One of the main focuses of the third year radio course is the production of news. The work we have done includes:

• Scripting and producing a public service announcement (PSA)
• Writing news stories for the Grocott’s podcast for the blind
• Producing stories and compiling them into news podcasts

Scripting and producing a public service announcement (PSA)

Working in groups of three we came up with a proposal in which we identified the message, target audience and significance of the message for the community. My group proposed the following:

1. Message: The library of the blind offers a wide variety of activities to the blind community in Grahamstown.

2. Target Audience: The target audience are the citizens of Grahamstown as well as the student at Rhodes University.

3. Significance of message: There is a lot to do for the blind community and there are many ways one could assist and get involved in helping the blind.

From here we scripted, recorded and complied the PSA. Have a listen:

Writing news stories for the Grocott’s podcast for the blind
We were required to script news stories which were then used for a podcast for the blind. This exercise was beneficial in learning how to write for the ear and keep things short and simple. Here are some of the stories I wrote about:

Entries for the Two Oceans Marathon Closed
Jane van Doorene
Word count: 82

Organisers for the Two Oceans Marathon are accepting no further entries. The country’s biggest half marathon is taking place on the third of April. Eleven thousand runners have already entered while others will have to wait and qualify for the flagship event. This is a fifty six kilometre ultra marathon which currently has two thousand six hundred entries. This should increase dramatically over the next three weeks when most of the qualifying events will be taking place around the country.

The final stages of the local football league underway
Jane van Doorene
Word count: 76

The first round of the Makana Local Football Association Metropolitan League is in its final stages. This league is made up of sixteen teams and is the only league in the LFA. Teams have already played fourteen matches. Currently, Joza Callies is in the lead with thirty four point. They are closely followed by City Pirates, last year’s winners, who have thirty three points. Matches are taking place four days a week at JD Dlepu Stadiums.

Makana Brick Nite Race next week Wednesday
Jane van Doorene
Word count: 100

The Makana Brick eight kilometres Nite Race is set to take place next Wednesday. The race which is organised by Albany Road Runners will start at five-thirty at the Albany Sports Club. A R10 entry fee will be payable from four-thirty on the 10th of March. A member of Albany Road Runners, Andrew Slaughter said that the race will continue to accommodate disabled athletes. Each finisher will receive a pineapple and a medal, a tradition of this event. Boerewors rolls and refreshments will be sold during and after the race. For more information please contact Misty on 084 890 3445.

Makana Brick Cycle Race Moved
Jane van Doorene
Word count: 99

The annual Makana Brick Cycle race has been moved from May to September this year. The organisers, Rhodes University’s Cycle Club, have changed the date due to poor weather conditions experienced in previous years. The sixteenth of September was also chosen to alleviate the congestion with races and popular events across the country earlier in the year. The race will also be able to accommodate cyclists who did not want to take part previously due to fear of injury before SA champs. One of the organisers, Devin Cripwell, says the date change has been welcomed by Eastern Province Cycling.

Strike Action Turns Violent
Jane van Doorene
Word count: 99

A local businessman, Devin Bosman, got assaulted by South African Municipal Workers Union strikers in New Street on Monday. Nearly 200 SAMWU members took to the streets chanting songs and throwing rubbish on the streets. Bosman asked strikers why they were throwing bottles at cars. They responded by beating him and hitting him with a beer bottle, knobkerries and vuvuzelas. Bosman was taken to Settlers Hospital shortly after the incident occurred. Makana Executive Mayor, Vumile Lwana, has criticised the act of violence. He said, “Its bad- any act of violence must be condemned. It is something we cannot afford”.

Grahamstown High Court Recommendations Made
Jane van Doorene
Word count: 120

Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo met with President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday evening to discuss the appointment of three non-white judges in the Grahamstown High Court. Port Elizabeth Regional Court President, Thami Bashe and two Eastern Cape attorneys, Mandela Makaula and John Smith have been recommended. Judicial Services Commission spokesperson, Dumisa Ntsebeza says this move will address concerns over the lack of female and black candidates in judicial positions. If Smith is appointed as judge in the High Court, he will be the only coloured judge in Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth. While he believes this is an important consideration, he would like to be appointed based on his competency rather than his race. Confirmation of positions will be given during the week.

Producing stories and comiling them into news podcasts

Individually we were required to report on news stories in the community. Then, in groups of 6, we complied these stories into one podcast. Here are my individual stories:

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.

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.

In order to hear the final G-News Podcasts click here 

During the take home radio production specialisation, I was required to critically reflect on the degree to which I was successful in practically achieving the journalistic philosophy I produced at the beginning of the year. Below is my response in relation the the news I produced during the course of the year

I have produced a variety of different news pieces over the course of the year including scripting and producing a public service announcement, writing stories for Grocott’s podcast for the blind and producing and compiling stories for another podcast, called G-News. In the following introduction, these news pieces will be assessed according to my personal philosophy and the public journalism approach I have aligned myself with since. In doing so, I will determine the degree to which I have been successful in practicing my approach to journalism as well as the limitations that I have faced in my approach.

Unfortunately, I cannot say that I have been completely successful in fulfilling all the required journalistic practices of public journalism. This is especially true regarding the application of the practices of public journalism in conceptualising stories. Haas (2007) and other public journalism theorists outline the importance of getting citizens to set and shape the news agenda. In all the work I conducted in the news section of my portfolio, I seldom actually spoke to ordinary citizens and often relied on other sources of information in setting the news agenda and conceptualising what was important to the community.

The closest I came in getting citizens to shaping the news agenda, was in the conceptualisation of the story I produced for the G-news podcast about the possible closure of the Old Gaol backpackers. I was on Facebook when I noticed that a group had been formed to oppose the closure of the backpackers. A lot of the students and the rest of the Grahamstown community had joined the group and provided a range of different comments. Furthermore, an article about the Old Gaol which was published in Grocott’s Mail had received negative feedback and sparked public debate. Because of the controversy around this story, I felt that it was an important issue which community members had raised and would be an interesting topic to tackle. However, because of the diversity and the distinct segregation between Grahamstown East or “iRhini” (consisting of more than 130 000 citizens) and Grahamstown West (consisting of approximately 80 000 citizens), I still failed to conceptualise news stories which were relevant to the majority of the Grahamstown population (Statistics South Africa, 2005). Furthermore, I still remained removed from the social inequalities and injustices experienced by the people in the township.

The above points were apparent when choosing which stories to script for a podcast for the blind. The stories were always based on news reported from the newspaper. Although all the stories I covered were local and involved a variety of views from different members of the Grahamstown community, the stories did not accurately depict the problems and issues which the majority of the members of the community were experiencing. Thus, in most cases, I failed to use the public journalism approach in conceptualising story ideas which were directly shaped by the citizens’ agenda.

Furthermore, I have only been partially successful in my approach to the language and scripting of the news in terms of the practices of public journalism outlined by Haas (2007). He argues that the news produced in the realm of public journalism should be suited to the community it serves. All of the news pieces I produced were in English and, as a result, the language barrier between community members and me worked as a limitation in scripting news content. Although many of the community members in Grahamstown speak English, there are language barriers which one cannot ignore. Media in Grahamstown caters, in most cases, to the English population, however, Grahamstown consists mainly of Xhosa-speaking individuals as well as some Afrikaans-speaking citizens. Therefore, using English in all of my news reporting is not in line with the practice of public journalism. However, I attempted to structure and script the news pieces I produced in a way in which the local Grahamstown community could relate to the information provided and kept the scripting short and simple.

In order to achieve the aims and goals I have set for myself in my public philosophy, I need to pay particular attention to the methods employed by public journalists in the conceptualisation of news stories as well as the language and scripting I choose to employ in conveying these stories.


Haas, T. 2007. The pursuit of public journalism: theory, practice and criticism. New York: Routledge.

Statistics South Africa. 2005. Retrieved 9 October 2010 from