Tuesday, October 23, 2018


All the latest journalism from the Rhodes TV3 class

Archive for the ‘Asides’ Category

The Molteno Project

Posted by Prin On May - 16 - 2010

Prinesha Naidoo

An innovative approach to teaching and the improving dwindling literacy levels in rural South Africa and the world. The Grahamstown, South Africa Division of the Molteno Project is facilitated by Rhodes University’s English Department, GADRA Education and the National Department of Education.

Zukiswa Gubevu, fully-fledged citizen journalist

Posted by Kyle On May - 16 - 2010

By Andiswa Leve and Kyle Robinson

Initially the idea of teaching someone else to learn the intricacies of journalism seemed quite daunting. Did we, as third year students, really know enough about the profession to literally guide them step by step to becoming well equipped, in order to best reflect and provide coverage events in their respective communities? We soon found out it was going to be a long but rewarding experience.
Our first meeting with our citizen journalist, Zukiswa Gubevu was at Grocotts Mail on a Sunday afternoon. We had decided that this was an apt location because she was familiar with the area and we wanted a neutral setting for our first encounter.

She came prepared with camera in hand, because her cell phone camera had been stolen. We were quite impressed with her having organised an alternative to not having a camera. Initially she was shy and soft spoken, but as we spent more time with her, providing her with a breakdown of what was required of her from us, and vice versa, she became more comfortable. She seemed very interested, asking questions when she was unsure of what was going on.

On that first day we taught the basic principles and technicalities of using a camera. We provided explanations of ‘rule of thirds’ technique, sequences, and how to position the camera when she was filming things that were either near or far. She became familiar with the ‘TV jargon’, and most importantly we could see that she applied what we had taught her well.

Soon came the time for our CJ to put the theory we had taught her to practise. It was time for her to begin finding news worthy stories, ‘keeping her ears to the ground’, and really become a investigative journalist.The first assignment required the CJ’s to produce a short clip. On numerous occasions she did not respond to either of our attempts to get hold of her. We were frustrated and worried but eventually, we made contact with her again. Zukiswa did her first clip on the fencing project that the Makana Municipality is currently busy with.

We were very impressed with her technique and the fact that she genuinely had a good eye, capturing footage of a really high quality. Her only downfall was that she had not gathered enough information and contact details to substantiate what she had captured. We then went back to where the fencing was being constructed and she was again in her element. We could not believe that this was the same person who was so shy and timid the first time. Now she had her camera, notebook and pen in hand as if she had been a journalist all this time. She asked the right questions, the ‘who, what, where why and when’ and ‘how’. We were really impressed with her story and the obvious commitment she had to her story and this project as a whole, despite the previous mishap.

Another challenge, other than that of miscommunication, was the fact that Zukiswa did not always articulate herself well in English, but Andy spoke to her in Xhosa to make sure that we all understood what we expected of each other.

The latter came to the fore when she had to go and get comment from The Department of Education for her video story. Of course she was in unfamiliar territory and it was to be expected. We guided her along, and by the end of the interview she was more confident, asking questions and writing the answers down. We had witnessed her blossom and take such a professional stance within a matter of minutes- again another proud moment, and we had soon forgotten about all the troubles from before.

Her video story took her to Joza in the Grahamstwon township, as can be seen in this map.

View Larger Map

 It looked at  how children in the township have to walk long distances to school in the early hours of the morning, even though they had applied to be fetched and dropped off in their respective extensions. Her story was exactly that- a story, not just a clip or a 30 second video. We were very impressed with the story and the fact that she had chosen to take this on, as opposed to taking a small clip and not really having a STORY.

Her work ethic was much appreciated. Our patience was tested at times but her quick learning and the final piece that she produced was amazing. Within a mere 5 week period she is a fully fledged citizen journalist. I think for us, it all came to be a rewarding experience at the end. There were times when we honestly didn’t know what to do when she did not respond to us, so much so that we had to go to her house! However, in retrospect, it was a rewarding experience and one that we hope Zukiswa gained all that she had hoped to for it to be.

Morning of 1 in 9 protest

Morning of 1 in 9 protest

By: Chwayitisa Nandisa Futshane and Bradley Janssen

For the past few months Grocotts Mail has been training a group of citizen journalists on the basic principles of journalism such as gathering stories, verifying information, sources and writing articles on the various stories that they gather around their communities. Citizen journalism is effectively becoming a very important element of journalism as everyday people with no formal training are gathering news on issues that affect their own communities, stories that professional journalists wouldn’t otherwise write about. This term is often called hyper-local stories. In a town like Grahamstown, where Grocotts Mail is the only source of local Grahamstown based news, the work of citizen journalists will become more and more important as they gather stories that affect the entire Grahamstown area and give the towns citizens a platform to have their voices heard.

Our tasks then was to assist one of the citizen journalists and teach them the principles of filming video stories, that they could film using their cell phones, edit at Grocotts and then upload onto the Grocotts website. Most of today’s basic cell phones have cameras that have some sort of video function which the can use to capture the stories. Since their cell phones are with them where ever the go it allows them to capture quickly and on the move. It was thus important that they were taught the skills that will help them to film better videos.

We started working with Jean Pretorius, setting a quick introductory meeting with him to map out our journey over the next few weeks. We held a workshop to give some pointers on how to best utilise his cell phone, which is the Samsung D700. We also gave him a few tasks to accomplish before the first workshop so that we could see where he would need the most assistance. He had to film at least three different ten second videos, which we would then look at and evaluate in terms of his use of natural light, the angles he shot the video at and his general understanding of video filming.  The clip he eventually uploaded on Grocotts was a short story on the new classrooms that were built at Good Shepherd School.

Besides the basics of angles, position, camera work, lightning and sound we also delved deeper into filming techniques with the five-sequence. This is a close-up shot of the hands, close-up of the face, over-the-shoulder shot, a wide shot and any other extra shots, which are always great to take because they can be used together during editing.

We discussed his various interests and the kinds of stories he would like to cover and decided to do a story on the one-in-nine campaign. We also looked at the various shots that he should aim to get as well as recording the atmosphere throughout the day. Although we had some communication problems, both sides of the team pulled together and met a few days later to work on editing his story and discussed the principle of “writing to picture.” This is means writing narration for the story so that it matches the footage that was available to us.

Jean Pretorius uses his cell phone to shoot videos and take photos.

Jean Pretorius uses his cell phone to shoot videos and take photos.

It was important to teach Jean these various skills because as a citizen journalist, he will need to utilise these skills to write multi-media stories on the Grocotts website, so that the reader can have full experience of a particular story through video, sound and the article itself. What is great is that there is free software out there like Windows Movie Maker and Audacity, which he can use in future endeavours.

Our contribution to this project will hopefully help to ensure that Grahamstown has more dynamic citizen journalists who fully utilise the resources they have available to them. This is especially true as journalism is a dynamic industry and this is that latest phenomenon.

location of 1 in 9 protest campaign

Location of 1 in 9 protest campaign

Click on map to go to the story of the 1 in 9 protest campaign

Take a look at the quick synopsis of what we did with Jean Pretorius

But wait there is more, Jean Pretorius: Current Grocotts Mail Citizen Journalist

The Tale Of G-Town Water

Posted by Bradley On April - 29 - 2010

Photo of James Kleinhans water treatment works

Photo of James Kleinhans water treatment works

There is nothing more disgusting then switching on the tap and some brown mud coughs out. Added to this is the fact that newspaper reports have gone out claiming deadly diseases and stating that Grahamstown water is not safe to drink. Well it is time to uncover the truth, so we went deep into the heart of the treatment works to try and solve the mystery. What are the problems? Where are the issues? What is being done? And what do the experts have to say?

Nuns pray for stronger communities

Posted by Paddy On October - 23 - 2009

 A four minute documentary on Mother Zelma and the Sistersof St. Peter’s Rectory in Grahamstown and how their lives and desire to help the needy has been adversely affected by crime

Picket Fence Prisons

Posted by Paddy On October - 23 - 2009

By Tamzyn Degoumois, Roza Carvalho and Vuyo Tshekela

Our community meeting was held on Sunday 18 October at the NG Kerk Hall, in Hillsview, Grahamstown. Through the various media we had created about crime in the Hillsview, Sunnyside and Fort England area we aimed to generate discussion around possible community solutions.

Some of the main points of debate were impersonal and isolated nature of the community and how community engagement and building on a daily basis might be desirable, but unrealistic. For example, while some community members mentioned that they would like to help the people who come to their doors, they feel unsafe doing so. However, perhaps the most interesting moment in the meeting was when a resident spoke about the issue of men, their frustration at unemployment and lack of skills training, and how this is a social cause of crime in the community. This spoke to a general feeling that men have been emasculated, often feeding into issues like domestic violence and other crimes. The possible solution proposed was a skills training programme and a possible community fund to pay people within the area for odd jobs.

The following clip is an excerpt from the resident’s response.

Video Today

Raphael HIV testing and support CentreThe Raphael Centre located in Grahamstown, South Africa is a HIV/AIDS testing and support centre. Lately, though, this haven for people infected or affected by the virus has been rought by troubles. The future of the centre is uncertain as it needs sponsors to ensure it’s survival. Meanwhile other issues, like an objecting neighbour are also posing problems for the centre which helps over 1 000 people every month.