some things never change!


Despite the onslaught of technological innovations and its sexy gadgets working wonders in today’s media environment, spoiling our choice, one thing that hasn’t changed is the way we practice journalism, said Jovial Rantao, president of the South Africa’s National Editors Forum (SANEF) during his inspirational speech yesterday, Monday 8th September 2008, at Highway Africa 2008, currently taking place in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape.

“All of this will be for nothing if we don’t practice responsible journalism. As Professor Berger teaches us, real journalism is based on truthfulness, fairness, impartiality and ethics,” Rantao said.

The debate around citizen journalism – a product of the machine’s rise to power – continues to rage at the 12th Highway Africa, even long after the plenary sessions have closed, with critics of citizen journalism claiming that some content of this new form of media is untested information, loaded with hidden agendas and lacks an ethical approach and independence.

But love it or hate it, the other side said, citizen journalism is here to stay and poses a challenge to mainstream media, especially newspapers and magazines.

But Rantao argues there would be serious repercussions if citizen journalists become the new masters of print newsrooms.

“While we encourage our readers to use these platforms, we must be very careful in how we handle the information they generate. If we gave these people access to the production of newspapers, we risked seeing untruths published every time in the newspapers. Perhaps this is a wake-up call for our colleagues in the print media to rethink their strategies or we will die,” he said.

“While I recognize that it contributes to the democratization of society and diversity of opinion, citizen journalism is ungovernable and can sometimes be destructive,” said Amina Frense, project manager of the South African Broadcasting Association (SABA ), to on the sidelines. of the conference.

“It is a free-for-all platform, which unfortunately cannot be blocked. I would rightly say that mainstream media must also take responsibility for the sudden rise of citizen journalism,” Frense said.

“The mainstream media always say we can’t send a journalist there because we don’t have the money or we’re trying to limit our correspondents’ expenses. A country needs a savvy and informed public to progress. Don’t leave your audience vulnerable, and that’s what mainstream media has done for all these years.

“If you do that, someone could fill that space and start feeding your audience with unsorted information that can distract them. And now the question is, what are we going to do with this explosion of information?

Rosemary Orkale-Okello from Nigeria said: “We can say what we want, but one thing is for sure, our communities have taken over the reins of the media. The myth of five Ws and one H is finally shattered and citizen journalism is forcing mainstream media to redefine their strategies. It is now up to us to change the way of doing business.

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