With each page you turn, challenges and complexities of everyday life for African women and female artists are laid bare in poet’s new offering. (more…)
Fees Must Fall leaders and activists, journalists and students reflect on the discourses and reports surrounding 2015/2016 #FMF protests. (more…)
Why is there such a high level of hypocrisy? Why are the lives of Europeans put on a pedestal while the lives of others seem to be of less importance?
This year’s Menell Media Exchange conference played host to much needed debates and commentary about the future of the media industry.
The conference, which took place in Sandton, Johannesburg this Friday and Saturday, was not short on humour as delegates and speakers confronted the prickly issues of the future of the media industry and sustainability in the digital age. The second day kicked off with a comedy roast of South African media by the Late Night News (LNN) team of Loyiso Gola and Kagiso Lediga.
The duo took a stab at almost everyone in a media roast, including controversial media veteran Allister Sparks, to news organisations like the Sunday Times and the Mail&Guardian to radio host Redi Thlabi.
— Timothy Spira (@timspira) June 13, 2015
— Shaka Sisulu (@ShakaSisulu) June 13, 2015
Celebrated radio personality John Perlman of KayaFM joined media strategist Shaka Sisulu, commentator Palesa Morudu and Business Day editor Songezo Zibi on the first panel that focused on how South African media covered the big stories of the day. These included the coverage of xenophobic violence in South Africa along with Nkandla. Perlman offered advice to journalists struggling with coverage of big stories which can be chaotic: “We need to be comfortable with confusion and not being right,” he said.
Sisulu was critical of what he referred to as a predetermined narrative in the media and added that the South African story needs to be told in a more diversified way.
While Zibi received much applause for his contribution to the panel discussion.
— Peter Ndoro (@peterndoro) June 13, 2015
— MenellMediaExchange (@mmx_za) June 13, 2015
Wits University had a strong presence on the second day of the conference. Wits Journalism’s Ashfaaq Carim and Dinesh Balliah formed part of the panel discussion on new ways of storytelling. TV lecturer Indra de Lanerolle presented a short talk on the 10 things you need to know about South Africa’s digital space.
Andrew Phelps from the New York Times highlighted the challenges when faced with breaking news in the digital world. “No one remembers who was right first but everyone remembers when you were first and wrong.” He said that journalists need to choose accuracy over speed when working with online stories.
The conference wrapped up on a positive and optimistic note although the uncertainty around the future of journalism and in particularly, sustainability, will linger long after.
Social media in journalism is increasingly becoming a useful tool for investigative journalism said Raymond Joseph, social media expert and freelance journalist, at this year’s Power
Reporting journalism conference. Twitter, if used properly, can be used as a tool to probe sources for investigative stories. According to Joseph, Twitter can be creepy because you can monitor what
people say and do without their being aware of it.
“There are conversations that are going on there [Twitter] about things that you want to know. You can actually monitor someone without them actually knowing that you are watching them. There
are useful tools which allow you to get to the heart of a subject or source.”
Garaki Fadzi, a delegate from Zimbabwe, said he was not active on Twitter until he attended a talk on its use for investigative journalism. He says he now realises how helpful Twitter is when it comes to crowd-sourcing stories.
“I’ll be able to get leads from people without following them directly and I will be able to get more depth than I was doing now.
It also keeps me secure when I’m confronting people … So I think I will benefit a lot,” he said.
A journalist from China says there is a Chinese twitter called Weibo. It works the same as
Twitter and people interact in the same way as they would here in South Africa.
You can actually monitor someone without them actually knowing that you are watching them.
Liam Lee, a delegate from Hong Kong, said he noticed South Africa and China have similar ways of using social media as an investigative tool to write stories. He used Weibo to find out what happened to people after an earthquake struck a small town in China.
“I try use my Chinese version of Twitter to find people who were living in a small town where there was an earthquake.” He thinks social media is fast and efficient because ordinary people are always posting breaking news and are at the scene when a story breaks. When the story broke about the earthquake, people using Weibo who were at the scene were very descriptive in how it all happened.
“A young, kind father replied to my request and gave me leads to phone numbers and an email so
I could contact people to tell me what happened and they described every detail for me so I appreciate it,” Lee said.
Adeonke Ogunleye, from Nigeria, thinks Twitter can have positive and negative effects on journalism. She said she has been bullied on Twitter for exposing corruption in Nigeria. Ogunleye complained about the bullying to Twitter and the harasser was suspended, only to return to social media two weeks later.
“I’m a victim of Twitter bullying because of all of my stories from the past, stories I’ve done or investigative stories I have been able to carry out and so many people have come after me on Twitter, they bully me, even fellow reporters and journalists.”
However, according to Joseph, Twitter, if used correctly, can help journalists uncover stories in a way they have never been covered before. He said in all his experience as a journalist he has never seen such a powerful tool.
“If you use Twitter properly you should never have to look for stories … If you’re doing it properly. The tools do the heavy lifting.”
He admits that Twitter on its own is not enough and conversations on Twitter need to be written and read in context so that the story is not skewed or clouded by rumours. He said using lists is also a way for users to sift through tweets.
“Twitter on its own is not enough. There is a variety of tools that you are using that you use around it. The secret source is lists where you can distil right down to subjects so what you really want is an controlled stream,” Joseph said.
UJ chicks show more booty and are more “free spirited” than Wits chicks. Sound like a stereotype? One look at the Facebook page, Wits chicks versus UJ chicks, adds some real meat to the stereotypes of “hot” women.
Girls post pictures of themselves in crop tops, sports bras and pleather pants which hug the thighs and accentuate the booty.
Female students from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) post the most girls on the Facebook page. Slindelo Mbatha, a 3rd year student from UJ, says she thinks female students do not treat their body as a temple and that it is an incorrect way to represent women.
“My body is my pride so there’s no way I can post naked pictures on Facebook, hell no. I think it’s slut-ish, nje,” she says.
New and Social Media lecturer at Wits Journalism, Dinesh Balliah, says employers look into social media profiles because people are more free about who they are, so employers want to be sure whom they are associated with.
“When someone sees a picture of you drunk that is something that they attach to you and that is what they think you are,” she says.
A 1st year student from UJ, Livhu Mukhondo, thinks it is disgraceful to show your body in public because it gives off the wrong impression.
“It’s degrading, it misinterprets us in a false manner. As if showing skin is all there is about us, there is more to our content,” Mkhondo says.
While social networks are platforms to express yourself and a place to network amongst friends, the extent to which one is willing to share themselves is starting to tarnish their identity.
Female stereotypes in the media continue to thrive especially when it comes to self-identity and body image. Somehow young women feel as though they have to live up to the way they are defined by media.
Tafadzwa Samu, 3rd year at UJ, thinks there are better ways to show a woman’s “hotness” and beauty besides flashing boobs and butt because it is degrading.
“It is totally unacceptable and I think it is slutty … and disrespectful to your body,” he says.
Samu says more UJ girls are more willing to post pictures of themselves in sports bras and hot pants compared to Wits girls because they are more free-spirited.
Balliah said the definitions of what is considered private have changed because social media was initially platforms which connected people who know each other. However, it has developed to connect organisations, big corporations and people who do not know each other.
“You need to be very prudent about the choices you make and what you are sharing online,” she says.
In recognition of the role digital technology is destined to play in “Africa’s Century”, Wits University has announced that it will host its inaugural Fak’ugesi: Digital Africa Festival 2014, running from 11 August to mid-September 2014.
The festival will be centered on the JCSE’s new Tshimologong Precinct and will make use of other venues on Wits East and West Braamfontein campuses, the Maboneng Precinct and 44 Stanley.
For more information and specific dates, visit our online calendar.
HEADLINE EVENTS CONFIRMED:
Agile Africa 2014: A major conference on software development methods, following up on the very successful inaugural event held in Braamfontein in August 2013.
A MAZE/Johannesburg 2014: An Indie-Games and Digital Arts Festival, attracting games developers and digital artists from Europe and Africa. This festival has been run annually since 2012 in Braamfontein in partnership with the organisers of Berlin’s A MAZE Festival.
CASCADE: CASCADE is a collaborative multi-disciplinary project that champions digital content development through a series of workshops and activities. The event is led by “Onedotzero” – an experiential arts organisation with over 16 years’ experience in curating and producing cultural events and content for brands and agencies. CASCADE will be supported by the British Council.
Process Improvement Africa: This is a one-day conference focusing on the role that process and process improvement plays in helping ICT organisations deliver high quality products and services in a predictable and repeatable manner. The conference will showcase models and methods such as CMMI, ITIL, TSP and AGILE.
Maker Event: 3-D Printing, laser cutters and other rapid prototyping tools are revolutionizing hardware innovation. “Maker Spaces” give innovators the freedom to explore solutions in the hardware world as easily as software developers do in the world of bits and bytes. The Maker Event will provide an opportunity for “Makers” to collaborate, learn and teach.
Unyazi Festival of Electronic Music: The only African festival dedicated to the latest developments in electronic and electro-acoustic music. Launched at Wits in 2005, the 2014 Festival, in partnership with NewMusicSA, will feature innovative and exploratory music from African and the rest of the world.
Presented by Professor Dimitri Constantinou, Director of the Fifa Medical Centre Of Excellence, the lecture focused on sudden death among athletes and argued that most of these deaths were caused by cardiovascular disease.
Constantinou said the media has a significant role to play in educating people about cardiovascular disease especially when it involves prominent footballers.
Instead of informing people, he said, the media tends to sensationalise these deaths and misses the opportunity to raise awareness about the risks of cardiovascular disease in young people.
According to Constantinou, anyone at risk of cardiovascular disease is at a high risk of having a heart attack if they exercise.
In these cases, high-risk persons, especially professional athletes, need to be closely and regularly monitored.
Constantinou recommends that anyone who is engaging in any form of exercise should go for regular heart wellness screenings.
BEING part of a newsroom has always reminds one of “the pit” at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). Picture hundreds of suited-up brokers screaming into telephones, betting frantically on stocks. It’s all very similar to a room full of journalists hustling to get the latest scoop, the most updated version of a story, fighting to make deadline – except they’re dressed in baggy T-shirts, jeans and trainers. [pullquote]”Radio stations, newspapers, TV and glossy magazines are all biting off pieces of flesh from this meaty beat, as if nothing else in the world matters.”[/pullquote]
But this week, this much-anticipated week, the week of Oscar’s trial, is the week that will send journos reeling in a frenzy as they try to outdo rival publications and show up their colleagues.
Coverage of the trial is unavoidable. Even if you don’t care, which we doubt is possible, information on the trial is all around us. Twitter is looking as mundane and repetitive as ever as the press tweet about proceedings, being re-tweeted over and over again.
Radio stations, newspapers, TV and glossy magazines are all biting off pieces of flesh from this meaty beat, as if nothing else in the world matters. [pullquote align=”right”]”Could Oscar’s fate be sold on the market as “stock”? At this rate, we wouldn’t be surprised.”[/pullquote]
The Oscar trail is the biggest thing to hit South African media since Mandela’s death and we all want to know what is happening, as it happens. There were even rumours of people taking time off work to watch the case live on the specialist television channel created for the trial.
The tabloids have worn out every pun that could ever apply, advertisers are thinking up witty campaigns, comedians are sitting tight as material just flows seamlessly into their gags and we are raising bets on the outcome.
Could Oscar’s fate be sold on the market as “stock”? At this rate, we wouldn’t be surprised.
The times of waiting for the day to come to an end then receiving a comprehensive news article about what happened, are gone. WE WANT LIVE UPDATES!
We want to know everything because, boy, do we love drama! We are all in this together, all swimming in this giant pool filled with hashtags, sensational headlines, pictures and “he said-she saids”.
And how ironic! With the 86th Oscar awards ceremony taking place in the early hours of Monday morning, we couldn’t have asked for a better fix of drama in one day.
But just how dramatic can this trial really get? Media are going to have to hope for an elephant stampede or an acrobatic show if they want to keep us on the edge of our seats. Tweets like: “#Pistorius drinks water from a bottle, his left hand trembling” are just not going to cut it.
Wits Vuvuzela is not covering the Oscar trial as we thought our readers were, as it is, already spoiled for choice. At the end of the day what will be, will be. The outcome will remain whether we follow the trial or not.
In the meantime the media will try its best to put on a good show as the JSE continues to promise to make you money.
We asked Witsies their thoughts on the sexual harassment allegations that have surfaced within the departments of the institution. Here’s what they had to say…
Team Vuvu set out to find the images that had the most impact through the year’s publication.
GENERAL NEWS, EVENTS ON CAMPUS
By Jay CabozAround 1500 supporters, mainly from the Inkhatha Freedom Party (IFP), blocked traffic as they made their way to the South African Broadcasting Station (SABC) in a mass protest for fairness from the public broadcaster.
Mungosuthu Buthelezi, head of the IFP, led the large gathering of supporters through Johannesburg CBD to the entrance of the SABC Studios in Auckland Park on Friday September 14.
The IFP leader noted that this was “a matter which goes to the heart of how the citizens of this country can freely make up their own minds as to whom they wish to govern them”.
“South Africans must demand of their public broadcaster that they be treated with respect and not force-fed and manipulated with political propaganda.”
Supporters sported bottles, knobkerries and shields as they made their way along Enoch Sontonga Avenue alongside the University of the Witwatersrand.
One supporter said they were marching to express their outrage that Julius Malema had been banned by the SABC. Another said the media only chose to report their (IFP) actions when they ‘made noise with the ANC’ so they were making some.
Buthelezi addressed the crowd and said that bias within the SABC was not surprising.
“Since 1994, the ANC in Parliament has hand-picked every SABC board member, and the ANC has had the final say in the appointment of all executive officers of the SABC. Thus political interference has been built into the system and ruthlessly exploited by the ANC-alliance.”
“For years, the IFP has continuously engaged the SABC over its anti-IFP coverage and the way in which opposition parties are not fairly represented on all of the public broadcaster’s radio and television channels. This year, for example, two of the IFP’s three major events – its Freedom Day and Women’s Day rally – did not receive TV coverage at all. This is coupled with anti-IFP programmes that have been aired, such as The Bang Bang Club.”
A memorandum was handed over to by the IFP outside the SABC station in Auckland Park without incident.