Through my blog I aim to compile a portfolio of work which speaks true to who I am as an aspiring Radio Journalist/Producer. My work displays my personal philosophies about the way in which I feel journalism should be approached and conducted. I also aim to step out of my comfort zone and reach out into the greater community in order to produce cutting edge journalism which provides a voice to marginalised groups and serves as a link between institutions and organisations and members within that community.

Intro to Radio Production

QUESTION TWO: Radio Production Introduction
(ie. Sound Packages - News and Development Journalism)

Introduction: News Production
Current Affairs news was one of the preliminary genres which we had dealt with in the Radio Production Course this year. Not only did these stories have to be current, the angle taken in the way in which stories were constructed was essential as the stories would only be

The news packages created early on in the year significantly reflected my initial journalistic philosophy. Within the Old Gaol piece, my aim was to find answers from officials as to why it would be closed down as well as to hold these officals responsible for accusations which had been made in terms of the happenings at the Old Gaol. In the second news piece, I presented a build up to the National Arts Festival and again focused particularly on the voices of officials for comment and opinion. I do however feel that although these pieces serve as a representative of my initial philosophy, they remain objective in adopting a well-rounded, all inclusive policy to the story.

In these first news packages, I had very little inclination to engage with the community and research the issues they had as well as the stories they had to tell. The story ideas were based mainly on report which I had read in Grocott’s Mail or online in Mail & Guardian. At the time my purpose was to strive for utmost objectivity, as this is what I felt was key to the practice of successful journalism.
This subjectivity is then further enhanced when considering certain sources to validate and substantiate the information you have been given (by databases, news associations or even media houses which in their own right present aspects of subjectivity), thus inevitably presenting a certain angle to the story. From this I feel that as a credible journalist, it is my duty to represent a story from an angle which is appealing and relates directly to my audience in a manner which is not offensive to any party involved but also as far as possible enforces the main principles of objectivity. (Thorne, A.)
 However, throughout the duration of the year, I grew as a journalist and learnt that I was able to adopt a subjective stance in the choice of stories I wished to report on, however I was able to do so in an unbiased, unprejudiced manner.

In hindsight, these two packages are not my strongest pieces of work. They do represent the pivotal point in my student journalist career that became exposed to varying forms of journalisms and in so doing, I became confused as to the role I wished to play within the realms of journalism practice in South Africa. This however became clear during the world on developmental journalism, and I feel that personally my work has ‘grown’ or rather ‘matured’ since this then.

Introduction: Development Feature
Of all the work I have produced during the course of the year, I most enjoyed my work on the Developmental pieces. These packages confronted the preconceptions I had of journalism and really challenged me to present the stories in a manner which approached a ‘bottom-up’ angle to journalism, although this was significantly easier said than done.

Development journalism may be thought of as a theorised approach to journalism which critiques a top-down approach to information gathering and story-telling, and that promotes the centring of stories on the concerns of ‘the people’ (those which often go unheard, which may not necessarily posses any kind of expertise and may be marginalised within their particular communities or within the greater society). Development journalism can be represented by,
“emancipatory journalism, which offers a more complete and complex perspective on the relationship between mass media and society in the context of the Third World” (Banda, F. 2006:5).
This view is said to be more complete because it provides a direct link between access by citizens to mass media and social change and in do doing has an in built mechanism which allows journalists to participate in social change.

The story ideas I pitched for the development journalism pieces focused on the faming and agricultural sectors in the Eastern Cape in light of the persisting drought. It raised questions of whether or not there are available water sources in the province which could be used to alleviate the impact of the drought; it questioned municipal and governmental action during this time; it investigated two farmers who were struggling as a result of water shortages to their parts of the province and the kind or response and aid that they had received from government. Development journalism, because of its bottom-up approach, really allowed me to find an angle that highlighted the stories of individual farmers who are suffering and what options they have at their disposal to try and alleviate the impacts of the drought.

These packages created under the genre of development journalism displayed elements of the new approach to journalism which I had gained as a result of the theory covered within the course at the time. Thus the manner in which stories were conceptualised had traces of my original philosophy, however these began to shift due to the insight gained on development journalism and the kind of purposes this journalism aims to achieve.
In conducting my interviews, I needed to make sure that I structured the package in the bottom-up format in keeping with the principles of development journalism, this made it essential for me to ask questions which allowed the farmers to tell of their situation and of their stories. This was challenging as this was the first package that I had constructed in such a way. It required a lot of editing as well as revisiting the approaches of development journalism and what the aims of this kind of journalism was and how it differed from the conventional style of reporting that as a class we were familiar with. I feel that the story, in the end was relevant to the current weather situation in the province and furthermore was centred around the stories of individual people who felt strongly about making their story heard. (Thorne, A. 2010)

I do feel that overall the packages embraced the ‘bottom-up’ approach to journalism and is more individualistic in nature without loosing its objectivity as it brings in both sides of the story. It is essential that within the research stages of creating a package, the principles of development journalism be implemented. I went about obtaining sources in a way which created a disadvantage at first - although my intention was to construct the packages in a ‘bottom-up’ approach, the sources I had did not allow for this. Upon restructuring the entire piece I had to re-establish my focal point and find a central source that could enhance this point (whose voice was that of a farmer) and from there structure the story around his experiences, finding other voices to substantiate his voice as well as gaining comment from officials (however this was not the crux of the piece, it simply served to bring balance and an unbiased objectivity).

Reference List:
Barnett, C. 1999. The limits of media democratisation in South Africa: politics,
privatisation and regulation in Media, Culture & Society. SAGE Publications:
Thorne, A. 2010. Media Landscape Essay. Rhodes University: Grahamstown.
Thorne, A. 2010. Personal Philosophy. Rhodes University: Grahamstown.
Thorne, A. 2010. Reflective Report. Rhodes University: Grahamstown.

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