Buhle Mbonambi (DUT)
These past few weeks have been so turbulant for the South African media that we almost believe that we can report on anything until the next controversial issue rocks us again. Think the UFS video, the DRUM journalist who got beaten up while covering the story in Bloemfontein, the Forum for Black Journalist vs Talk radio 702 drama and then the latest shocker, David Bullard's article.
Now you are probably wondering what all these issues have to do with being a student journalist, but they influence us big time...
These issues have made some of my colleagues and I to view the field in a different way. We were totally ignorant of all these issues and all of a sudden we now have to deal with them. Bahle Makohliso, a journalism student from DUT says; " It has shown me that we have been hiding behind this 'Rainbow Nation' facade. It is sad that the media created this image of our country and 2008 has brought about a change in our thinking, reporting, writing columns and has unfortunately brought fear in us student journos about the future of journalists and their wellbeing."
I was watching 3talk on Wednesday (16 April 2008), and the topic was about 'Media players at loggerheads'. To say that it was interesting is to disadvantage it. It was HOT! Heated from the word go. Noeleen had David Bullard, an intellectual from UNISA, Abbey Makoe of the FBJ and Katy Katopodis, news editor at 702, as guests on the show to discuss the issues they've in some ways started. They discussed everything professionally and they weren't scared to voice their opinions and that was so reassuring to know that we are after all allowed to voice our views on issues affecting us. Oh and David apologized.
Journalism should be about free and fair reporting and that isn't happening these days, even at the Sunday Times. Now it's all about who it is writing the column and racism is rife in the media. A friend , Fooh Mzimela said when we were debating about the FBJ in class: " I'd join the FBJ because the issues they standfor are true and I don't understand what the hype is all about." This is true, but the problem was how the matter was handled by the parties concerned and the manner in which the white journalists were excluded. She then added; " What would happen if a "Forum for Women Journalists" was formed? Would there still be an issue?"
Now that is the type of proactive thinking that student journos should be doing, and we don't seem to be doing it. I wasn't doing it. I wasn't looking at the bigger issue, just the small things that may affect us in the future.