Future of journalism in the spotlight at local conference

COVERING THE BIG NEWS: Business Day editor Songezo Zibi. Photo: Dinesh Balliah.

COVERING THE BIG NEWS: Business Day editor Songezo Zibi. Photo: Dinesh Balliah.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

Radio 702 and Old Mutual raise thousands for Wits fund

The Radio 702 Afternoon Drive team Xolani Gwala, Udo Carelse and Johnathan Fairbairn joined heads with the Old Mutual “More Than Yourself” campaign in a bid to raise funds for the Wits SRC Humanitarian Fund. 

The three 2015 MTN Radio Award finalists ran for the Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra and half Marathon raising R34,750 from donations.

“The Afternoon Drive Team identified running as a way of getting closer to communities and off the back of this we were approached by Old Mutual to get involved with the charity angle of the Two Oceans Marathon. Via the portal morethanyourself.co.za there are a number of charities they have selected which fit in with their own brand values.” Said Gwala.

Following the student loan crisis in February, the Wits SRC has been able to raise money to help students faced with financial exclusion through campaigns like the #1Million1Month and the Nescafe Human Chain event.

702 TEAM RUNS FOR HUMANITARIAN FUND: (from left) Jonathan Fairbairn, Pheladi Gwangwa, Udo Carelse, Xolani Gwala and Mzo Jojwana. Photo: Provided

702 TEAM RUNS FOR HUMANITARIAN FUND: (from left) Jonathan Fairbairn, Pheladi Gwangwa, Udo Carelse, Xolani Gwala and Mzo Jojwana. Photo: Provided

Udo Carlese stated that as a show, the Afternoon Drive team are passionate about education as they are often approached by students and parents asking for assistance in funding tertiary studies.

“In order to keep the momentum started by the students themselves going, we gave this campaign our support. ”

“Unfortunately, we can’t help everyone, but we were so inspired by what the Wits SRC were doing with the One Million 1 Month campaign, that we decided their proactive and mature approach to raising funds for students was one with which we could strongly associate. In order to keep the momentum started by the students themselves going, we gave this campaign our support. ” he said.

The Radio 702 team told Wits Vuvuzela that they are happy to report that they all finished with respectable times. They were delighted with the amount they raised.

“This is not the end, only the beginning, and we hope to contribute more as the year progresses.” said Xolani Gwala

Gwala is a seasoned runner while sports news reader Udo Carlese and Johnathan Fairbairn are newcomers to the running sport.

The primary aim of the Humanitarian Fund is to create a purse that will address and meet financial burdens when approached by those who come from an unprivileged background, unable to meet their basic necessities.

The fund was established in 2010 under the leadership of SRC President, Bafana Nhlapo, in response to students who were in urgent need of funding, assisting students whose needs have not been met by NSFAS funding.

The Old Mutual ‘More Than Yourself’ campaign gives an opportunity to join with others to do great things, by donating directly to a cause of your own choice and start fundraising to improve communities.

Go to http://morethanyourself.co.za and make your own contribution.