July 31, 2014

Taking African Journalism Learning to YouTube

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10408813_752352631506700_7682811468389772751_nBy Ndileka Lujabe
How can journalists self-regulate and maintain ethical standards for online journalism? How can Africa embrace new ways of telling stories on digital platforms? Can mastering financial journalism really improve the African economy? Why is narrative journalism a better way of telling stories?
These questions and many more are answered in a new web series, Africa’s Storytellers, launched on the frayintermedia YouTube channel earlier this year.
The series reflects on the core values of journalism by sharing in the experiences of acclaimed journalists.
frayintermedia MD Paula Fray says the series aims to amplify the voices of  African journalists on the craft of journalism: “Each video focuses on specific elements of the craft, allowing the series to be a learning experience.”
Africa’s Storytellers boasts an array of prominent African journalists such as renowned investigative journalists Mzilikazi wa Afrika and Rob Rose, Reuters Harare Bureau Chief Cris Chinaka,  IRIN editor-in-chief Obinna Anyadike, Nation digital and convergence managing editor Churchill Otieno, SANEF Executive Director Mathatha Tsedu, and many more.
The videos provide insights into the day-to-day challenges faced by the subjects interviewed, giving tips and advice to other journalists, as well as the opportunities available to improve storytelling in Africa, by Africans
“We recognise that video has become an integral part of storytelling and we wanted to reach journalists on a platform they used,” Fray said.
frayintermedia has set itself apart as a pioneering pan-African communication company with its values rooted in improving the quality of journalism on the African continent.  It achieves this through various initiatives, furnishing avid media lovers with resources, journalism tips, analysis, interviews and overviews of African media.
To subscribe to weekly inserts of rich and interesting insights into the journalism world, visit the page here and subscribe at this link.
“We would welcome feedback from users. We have already received specific requests on journalistic beats and we will be covering those in future,” Fray said.
You can view the entire series here.

 

Social media for youth volunteers

Tweet-up pics

By Ndileka Lujabe

Tweet-up pics web2

frayintermedia is excited to be involved in a project that teaches young volunteers social media skills in order to promote crime prevention.

Thirty-four volunteers from the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality were selected to be part of the Youth Crime Prevention Desk (YCPD) New Media Initiative.

Sponsored by the German International Cooperation (GIZ), the project aims to provide social media skills to volunteer members of the Youth Crime Prevention Desk (YCPD) in the Katlehong and Tembisa clusters.

Initiated 15 years ago, the YCPD are a joint initiative between the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Department of Community Safety. The desks are based at various police stations and mobilise young people to get involved in crime prevention.

The project was launched in February, after an impact analysis commissioned by the GIZ in 2013, found that even though YCPDs were effective in their work, communication with young people and other youth desks was a challenge.

The Soul City Institute, with training support from frayintermedia, is providing a series of workshops to the YCDP members training them on how to use various social media to improve communication with the youth in their respective communities.

The first of four workshops was held in February and saw participants start profiles on Facebook, Twitter and get a Gmail account. A Facebook page was set up for each of the YCPDs.

The participants also set out to come up with a name for the initiative and #EK SE! My Voice, My Safety was the popular choice.

At a second workshop held at the end of March, youth desk members learnt how to organise a radio show, took part in a live Twitter chat, and learnt how to set up their own blogs.They also learnt how to take good photographs using their phone cameras.

The project is one of five pilot projects currently happening in five other countries including Togo, Ecuador, Bangladesh, and Palestinian territories.

 

Women Thought Leadership – Redefining the African Narrative 2014

ABOUT FRAYINTERMEDIA

Frayintermedia has been providing quality journalism training since March 2005.

Founded by veteran journalist and media trainer Paula Fray, it seeks to help build a community of diverse, skilled journalists and communicators across the continent.

ABOUT THE PROGRAMME

Research shows women make up between 17 and 22% of news’ source and are virtually invisible on the opinion pages.  Oped pages drive thought leadership but few women submit and when they do, do so infrequently.  Bloggers are driving traffic to business as people look for authentic voices.

The Women Thought Leadership programme is frayintermedia’s flagship executive education programme. It is designed to address the diverse needs of high level or senior women at board level in business and government empowering them to have a voice in the media and featured as thought leaders.

OBJECTIVES

  • Understanding the media landscape including future trends;
  • Understanding the requirements of various media platforms;
  • Integrating key messages into media interviews;
  • Understanding the power of social media;
  • Presentation skills;
  • Opinion Writing;
  • Social media engagement and
  • On-camera Training.

3 DAY COURSE ENTAILS

DAY 1

Engaging the Media with Confidence

The Media Landscape

  • A look at who owns, manages, reads, watches and listens to what in South Africa.
  • Electronic vs print vs online
  • Understanding the Media
  • What is public relations?
  • What is media relations?
  • Why is good media relations important for CCMA?
  • Who are you talking to?

Key Messages – developing your elevator speech

Speaking with confidence: finding voice (expertise)

DAY 2

  • Opinion writing
  • Story structures
  • Building arguments
  • Self-editing
  • Building your profile
  • Selecting media interventions
  • Social media training
  • Building brand

DAY 3

  • Presentation skills
  • Radio and Television Interviewing skills
  • How to use your voice effectively
  • Handling an interview
  • Getting your message across
  • On-camera training (one-on-one feedback)
  • Developing a personal media plan
  • Managing media relationships: SANEF, the Ombudsman, BCCCSA

POST WORKSHOP: Personal coaching (4 X 1hour one-on-one sessions for writing coaching)

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

  • Women in business at board level
  • Women leaders
  • Corporations that have a high media presence
  • Public Relations practitioners
  • Conference speakers
  • Women in Government communication departments
  • Women in Public sector communication departments
  • Women organizations and associations

BENEFITS?

  • Understand how the media operate in South African;
  • Train women in leadership how to write engaging opinion columns;
  • Provide innovative and creative techniques when addressing the media;
  • Enhance mentoring and leadership skills which could be incorporated within the organization;
  • Structure and write a thought leadership articles for the media;
  • Cognize how to deliver the company’s key messages to the media within the first 45 seconds of an interview;
  • Give women in leadership positions interview skills to engage the media;
  • Provide guidance in using social media to promote their personal brands;
  • Support women in leadership with mentoring to develop good communication (including writing) habits and
  • Promote content to relevant media.

DATES AND PLACES

5th, 6th and 7th May 2014 at Greenwood Manor, 6 Keith Avenue, Lynden

BOOKINGS

To register for the programme please contact Nevasha Naidoo on tel: (011) 463-8190 / 706-1160; email: nevasha@platinumpr.co.za

COST

R7 500 excluding VAT per person (includes 3 day training package and post training mentoring).

To be effective, it is important that the participants are permitted to engage the media in either an organizational or personal capacity.

ABOUT THE TRAINER

Media expert with development communication speciality and focus on Africa. Strategic manager with change management and leadership experience at corporate, international and local NGO and small business levels. Training experience focused on sub-Saharan Africa with consultancy work in MENA and Asia.  Coach and mentor to media leaders including publishers, editors, business and newsroom managers in Africa.

 

 

 

WAN-IFRA extends groundbreaking leadership programme to Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa

The World Association of Newspaper and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) launched Women in News 2014 in Lusaka, Zambia, today (10 March), as part of a series of national events that coincide with International Women’s Day.
This year’s programme also marks an industry first: WIN South Africa will be conducted in partnership with WAN-IFRA member association Print and Digital Media South Africa, representing more than 500 newspaper and magazine titles from the country’s leading publishers, and the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF), whose members are editors, senior journalists and journalism trainers from all areas of the South African media.

In addition, participants who complete the WIN South Africa programme will receive accreditation from the Department of Witwatersrand University.

Women in News works with newspapers and their high-potential female employees to overcome the gender gap in management and senior editorial positions. More than 60 media professionals from 30 media companies from Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe will participate in comprehensive skills development, career coaching, mentoring and networking in their national markets. The group will come together in Johannesburg, South Africa in August for the regional WIN Summit.

WAN-IFRA will also launch the Alliance for Women in News, a working committee that partners with media houses to collectively help widen the opportunities for management and executive roles for their women employees through education, training and awareness raising.

Studies show that a higher representation of women in decision-making positions in media leads not only to better coverage of women in the news but also to better financial results. Financially and editorially solid media stand a bigger chance of being strong voices in their communities: promoting good governance, transparency and fighting corruption.

WIN goes beyond traditional approaches to media development by incorporating professional development techniques from the corporate world such as career coaching, facilitated networking and peer mentoring into a robust and highly effective capacity building curriculum.

The initiative is conducted under a strategic partnership to advance media development and press freedom worldwide between WAN-IFRA and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). More on WAN-IFRA’s media development initiatives can be found at http://www.wan-ifra.org/microsites/media-development

WAN-IFRA, based in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore and India, is the global organisation of the world’s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries. Its core mission is to defend and promote press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity and the development of prosperous businesses.

Amplifying the voice of women leaders

paula-fray

paula-frayCommunication is a core skill for a organisational leaders in the modern era. It requires the ability to sell a vision to an internal staff while influencing an external audience.

Yet research shows that women make up between 17 and 22% of news’ sources. Women are virtually invisible on the opinion pages which drive thought leadership.

With this in mind, frayintermedia has launched its “Women Thought Leadership Programme” to address the diverse needs of high level or senior women in business, public service and non-government organisations.
The first programme will take place from April 2-4, 2014 at Greenwood Manor, Linden, Johannesburg.

“The intense three-day programme with mentoring support seeks to amplify the voice of women leaders in the media. We want to ensure that women’s perspectives are acknowledged as we approach 20 years of celebrating democracy in South Africa,” says MD of frayintermedia, Paula Fray.
Fray added that the programme includes an understanding of the media environment in which business leaders operate, effective usage of media platforms and the ability to craft key messages that meet the needs of the target audience.

The in-depth programme will explore engaging the media with confidence, presentation skills, building and promoting arguments, self-editing and developing a media profile. Candidates will also be exposed social media training and managing media relationships.
“We understand that women leaders have limited time and effective training programmes have to take this into account. In order to ensure a bottom-line impact on the business, the training includes one-on-one mentoring to produce a host of communication tools,” said Fray.
Women in business at board and senior management levels; public relations practitioners; conference speakers; women in government communication departments; women organizations and associations are invited to attend the three-day intense course.

To book, contact Nevasha Naidoo at (011) 706-1160 / 463-8190 or email nevasha@platinumpr.co.za

Storify: Thapelo Mokoena talks money and values

Challenging Journalists to Promote excellence in HIV Reporting

By Wynona Latham

 

More than 100 stories have been produced by the 30 International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) HIV and AIDS Investigative Reporting fellows since the fellowship started in South Africa in 2011.

And the fellowship itself has had a life-changing impact with many who have come into contact with it.

South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Multimedia journalist Siphosethu Stuurman, a 2013 Fellow, said the fellowship changed the way he approached the HIV narrative: “The fellowship opened my eyes. There are so many issues and stories related to HIV to be covered. I thought HIV reporting was overdone.

“This fellowship allowed me to look deeper and find stories. It’s exciting. If it were not for the fellowship, I wouldn’t have had that focus or ability to look deeper into the topic. Now I always look for something different that will capture the attention of my editor and the public. You can always find something new if you look deep enough,” he said.

Stuurman was speaking at a seminar to close the 2013 programme. It drew on lessons learned from three years of the ground-breakig programme which aimed to produce accurate, consistent and more in-depth reporting on HIV/AIDS. The lessons have been captured in a new booklet “Promoting Excellence in HIV Reporting”.

“Reporting on HIV continues to be a vitally important endeavor in order to focus the public eye on and shape the response to the epidemic,” said IWMF executive director Elisa Lees Muñoz in the forward of the booklet. “In spite of the widespread perception of “AIDS fatigue” on the part of both editors and readers/viewers, untold stories abound, as the IWMF’s HIV reporting fellowship programme in South Africa revealed.”

Speaking at the seminar in Johannesburg, Section 27 CEO and leading citizen activist Mark Heywood urged fellows not to become complacent around their approach to the epidemic. “There is a tendency to over-simplify the rising success of some initiatives. I worry that the increasing relaxed view of the seriousness of this issue could cause us to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory,” Heywood said.

Heywood, who has worked in various civil action campaigns such as the Leeukop Political Prisoners Support Committee and the Johannesburg Inner City Community forum, noted that there has been a decline in support from political and economic institutions. “The fact is that as our situation improves, there is a perceived sense of less urgency,” he said. “But, we are – at most – half way there to where we need to be.”

It was noted that the rate of new infections had dropped. Heywood argued that this required a change in how journalists push their stories forward. Success in the HIV story was being appropriated by various organisations including government, he said. “While they have helped, it is the civil society movements who have continued to push this issue far before these institutions and after them,” he said. “I hope that journalists recognise that if they keep pushing to connect with civil society, other institutions will follow.”

The fellows were also given a presentation by researchers from the Perinatal HIV Research at Wits University, Dr Erica Lazarus and Dr Fatima Laher, about their experience treating HIV positive people and their current attempts to find a HIV vaccine.

Laher urged the fellows to continue their work because “the world needs your stories because your stories act as an advocate for people who have no power to defend themselves”.

Issues discussed included the cost of stigma in reporting on HIV and AIDS, ethical challenges faced in depicting HIV and AIDS in film; and following the money in health delivery.

Hasina Gori, a 2013 fellow and reporter for SABC Digital News, noted the changing nature of how HIV narratives are created: “It is no longer a strictly health and science story. It is now a human interest story and that is how the story gets published because HIV and Aids is not a story about a disease but about people.”

The Star reporter and 2013 fellow, Vuyo Mkize, noted that the fellowship had allowed her access to training she needed. “This fellowship game at a time where I was still starting out with my health beat at The Star newspaper so I was still very wet behind the ears and I still had a lot to learn specifically about health and about covering health issues,” she said.

In defence of the Specialist Reporter

As newsrooms shrink and breaking news becomes more digital, more and more media organisations are finding it hard to justify the cost of a beat (specialist) reporter. Stories must be told for the “everyman”, we are told. Specialists are often too immersed in their beats to translate the story for their audience, is an oft-repeated refrain. And so stories become more general, less in-depth and lacking analysis.

A recent opportunity to judge the PwC Tax Reporter of the Year award reminded me of the benefits of specialisation. It’s not that general reporters are not able to adequately cover these issues but the reality is that some stories require more than a quick splash into the subject matter, a clever turn of phrase and a volley of “he said/she said” quotes passing themselves as insightful reportage.

These areas of coverage require in-depth knowledge, a solid network of sources and an inquiring mind willing to challenge conventional views when appropriate. These are reporters who don’t only tell us what happened but why it happened and what it means. They are not solely reliant on press releases to find the story or friendly sources to provide leading quotes. Instead, they find the stories that add value to their audiences and help make sense of their lives.

The reality is that in cash-strapped newsrooms, the specialist reporter is becoming an endangered species. Our assumption is that specialisation is a luxury few can afford. We not only want generalists but we want them to be able to turn a vast range of topics into stories on multiple platforms for different audiences.

So let’s consider then the opportunity cost: In an era when breaking news is digital, when reporters can expect to be scooped by the Twitterati and any internet-savvy person can find almost any information they need if they have the time, what do journalists offer? In an era when everyone thinks they are a reporter, what is the value of the journalist?

Curation. We curate the issues, the facts, the angles that inform. Implicit in the role of the curator is the need for expertise in order to source and organise. Curators of content need an understanding of what issues matter, what facts compel, what angles hook.  So the opportunity cost of eliminating beat reporters is the loss of the uniqueness that creates value that our audience is willing to pay for.

In an interview with Time magazine, journalist and popular author Malcolm Gladwell not only advocated for specialisation but did so specifically in regard to financial journalism. “The issue is not writing. It’s what you write about,” says Gladwell, citing the case of Bloomberg columnist Jonathan Weil who broke the Enron story – something which was only possible because Weil knew how to read a balance sheet.

The role of the generalist is diminishing, says Gladwell. Journalism has to get smarter.

The challenge to get smarter is the challenge of expanding the edges of excellence in our journalism in times when newsrooms are under great pressure – pressure of technological change, transformational demands and shifting business models.

But there is also a challenge for the audience. We get the media we deserve. We vote with our remotes, our subscription fees, our clicks and our silence in the face of mediocre reporting.

Without real investment in specialist reporting, we can expect the law of diminishing returns to take effect. No longer confined to local information sources, our audiences will find new sources of information.

 

Experienced specialist reporters are a reminder of the potential for excellence in media. We should not squander that potential for short-term budget gains.

 

 

 

 

 

National Film Indaba sets ambitious course for industry growth

IMG_0107
IMG_0107Innovative measures to support funding for local content, collaboration to maximise limited resources and strategic government interventions were some of the critical issues raised at the Fourth National Film Indaba in Johannesburg this week.
Over 300 industry representatives sent a strong signal that the film industry needed to be taken seriously as a social and economic driver.
A wide range of recommendations have been compiled by groups reviewing four strategic issues of Transformation and Human Capital Development; Infrastructural Development; Funding and Institutional Models; and, Markets for South African Content. These recommendations, which will inform the NFVF’s  final strategy, include:
  • Strengthening current funding models;
  • Providing more money for development of product and audience;
  • Improved intellectual property protection in term of licensing deals, similar to that of the French broadcast model;
  • Introducing innovative ways to expand audiences including partnering with local government to promote a movie-going culture and a state-funded distribution agency;
  • Distribution incentives including loyalty cards for local films; and,
  • The creation of a transformation charter and values statement from all stakeholders.
Opening the conference, Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile said the sector was critical to economic development: “As we have gathered here for this Indaba, we are emboldened by the reality that our sector, the cultural and creative industries, including film, now occupies the center stage in ongoing efforts to foster social cohesion and nation building as well as the economic empowerment of the people of South Africa,” he said.
“Indeed we have met at a time when our sector is no longer seen as a nice-to-have addition to the ongoing work of socio-economic transformation. It is now firmly at the core of this work,” said Minister Mashatile.
The Minister noted that South Africa was on the verge of rolling out digital terrestrial broadcasting.
“This will create numerous opportunities for local content developers, which the industry needs to take full advantage of. Equally, the industry needs to take advantage of the opportunities made possible by advancements in Information and Communications Technology,” he said.
Minister Mashatile urged the industry to confront challenges such as the slow pace of transformation across the industry value chain, insufficient skills and enterprise development within the sector as well as the skewed distribution of film production and exhibition opportunities and infrastructure.
The Indaba included an announcement of a new partnership between the NFVF and Department of Women, Children & People with Disabilities. The partnership will provide funding for documentaries produced by film-makers with disabilities; provide sign language at NFVF training programmes and award bursaries for people with disabilities to enroll for film related studies at South African tertiary institutions.
“This is just one of our efforts to ensure that we create an enabling environment for South Africans to tell their own stories in their own languages,” said NFVF Council Chairperson Ms Mmabatho Ramagoshi
“We have had rigorous debates and discussions over the past two days,” said NFVF CEO Zama Mkosi. “We have listened and taken on board the passions, concerns and insights tabled at this National Film Indaba and we are determined to define a strategy that is inclusive of the voices of the industry.”
“These contributions, as well as written contributions submitted by November 30, will help articulate the policy going forward and inform our response to the new policy environment we operate in,” said Mkosi.

Tweeting for Africa

Journalists using social media as a source of story ideas, resources and tip-offs know that the strength of the platform lies in the networks they create. Who, then, should we be following on Twitter in order to ensure good Africa tips? @frayintermedia identified 20 “must-follow” organisations (yes, we added ourselves!) and want to know who else would you add?

 

  1. @AWCFS (African Woman and Child Feature Service) – A media that enhances acceptance of diversity and gender equality for equitable development.
  2. @allafrica- News and information from the fast-changing continent.
  3. @africacheck- A non-partisan fact-checking website, based at WitsUniversity.
  4. @africamedia_cpj – centre for the protection of journalists advocates in support of journalists on the frontlines in Africa
  5. @amabungane-A non profit initiative to enhance the capacity of investigative journalism in the public interest.
  6. @fairreporters – A professional association of investigative journalists in Africa.
  7. @frayintermedia – journalism training with resources for African reporters.
  8. @highway_africa – the centre of debates on journalism and new media in Africa.
  9. @MFWAALERTS -  media foundation for west Africans
  10. @KenyaEditors – the Kenya Editors Guild is a professional association of editors set to promote the standard of journalism.
  11. @WIFP – Women’s Institute for freedom of the press. This NGO works on media democracy issues and expanding women’s voices.
  12. @AMLForum – the African Media Leaders Forum. Shaping the future of African Media.
  13. @ipsnews – a leading and credible source of information about Africa.
  14. @SAEditorsForum – South African editors forum working to freedom of expression
  15. @africasacountry – collates interesting perspectives on the African continent without reducing it to “famine, Bono, or Barack Obama”.
  16. @irinnews – humanitarian and news analysis service covering the parts of the world often under-reported, misunderstood or ignored.
  17. @internews – an international non-profit organization whose mission is to empower local media worldwide.
  18. @panos_psaf – a regional communication for development non-government organizations.
  19. @Trust_Media – provides Reuters training programmes for journalists, customized media training programmes for media organizations and NGOs and runs media projects globally.
  20. @gijn – the Global Investigative Journalism Network is an association of 90 non-profit organisations in 40 countries dedicated to investigative reporting.