Grahamstown ANC youth League.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

G-News Podcast

Possible Closure for The Old Gaol Backpackers

The owner of the Old Gaol Backpackers, Brian Peltason, is currently in a dispute with the South African Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA) over the closure of the venue. SAHRA recently gave Peltason notice to leave, saying that they wish to turn the building into an educational center and that he had not looked after the building properly. The proposed closure has sparked strong, divided opinions in the community. Our reporter, Jane van Doorene has more on this story, speaking to some of the people it would affect most.

Bongani Diko Profile

Family and community is at the heart of the man behind Ikhaya Theatre Company. He has made a name for himself as an artist, director and manager but most importantly a community builder.

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Journalistic Philosophy

This year I will be serving the Grahamstown community as a radio journalist. Located in the middle of diverse ecological regions, this beautiful, quaint town is home to many different cultures, languages, ethnic groups and belief systems which represent the community and give Grahamstown a unique personality. Along with its character and charm, its rich history gives the community much to be proud of. But with such variety, great discrepancies between the rich and the poor, the employed and the unemployed, and the educated and the uneducated are also growing. While Grahamstown boasts some of the best educational institutions in South Africa, illiteracy and poor education are some of the problems which face community members in Joza Township. It is in this environment that I will be challenged to cater for the different needs of the town in order to inform, update and even entertain its members.

Having recently considered Theodore Glasser’s (1992) theory around objectivity, I would have to agree that objectivity is a construct that is impossible to reach. Instead, I am confident stating that I am not objective in my approach to journalism. By acknowledging this, I am taking responsibility for what I say and the way I say it, fully accepting the repercussions of my actions as a journalist instead of hiding behind a fa├žade of ‘objectivity’. In doing so, I will strive to be fair, to represent every side of a story and to be accurate in my portrayal of news. I will try to represent the minority groups who do not usually get the chance to have their say.

I believe that the opinions of a journalist have a specific place within the realm of journalism, however, when reporting news and current affairs, I will be professional in my conduct and remove my opinions from the report. In this way, my role as a radio journalist will be to tell the news even if it doesn’t shine a positive light on authority, to give the minority a voice and to report the views of others instead of my own.

Furthermore, I think it is important to focus on municipal issues to make society more aware and informed about issues which directly affect them. I also believe the media and I myself should act as a unifying force for the community. Thus, I would like to report stories which educate and encourage community members to understand each other better and, in doing so, bridge the gap between the different community members in Grahamstown. Henry Luce could not have said it better- “I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world”.