Friday, August 26, 2005

Making media matches

The World Editors Forum weblog reports that a recent survey has shown that almost every second American television station has a tie-in with a newspaper, which got me in the matchmaking mood.

My fist choice for a South African media match would be the SABC and Daily Sun. Why? Well, both Dr Snuki Zikala of the SABC and Dion du Plessis of the Daily Voice seem to be taking their journalistic mandate of "giving a voice to the voiceless" seriously. Du Plessis says the Daily Sun gives a platform to people you've probably never heard of (citizens), while the SABC has been under fire for being a mouthpiece of those to whom you seldom want to listen (government officials). I'm sure the two giants of the local media market will be able to find lots of ways to share resources.

Any suggestions for other media matches?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The (other) N***** who caused all the trouble

Financial Mail editor Barney Mthombothi says the coverline of the August 7 edition was just a bit of fun (see left). "It was meant to be tongue-in-cheek," he says, "and provocative, but never to offend." But offend, he did. The phone rang off the hook, he says in his latest "Editor's Note". The mailbox was flooded with letters. "Some of the callers were apoplectic with anger."

Mbthombothi must be relieved that Constitutional Court Judge Albie Sachs ruled on 27 May 2005 that South Africans have a constitutional right to laugh. (Case CCT 42/07 was about the squabble between Laugh It Off Inc and SAB, who didn't think the 'Black Labour, White Guilt' T-shirt was a laughing matter at all. For more background see: ) .

Paragraph 107 of Sachs' judgement is particularly relevant:

...The Constitution cannot oblige the dour to laugh. It can, however,
prevent the cheerless from snuffing out the laughter of the blithe spirits
among us.
Indeed, if our society became completely solemn because of the
exercise of state power at the behest of the worthy, not only would all
irrelevant laughter be suppressed, but temperance considerations could end
up placing beer-drinking itself in jeopardy. And I can see no reason in
principle why a joke against the government can be tolerated, but one at the
expense of what used to be called Big Business, cannot
[emphasis added].

So, yes, Mthombothi has a Constitution right to kid around a bit. But did his joke make for good journalism?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

TIP: A really simply way to keep up with the news

The other day I was asked, once again: "How do you keep up with the latest news from around the world?"
The answer: RSS or Really Simple Syndication software which automatically pushes the latest news from a variety of my preferred news sources directly to my desktop. Of course, the sites must be appropriately enabled. I use SharpReader v0.9.5.1, but there are many other free programmes available for download here.

These are on my list right now:

SA news - Independent Online & Mail&Guardian Online

UK news - The FT (recently named the best paper in the world), the Guardian and, of course, BBC Online

US news - the New York Times and Time magazine

Other news - I also follow a number of blogs to keep up with news and gossip in the journalism industry and a couple others besides.

Those I'd like to subscribe to - but can't because they don't allow RSS feeds - include: News24 and TheMedia .

Got any suggestions for other sites to keep tabs on?