AUDIO: Vuvuzela journalists respond to backlash on VOWFM

On Monday Wits Vuvuzela journalists, Rofhiwa Madzena and Thabile Manala were invited to an interview by radio DJ 88 Keyez at VOWFM. This following the backlash from various student bodies after an article which was published by the journalists about Mcebo Sisulu who, in the article confessed to lying about his identity.

Following the interview on Monday, Rofhiwa and Franz Kruger, acting Head of Department at Wits Journalism went on VOWFM’s current affairs show Breaking Ground to discuss the issue further with the EFF Wits’  Tokelo Nhlapo. The EFF Wits released an official statement slamming the story which published on Sunday.

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Kruger talks sexual harassment

Professor Franz Kruger, an ethics specialist, has looked back to the most talked about Wits University story this year and is surprisingly positive in his opinions.

Kruger , Director of the Wits Radio Academy believes that there were many positives in this case being made public, and reserved glowing praise for the manner in which the Wits Vuvuzela handled it.

Investigations instituted after media reports

Kruger, who is also the ombud for the Mail & Guardian and a member of the SA Press Appeals Panel acknowledges that this  issue is a problem in a lot of colleges and universities, “and from what we hear, it has been a problem at Wits for some time.”

“I think the fact that this thing has come out in the open in the way that it has is positive, for it has reminded us that we have a duty of care, that students feel safe, that this kind of stuff is beyond (the university),” he points out.

He credits the campus media for championing this case, and points out that it was once the campus media and mainstream media had named one or two lecturers that the campus instituted inquiries and ‘did various other things.’

“It is good that it has happened, but it should not have taken this long,” the journalism professor states. “It should have been handled more quickly.”

Kruger believes that once this matter was out in the public domain, it sparked a discussion on campus about this issue; ‘and I think that has been a good thing.’

Ethical test for naming people

Kruger, who is the author of the book ‘Black, White and Grey: Journalism Ethics in South Africa, says the Wits Vuvuzela made the right decision in deciding to name the professor accused of sexual harassment.

“I think one has to think carefully about naming (in any story).  The test for me would be firstly, is one very sure of the facts; can one make a strong case about public interest; and I do think that the reporting that happened here met those tests,” he states.

However, there was a concern about claims of lack of clarity on one of the people writing the stories being alleged to be writing about herself. This, Kruger says, could have been handled better.

“It would have been better there to have been separation about the reporters and the people who were complainants,” he states.

However, it was not necessarily a fatal flaw. “It is of course particularly difficult where you are talking about media within an institution and within a journalism department where in fact you don’t have teams and teams of reporters and the numbers are limited.”

[pullquote align=”right”]“If you were behaving in a way that is in fact proper then there is a problem”[/pullquote]

“As unfortunate as it has been for the people involved, I think Wits Vuvuzela did a real public service by bringing it out,” he said.

However, in the wake of this sexual harassment case, do lecturers now have to be particularly conscious of their teachings methods? How do they relate to the students now?

For Kruger, the simple answer to this is that it should not affect the way lecturers behave themselves around the students.

On a personal level, Kruger reveals that he always feels  that he behaves in a way that would keep him safe from any allegations of that kind, “so I have not felt the need to behave any differently,” he reveals.

His advice to the other lecturers is that If they feel the need to deviate from the way they teach, then it means there is a problem with the way they were teaching beforehand.

“If you were behaving in a way that is in fact proper then there is a problem. I have certainly not felt the need to deviate any way.”

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Investigative journalism on radio

This article first appeared on Jocoza.

Peter Horung stressed the importance of investigative research for radio stations, at the opening day of the Radio Days Conference at Wits University yesterday. 

Andy Carvin 2

Andy Carvin describes how NPR makes use of twitter. Photo: Prelene Singh

Radio can and should be creating news agendas and engaging in investigative research.

This is what NDRs Peter Hornung emphasised in a session about radio news at the fourth Joburg Radio Conference in Johannesburg. NDR is a German broadcaster and their team has won national awards for their investigative work.

Hornung said radio stations should invest in investigative research, especially because competition is getting harder, and there is a need for quality radio.

[pullquote]Investigative research on radio can be better than TV[/pullquote]
“Radio needs to be creating its own news agenda. Strengthening journalistic profiles, credibility and social relevance,” said Hornung.

“Investigative research on radio can be better than TV and better than newspapers and magazines,” said Hornung

In another room at the same time, former KayaFM station manger Charlene Deacon, shared her experiences about how she turned the ailing station around a few years ago.

Deacon became part of the station when it was only three years old but she was the ninth manager and it was already R25 million in debt. Now the station is one of the biggest talk radio stations in Johannesburg:”I knew my strategy was working when everyone said that KayaFM was a friendly station.”

Deacon also shared some leadership tips: “In running a station, say what you mean and mean what you say. Understand that the people are your power. While you’re being thick-skinned you need to be kind.”  Deacon said that one of the challenges she faced was with the staff: Removing incompetent staff- recruiting the right quality … easier said than done.

sam

Sam Cavanagh, producer of the Andy&Hamish show talks about social media and radio. Photo: Dinesh Balliah

Skills development in radio

Skills development and challenges around training is what Lanni Smith and Charlton Philiso addressed in yet another breakaway session. Smith is a Director of Development in the Asia-Pasific Audiovisuel Exterieur de la France while Philiso is a Senior Manager at MICT SETA (Media, Information and Communications Technology Sector Education and Training Authority.

Peter Malebye

MTN’S General Manager Peter Malebye of Ecosystem Development and Innovation talks social media devices. Photo: Prelene Singh

“Skills development is a key success factor in any business. The same applies for community radios,” said Philiso. He said that one of the challenges they face is retaining skilled people once they have been trained.

Smith spoke about some of the work Planet Radio does in terms of providing training to community radios and other parts of the world.

The conference continues today. Visit the conference site for regular updates or follow @jhbradiodays on Twitter.

Wits News: Joburg Radio Days 3-5 July

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[Information taken from Wits News. Email wits.news@wits.ac.za for more information.]

The annual Joburg Radio Days international conference will take place from 3 – 5 July 2013 and the programme promises to be bigger and better than before, with top South African and overseas speakers.

If you’re in radio, you can’t afford to miss this important event on the radio calendar. Hosted by the Wits Radio Academy the conference is the only one of its kind in Africa.

There are sessions of interest to commercial radio, public and community radio; to producers, managers, marketers, editors, DJs; veterans and newbies – anybody with a passion for radio.

Come to a morning, a day or the whole conference.  Applications to attend the conference are now available online. Click here for more information on the topics and registration.   

Date: 3 – 5 July 2013

Venue: Wits Club, West Campus, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

For enquiries, registration and costs, contact radiodays@journalism.co.za