13 August, 2010

Let us do something about it

by Anorth Mabunda

“Poor reading and writing skills, lack of general knowledge and poor interviewing skills are some of the challenges facing contemporary journalism graduates,” says the spokesperson of the Tshwane University of Technology, Gilbert Mokwatedi.

Mokwatedi was addressing TUT’s second year journalism students on July 27. As he was outlining these challenges all students shouted “YES!!” simultaneously, but what are we doing to avert this diagnosis? Do we just sit and watch while it continues inundating our fledgling minds? Let us do something about it.

I personally, try to write and blog as much as I can. Every week I come back and look at my work and then identify possible mistakes and grammar errors. I know that I may not be a good writer yet but with too much practice, one day I will make sense. “How could you make it if you never even try?” the American rap duo, Outcasts once asked.

As journalism students, we tend to forget that soon our job description will be to inform and educate the general public. How are we going to do that if we lack adequate values (information and good writing skills)?

When you are in the university, you have no justification for being incompetent or ill-informed. You have libraries and information centers waiting for you to explore “late and soon” developments, e.g. TUT offers three daily newspapers and a Sunday newspaper on Mondays.

Our lecturers in TUT often encourage us to write more in order to improve our writing skills. As part of our practical tasks, we are given an opportunity to report for the weekly community newspaper, Rekord Noweto. Often I feel discouraged to grab a copy of Rekord on Fridays because I usually find only one or two stories written by my fellow class mates.

While we are still enjoying this freedom of expression that is in extremist, let us take this opportunity and write whatever we like and think, as long as our topics are fair, reasonable and helpful.

Quote of the day:
“….the expectations from editors are that graduates would arrive with good theoretical grounding and use of language. Editors also expect graduates to bring to the newsroom some practical experience, not just exercises done in practical rooms but real-world work that would have been marked and published.” Mathatha Tsedu, Rhodes Journalism Review, July 2010.

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