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Instructions for next week's writing assignment

If you were not at the Tuesday lecture, you may not know that the 600-word writing assignment on ‘Communication for Development’ has been postponed for one week and is now due on Friday 1 September.

Here is some guidance on how to tackle the third (and last) writing assignment for next week:

You should write a 600-word story for the Grocott’s Mail youth page about your group’s journalism training project (so far). Your article should answer these questions:

1. What is the aim of your youth journalism training project?
In our view, your project should be informed in some way by the “participatory/ empowerment” communication paradigm described by Melcote and Steeves (in their chapter “Communication Strategies for Empowerment”, which is in your course reader). In other words, the primary aim is not to ‘deliver’ lots of information and technology to your participants, but instead to work from the grassroots so young people and organisations there may develop a more confident voice. Melcote and Steeves have this to say about ‘empowerment’:
- "It provides skills, confidence and countervailing power to deal effectively with social change in a world that distributes needs, resources and power unequally;
- It privileges multiple voices and perspectives and facilitates equal sharing of knowledge and solution alternatives among participants in process."
So that may be what you want the participants to reach towards (even if it is only partially achieved at this point). But, there may be a lot more besides (like simply having fun).
Also, what do you want the ‘public’ to get out of it – for example, will it contribute in any way to the general public sphere in Grahamstown or to alternative public spheres? And lastly, what do you personally want to get out of it?

2. Who are you working with?
Describe the context of your youth journalism training project. Who are the young people participating in this project? What would they like to do or know or say (and to whom would they like to say it)? Provide thick description of your observation of them so far (significant details, dialogue, anecdotes, etc.).

3. Given your aims and your knowledge of the context and the people you are working with, HOW do you plan to do this project? In particular, we are interested in the resources and approaches you choose to draw on to achieve your aims. For example, you could draw on one or more of the following resources in relation to approaches to journalistic/ communication practice:
a. The ‘Communication for Development’ approach outlined by Melcote and Steeves (pp 130-150 in the reader);
b. The concept of ‘alternative media’ outlined by Tanni Haas (in his article “Alternative Media, Public Journalism and the Pursuit of Democratisation”), or the closely related concept of ‘radical journalism’ outlined by Chris Atton (in his article “News Cultures and New Social Movements: Radical Journalism and the Mainstream Media”) – both readings can be found on http://joblog.ru.ac.za
c. The concept of ‘citizen-participatory journalism’ outlined by Steve Outing (in his article “The 11 Layers of Citizen Journalism”) – http://www.poynter.org/content/content_view.asp?id=83126

Note that you will be required to submit a second 600-word piece of writing about the youth journalism training project at the end of Week 2 in Term 4. This should be a (constructively) critical analysis of your personal and group ‘teaching’ performance. This should be based on:

* Your participation in and observation of the project;
* Your reading and reflection on the political, ethical, and journalistic issues it throws up;
* Some formal evaluation of your training and facilitation skills (using, for instance, questionnaires, informal discussion with trainees, or peer assessment).

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