Thursday, November 17, 2005

Air France is not good

Don't fly Air France click here and here to see why!!!!!

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Sunday Times- a victim of tabloidisation

The main headline above the fold of the edition of the South African Sunday Times for Sunday the 13th of November 2005: Zuma Rape Claim with the cutline reading: Police Probe allegation that the ANC deputy president sexually assaulted a guest at his house.

I shook my head when I read that headline and passed right on by without buying a copy (at R8,50 I think its a bit of a rip-off anyway). My main reason for shaking my head and voting with my wallet is the question bouncing around in my mind which is does it really matter what Zuma did in his home? The answer I arrived at was: yes it does. If he did do something he should'nt have to that woman he should be held accountable for it just like anyone else in South Africa, but he should only be held accountable if it has been proven that he did something and it has been brought to court- otherwise as far as this editor-in-chief is concerned, if I edited the Sunday Times, that Zuma story would have been a 250 words on page 3 if that, NOT on the front page.

But why do I take exception to this? I respected the Sunday Times once, it reported news which was factual and relevant, comment which was well justified and plausable analysis- it has quite frankly lost its way and gotten stuck in the donga which is tabloidisation. Lets talk about definitions for a moment: I use the term tabloid to mean a newspaper which reports on events and happenings in a sensationalist and unfounded way. I was insulted when many people called for a halt on the extensive coverage the Zuma trial and others have been getting. "Telling the journalists not to report on something? Freedom of the press I cried"- the reason given to this want for a media blackout was that Zuma had been tried and convicted already by the press and this I didnt buy into...until today.

In my opinion, a newspaper's job is to report facts and events in the most informative way possible- analysis should go on page 4 with it clearly labeled analysis, the Sunday Times was reporting allegations made against Mr Zuma as hard news FACT! The keywords here is allegations. It sounds to me that like the ANC is launching a smear campaign to try and discredit Mr Zuma even further- the sad part of it is that the Sunday Times seems to want to buy into doing this and thus reporting these new allegations in the way they did, they haven't dug beneath the surface and for that you need time- hence you run the initial story on page 3, dig a bit deeper, if you find out its an ANC smear campaign shout it from the rooftops! If it eventually comes to light that Zuma did in fact do something he should'nt have, then shout it with banner headlines and large font on the front page.

Ok, if you got this far so you either agree with me or you strongly disagree with me. Lets say that for argument sake that the Sunday Times is in fact trying to appeal to the tabloid readers and in so doing endevouring to increase its overall market share. Why is tabloidisation so popular? because it creates waves, it creates controversey and people love that don't they? Now, don't get me wrong, controversey is a journalists bread and butter- its what sells newspapers there can be no doubt about it, it can be colourful and interesting and it can be great. But, I say controversey has to create itself for the newspaper- not the newspaper create itself for the controversey. Let me explain, true controversey is the kind which you can slap on the page and it sends tingles up your spine when you do- manufactured (read bad) controversey is when a newspaper takes something which might be big and which might matter and make it into something that is big and does matter for all the wrong reasons- its one step away from creative writing ladies and gentlemen and not the type Hemingway did, his time is over.

I am not adverse to putting controversey in the newspaper I have been appointed to manage but I say lets create controversey with reason, and by creating I mean that something only becomes controversial once it has been read and digested by your readers.

Zuma is, in my personal opinion, is as guilty as sin. He has been tried and convicted in the public eye through the press before he has even set foot in a court room, this I admit and furthermore I admit that this is not entirely fair. "But why then defend the cad?" I hear you exclaim as you scratch your head with confusion. To this I say: the crimes Zuma is being held accountable for have gone to court- thats news, it was news when he was dismissed and it the corruption he may have been involved in is news and controversial news at that. But the team at the Sunday Times seem to be flogging a dead horse here when they dredge up this new gem- Zuma has been done and is now old news, "lets try and spice things up a bit so we can get as much mileage out of him" seem to be their thinking and that is controversey for the wrong reasons

Thanks for reading

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Strange emails

As editor, I get many many emails- some saying good things and some bad things about me and the newspaper I run... but I got this one yesterday and could not make any sense of it:

Hope you get the original version.

As the Editor-in-chief of an independent student news paper catering for a multiracial
community in a "small town".I would like to give you an "assignment" for this precious
december vac to go ask experienced editors, why society always use man of humble origins
as their escape goat to disrepute "organisatios"/"individuals"/"cope with their fears" .

Do n't get me twisted i am not representing any "camp" with unclear/hidden political
mandate.You may mind find it shocking that any rational/"decent"/"potential leader" would
e-mail you such "gross" after you have officilly published that you are taking a brake
for the exam.

Having to resort to the media to address "challeges" of life is not my nature,
but at times when an irrecovable error has occurred a person realy on carefully tailored
minds to regain his dignity.

"I wish I had the academic indepedence to say i write in my personal capacity",if you are
keen on knowing my name feel free to go trace me at the student bureau/IT division.

Good luck on your exams and your future as a journalist this precious generation depends
on your wisdom to activate them to their full potential.


Thoughts, comments? I really Don't know what to make of this...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Energy and the way we spend it

There are people in my life who always seem to be having some personal crisis or another. Now, I am a pretty laid back person, I simply do not have time in my life to care that its raining outside or if the new school of Journalism building is an awful piece of architecture. But this transcends time and these inane outburst of self-absorbed rage not only expend time but energy as well. Generally speaking a busy person who concerns themselves with doing meaningful things does not have the energy to expend on these outbursts I speak of, busy people's lives are interesting enough without having to invent drama and strife on which to fret and moan over.

I count myself as a busy person and I know I like my energy, I like having energy and I like channelling that energy into the right things, thoughts, people and directions. But it is a true tragedy when those who have far too much time on their hands think that they are applying their minds to things that are bigger than them...or that deserve to be fretted over. It is another tragedy that these not-so-busy people are the ones who have time to truly reflect on life. Perhaps that is why they concern themselves with expending their suplus energy in the pursuit of getting ulcers about the fact that they have so much work and thus will defiantly reset like an overloaded computer and end up doing none of it, or concern themselves with what colour the tablecloths at a restaurant are.

Get over yourselves and once you have done that go and read this blog which belongs to a friend of mine.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The bug has bitten, its official

Spring has brought disgusting heat to Grahamstown, its fire season once again and the authorities they suspect an arsonist is hard at work setting fires and keeping the plucky understaffed fire service of this back-water university town busy.

A fire started in the local hospital grounds, although not the work of an arsonist but a lightinging strike, smoke billowed into the wards and patients had to be evacuated. While this drama was unfolding I was driving to the local mall with my girlfriend. On the way there a fire engine rumbled past us and I had a sudden urge to do a U-turn and chase the damn thing. I related this urge to my perplexed girfriend and she suggested we chase the thing!

It was at this point I realised, for the umpteenth time, that I had found my calling. Terrible as it sounds I knew that there was a story where that fire engine was going, people may even be dying where that fire engine was going but that would make the story even more weightier no?

Our planet is often referred to as "Spaceship Earth"well, if it was a spaceship and all 6 bilion of us were astronauts travelling through space all doing our jobs to keep it going the journalists would be strapped to the nose cone telling everyone inside what was going on, thats what our job is...and we get a front row seat on life, even though some people would rather see the show from the mezzazine.

I have sold my soul, they are keeping it in a jar in the basement of the Journalism department I am sure of it. The journalism bug has bitten, its official and I am loving it!