August 30, 2006

An example of 'communication for development' from Ethiopia

How Ethiopian Youth and Community Dialogues Fight HIV/AIDS
by Ailish Byrne

Young drive 'radical media shift'

Does this article decribe you?
Does it describe the young people you are working with on your project?

Journalism without journalists

Find below a link to a New Yorker article by Nic Lemann, dean of the School of Journalism at Columbia University, New York, about citizen journalism...

This is great journalism about journalism.

August 28, 2006

Notes on development journalism

See Powerpoint notes on "development journalism". The first half of the presentation is based on the reading entitled "Development Journalism in Black Africa" by Domatob and Hall (in your reader). The second half is based on a reading by Johan Galtung, which takes into account some of the criticisms of development journalism in trying to imagine a "new paradigm" for the practice of this form of journalism.

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News Goo

News Goo

Communication Breakdown! Pause for this message. Wake up!
Every station is identification
Global syndication is shaping the nation. ABC-Disney, NBC-GE.
Murdock is Foxy and we’re the hen,
He owns the pen, the camera, the sword.
Buy a Coke, buy a Ford. Getting broke? Getting bored?
Selling attitude like food for the masses. Junk consumption. We’re lumpen
A bumpkin to the corporate state.
You cannot satiate what you can’t negotiate
Your will’s been snatched, The bill’s attached
Flim-flam diagram, data-jam, handicam Caught it, Yo, ya bought it
A mind is a profitable thing to waste.
Ya want another taste, baby? We got

News Goo – What we need to know
News Goo – What we want to know
News Goo – What we think we know
Got remote control to choose the show.
But the more we watch, the less we know
Ignorance grows on the spirit like a tumour… till freedom is a rumour.

"News Goo" by Polar Levine-sine language music/BMI

To download the song, go to:

August 25, 2006

The writing is on the wall

A short article I wrote a few years ago about some of the ideas and techniques we are currently experimenting with in the JDD course... Hopefully, this will give you some sense of where I am coming from.

The writing is on the wall
By Rod Amner
(1900 words)

When I proposed to 25 third year journalism students that our writing class take inspiration from an idea pioneered in places as unfashionable and inhospitable as the former-Soviet Union and Nepal, I should have expected the icy stares. But happily, within five weeks, this winter of classroom discontent, had begun to thaw into a tentative spring.
In retrospect there were many sound reasons for insisting on a “wall newspaper” (and I will elaborate on these later). But, in truth, the main impetus for the project was the simple fact that my department didn’t have the money to produce a “proper” newspaper. Newspapers are expensive – the basic costs of printing a modest 1000 copies of a 16-page tabloid were prohibitive.

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Lecture notes on development, 'Communication for Development', 'radical/ alternative journalism'

Please read through these lecture notes before next Tuesday's lecture... this will allow us to have qualitative discussion in class rather than ploughing through Powerpoint presentations.

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August 24, 2006

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
c. The concept of ‘citizen-participatory journalism’ outlined by Steve Outing (in his article “The 11 Layers of Citizen Journalism”) –

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).

We media: a book on citizen-participatory journalism available online

For those who would like more on 'citizen-participatory' media, make use of the following resource online...

REPOST: What works in youth media

I have reposted the following link to a PDF file that shows a number of exceptional case studies from around the world. Will your youth journalism training project bear any resemblance to any of these projects?

Also, you may want to have a look at this Unicef website called "Voices of Youth" which has some excellent training resources.

Alternative Media, Public Journalism and the Pursuit of Democratisation

Tanni Haas provides a rich and concise definition of alternative media in this short article and goes on to argue that the democratic goals of public journalism could be furthered by emulating alternative media practices.

How does the concept of 'alternative media' relate (if at all) to the journalism training projects you are planning for local youth?

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11 layers of citizen journalism

A short article on the phenomenon of 'citizen/ participatory journalism' by Steve Outing.

How does the concept of 'citizen-participatory journalism' relate (if at all) to the journalism training project you are planning for local youth?

Radical journalism

News Cultures and New Social Movements: radical journalism and the mainstream media

An article on radical journalism by Chris Atton. How does the concept of 'radical journalism' relate (if at all) to the journalism training projects we are planning to run for local youth?

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August 16, 2006

No more notes...

Attendance at the Tuesday lectures has gone from poor to dismal. That's OK... you have a democratic right to boycott!
But, please know that I won't be posting any more course notes to the blog. You will have to do your own note-taking, reading and summaries from now on!

A reminder that you should read Haas & Steiner's article "Public Journalism as a Journalism of Publics", which can be found at an earlier entry on The seminar topic is "What implications does Fraser’s four-part critique of Habermas’s theory of the public sphere have for the theory and practise of public journalism?" We will also discuss how to we can apply Haas and Steiner's insights to the journalisms we propose doing in fourth term.

Money and phones

Note that departmental telephones can be signed out by any JMS3 student from Dees Naidoo at the store and plugged into active sockets in the W&E newsroom. TV and radio students have been granted access to the W&E lab so they can use the phones for JDD business.
I have distributed R700 for focus groups so far. Unfortunately, I won't be around on Thursday - if you need money before Friday (when I return) you will have to beg from Marietjie Meyer or your group members. Sorry!

Focus group interview schedules - some examples from JDD in 2005

Here are some examples of focus group interview schedules developed by JDD students in 2005. The focus in that year was high school education, so these questions may be of particular use to those of you working with high school learners this year (but, should also be of some interest to the rest of you).
Please note that you should try to limit the number of questions on your formal interview schedule (4-8 may be optimal).

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August 14, 2006

Public journalism - a reply to critics

This article analyzes and responds to the most significant criticisms of public journalism made by scholars. After discussing public journalism advocates’ alleged failure to define public journalism clearly, we examine more specific criticisms. Among other issues, few advocates have taken seriously the likely impact of commercial imperatives on public journalism’s modes of operation. We argue, however, that public journalism projects show that reform-oriented news organizations can challenge long-standing journalistic conventions, despite managements’ interests in maximizing profit. Ultimately, we argue, public journalism’s long-term viability depends on continuing, explicit commitment by journalists, its institutionalization within newsrooms and journalism classrooms, and continued theory-development, research, and assessment.
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Conversation - a metaphor and a method for better journalism?

A public journalism experiment from Finland...
“Conversation” has become a fashionable metaphor for thinking about journalism and its role in social life, particularly with the rise of the public journalism movement. This article reports the findings from an experiment in which the metaphor was taken as a practical model for producing more citizen-oriented content for reporting. Experiences from citizen focus groups acting as the source of reporting are analysed and their challenges for journalistic practice are highlighted. The article concludes by comparing the lessons of using the “conversational method” with some recent scholarly reflections about the role of conversation in journalism.
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August 11, 2006

Letter of introduction to school heads

See letter in MSWord format attached....
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August 09, 2006

White Fright: the politics of white youth identity in South Africa

By Nadine Dolby
In the 1990s, ‘whiteness’ in South Africa was open to multiple rearticulations. As white is politically (although not necessarily economically) unhinged from a position of privilege, it finds new paths and trajectories to follow. In this article, I examine how white students at a predominantly black high school in Durban remake and resuscitate whiteness. Using the strategy of resentment, white students negate and dismiss both the historical and contemporary position of their black classmates, instead recentring themselves as victims. As they survey their lives and futures, white students also plot routes of escape out of South Africa, taking refuge in a global whiteness that has many different facets. As white students elude and evade the boundaries of the nation-state in their quest for a secure, privileged whiteness, they lead whiteness to a global stage.

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How to reach young readers

A series of reports on young readers by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

Are we reaching da youth:
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How a newspaper becomes H.I.P:
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Lessons worth learning about young readers:
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Writing stories to reach young people:
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August 08, 2006

Overview of group work in Term 3

See Powerpoint presentation...
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Democratic theory and the practise of public journalism

See Powerpoint presentation... note that this document contains a number of links to websites about public journalism, which should help you research your 600-word story for The Media magazine.
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R900 000 boost for Makana youth centre

The Makana Special Programmes Unit (SPU) will receive R900 000 from the Umsobomvu Youth Fund (UYF) to establish a Youth Advisory Centre in Joza Location.

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Reflections on Journalism and Democracy in SA - Anton Harber

An interesting article by Wits professor and former Weekly Mail editor Anton Harber on the sort of journalism we need in a democratic South Africa...
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Public Journalism as a Journalism of Publics - Haas and Steiner

This is the reading for the seminar in Week 4. It may also be of some use to you in researching your 600-word piece on public journalism, which is due on Friday 11 August.
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August 04, 2006

Some notes on focus groups to refresh your memories

See Powerpoint presentation here...
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August 03, 2006

MAGIC: Media Activities and Good Ideas by, with and for Children

Click here for Unesco's MAGIC website:

The Media and Children's Rights: A Handbook for Journalists

This handbook is downloadable at the following address:

Positive images: improving the media portayal of young people

Have a look at the following website:

August 02, 2006

Joblog workshops: Friday 4 August, 4pm

Each of the nine JDD groups is required to set up and run a blog to aid internal communication and debate. To this end, all writing students (who have already had some blogging experience) should come to a blogging refresher course at 4pm on Friday 4 August in the W&E lab in the AMM. They, in turn, will be responsible for training the photojournalists and designers in their groups in blogging skills. In addition, two volunteers from each of the three JDD broadcast groups should attend the same workshop at 4pm on Friday and make arrangements with Colin Daniels and Rod Amner for follow-up workshops, should these be deemed necessary.

August 01, 2006

Critiques of libertarian and social responsibility theories

See Powerpoint presentation here...
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Some guidance on the focus group research

See Powerpoint presentation here...
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JDD groups

The JMS3 class has been divided into nine groups for the JDD course. Please check your group number, seminar venue and facilitator in the following list...

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July 31, 2006

Normative theories of the media

Normative theories of the media - Powerpoint presentation
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July 28, 2006

Course outline document

See course outline attached
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What Works in Youth Media (participatory youth media projects worldwide)

Click on the following link to access this PDF file:

July 25, 2006

Course reading: Buckingham, D. 1998. The Making of Citizens: Young people, TV News and the Limits of Politics

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Introduction to Public Journalism and Youth, Media and Politics

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Introductory lecture - Powerpoint presentation

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Welcome to JDD

Welcome to joblog! I am Rod Amner, a Journalism and Media Studies lecturer at Rhodes University, South Africa, currently teaching a semester-long course in Journalism, Democracy and Development (JDD) at the third year level. I am writing this blog as a way of thinking aloud and reflecting on this course as it unfolds. I write mainly for my students - to allow them access to my ideas, hopes and anxieties, and to encourage them to respond. To get things started, here is some background to the course...

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