Sunday, June 24, 2018


All the latest journalism from the Rhodes TV3 class

Blog Archives

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.

Nobantu takes TV!

Posted by Daniel On May - 16 - 2010

By Prinesha Naidoo and Daniel Eslick

As citizen journalism is essentially a form of street journalism in which members of the public report on the issues vexing their daily lives, both Dan and I were excited and somewhat apprehensive about working with Nobantu Mancam.

Even though Nobantu suggested we cover interesting news stories, helping her report on the stories from her own perspective took a lot of getting used to as it went against all the journalistic conventions  that we had learnt over the past two years. 

We also faced a few of technical or rather technological challenges working with Nobantu. The quality of images captured on her Motorolla V360 cell phone, one of the very first cell phones with a built in camera and video recorder was poor and so she borrowed one of our phones for the duration of the course. At first she found it difficult to get to grips with the basic conventions of recording video footage that we taught her, however, her persistence and continued practice paid off toward the end of the course as the quality of her shots improved. She is also far more comfortable behind the camera. Having been most familiar with Microsoft Word, we were impressed with how quickly she managed to get the hang of Windows Movie Maker when we explained it to her – after experimenting with the program for just half an hour, she was keen to try edit her ballroom dancing piece on her own.

The fact that Nobantu is passionate and enthusiastic about working as a citizen journalist in Grahamstown meant that we all had a great working relationship – together, we overcame all our challenges with ease and constantly learnt from each other. Furthermore, working with someone who lived in Hlalani Location was an out of the ordinary experience for both Dan and I, as it gave us instant access to stories on a number of issues that we never even knew existed.

 Journalism aside, working with Nobantu and a host of other people, who featured in our stories, was a humbling experience, we were welcomed into the homes and lives of those struggling to make ends meet such as that of a 16 member family who lived in a 2 bedroom RDP house as well as those trying to make a diffrence in the rural community by teaching ballroom dancing. Such experiences taught us to count our blessings  and that it is possible to be happy and live a fulfilling life without having to be an Oppenheimer, a Motsepe or Mittal.

This multimedia post documents our time spent with Nobantu.

View Grahamstown through the eyes of a local citizen journalist. in a larger map

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

When Hunger Strikes

Posted by Zikhona On May - 10 - 2010

This is a profile which goes into the life of one of the Grahamstown Steers employees who is responsible for taking the many food orders that are made everyday.

Society sign-up evening

Posted by Nonceba On May - 9 - 2010

Rhodes University Society sign-up eveningThis is a piece about society sign-up evening at Rhodes University. The piece looks at how societies get students to sign-up to their different societies, the tactics they use, the different goodies they promise students etc. It also looks at the meassures SRC have put  in place into making sure that societies do not  only sign-up these students without doing antything constructive with the money. We spoke to difference societies signing up members, students signing up to these societies and Lastly, the SRC President, international vice president and the societies councillor about this matter.

When Hunger Strikes

Posted by Zikhona On May - 9 - 2010

When Hunger Strikes

When hunger strikes and dinning hall food isnt an option students opt for take outs. This goes into the life of one of those Steers employers who takes the many food orders that are taken everyday.

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.