My experience doing data journalism assignment

I recently did a New Media Assignment on data-journalism.

I had to look for a report done by any NGO and produce a newa package based on it.

I used a report compiled by the Pardee Center for International Futures in collaboration with the Institute for Security Studies.

Doing this assignment was yet another eye-opening experience. It was an eye-opening experience in the sense that it helped me understand the depth of some of the challenges we face as a country. Being told about the challenges we face is one thing, being reminded about them almost everyday is another. Both cases are very important as far as awareness is concerned. But seeing an in-depth report is both eye-opening and scary, all at the same time.

If there is one thing I did not enjoy about the assignment is the long read. Reports are very long, and understandably so. But going through multiple pages just to find one angle is one thing that would rank pretty low on my favourite things to do.

Having said that, as a journalist I know this is something I will have to deal with more often than not, especially in my first few years in the industry. So starting to familiarise myself with it is not the worse thing in the world.

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My experience during the New Media Assignment

Doing this assignment has been an eye opening experience for me. I have learnt much more than I expected I would. From disappointments, inspiration, detection and relief, I went through it all.

At first, developing a story idea and a way to approach it was not really difficult. I was actually excited because this is challenging topic

Setting up the interview with her was also tricky because she is always busy at school and she has to work after that until around 6 pm. So we had three days to make time in between all that.

Filming the interview was a huge relief because it was only then that I knew it’s finally happening at last.

Editing was not much of a challenge because I’ve been doing it since last year but I come from this assignment with a few lessons: (1) manage my time better and (2) it’s never been this important to start my assignments early because work is coming thick and fast

Reflections on my online speech-based news package

I recently did a New Media assignment on an online speech made by Julius Malema.

I had to look for an online speech and apply what I had learned in my New Media classes to do an online poll and to also write a news article based on that speech. It looked simple enough at first and we had enough time to do it.

The problem, however, was that it required a lot of data to do. This proved my first challenge since I don’t have access to Wi-Fi at home. YouTube videos are very expensive to watch without Wi-Fi so it meant I had to do the assignment while I’m at school.

The problem with that though is that there is always something to do everyday with the other subjects. Suddenly, I did not have as much time as I thought I had.

The speeches were also long. My angle required about five minutes in the middle. Having to either wait a few minutes to get to the part I needed or skip straight to it, which meant waiting for it to load yet again was also quite frustrating at times.

The assignment itself was fun to do but it wasn’t without its challenges

Why I Chose Journalism

 

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Soccer Laduma newspaper

Life can be a very funny journey. It’s funny how the little things you do every day can turn out to be the pillars of your whole life. That’s my first thought as I’m trying to think back on why I chose to study journalism. A simple answer to the question is that it’s my love for sports and reading that’s led me here.

The truth, however, is that answering that question is like trying to connect the dots of my life from my childhood. It’s a journey. Though I didn’t know it then, but my love for journalism started in my Junior Primary school days.

Sports, football, in particular, is all that I’ve known in life. One of my earliest childhood memories is when I had to buy the Soccer Laduma newspaper for my grandfather every Wednesday afternoon and I’d have to read him all the stories for the remainder of the week. Although I didn’t see it then but those days have turned out to be the foundation of my life.

I went from reading about the game to actually putting the boots on, but I never stopped following it the media. That, too, proved another step in my journey because, as it turned out, my love for the game far outweighed my talents on the field. My love for the game, however, knew no boundaries. I wanted to take part in sports for the rest of my life: since I could not do it directly by being a sportsman, I had to find another way.

My love for sports and reading, the seeds that were planted on me by my grandfather all those years back, turned out to be invaluable for the 19-year-old me when I had finished grade 12 but had no plan of my own. Everyone had a suggestion on which path I should take, but, all though it all came from a place of love, none of it really appealed to me.

That was when I remembered that actually there is another way to take part in sports besides being on the field. Robert Marawa was doing it, as were Thomas Mlambo and Melissa Reddy to mention but a few. That’s when and how I decided to choose journalism.

I have since learned and embraced other aspects of the industry but sports remains my first love.

Mkhize The Change Agent For Umlazi

“If you build a house, you do build it for yourself. If you build a school, you build it for your community.”

Some might say that Muzokhanyanyo Reginald Mkhize was inspired by those words when he built his now iconic Las Vegas Primary School, which opened it’s doors in 1993. But that couldn’t be further from the truth, his story is much more than a dream made out of a mantra.

“I had never heard of that (quote) when the idea of starting a creche first hit me, it was around 1991,” said Mkhize.

But before there was Las Vegas, there was a dream.

As a youngster, Mkhize left his home in Ulundi, Northern KwaZulu Natal, to Umlazi in pursuit of his dream of being a mechanical engineer. He finished grade 12 at age 27 and did some engineering courses, which he completed earlier than expected. He achieved his dream of being an engineer when he joined Engen but it was short lived.

Two years into his arrival at Engen, he caught fire at work and was burnt. When he realised he couldn’t work anymore he knew he needed another way to survive.

“That’s how the idea of starting a pre-school came about. But to simply build a pre-school would be a short term solution. I needed something different so I decided to start the first school of it’s kind in Umlazi, that had English as the first language. I did it to provide for my family,” added.

Las Vegas has not only changed his family’s life however, the whole Umlazi J section community is benefiting.

“Mr Mkhize has brought jobs to the community. School kids wash Las Vegas cars for pocket money and when he is building or needs artisan skills he employs those from the community,” said Gloria Mthembu, his neighbour.

Nkosikhona Cele, a driver at Las Vegas, says he owes a lot to Mr Mkhize.

“I was just a drop out when he took me. He helped me get a license then I was hired as his driver. I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for him,” said Cele.

Simphiwe Shozi, a community member whose son is schooling at Las Vegas, praises his innovation and influence.

“He took the model c education to the black township way before anyone could even think of anything like it. Growing up we didn’t have to look further for role models, we all wanted to be like Mr Mkhize,” he said.

Is This What We Really Fought For? White Rule Ends, Black Poverty Goes On: A book review

Bob, Myers. Is This What We Really Fought For? White Rule Ends, Black Poverty Goes On.

In this second book in his series, Bob Myers delivers an alternative account and perspective at a critical period in the South African political landscape. The author looks at the liberation movement and the subsequent transition to democracy from the workers and trade unions’ point of view at a critical period in the South African political landscape. In reviewing this book, the principal focus included evaluating the organisation, the range of coverage, the content, the selection and interpretation of evidence and The theoretical approach.

The organization of the book Is This What We Really Fought For? allows the reader to follow the events of the other side of the transition to democracy, the side without the fairytale story we’ve been sold for tears. The book is divided into three chapters, all with a number of topics under them, made by the “three pamphlets distributed by the revolutionary trade unionists from the Durban area: The cause of the violence in South Africa and how to stop it (1992); Why the government of National Unity will attack the workers (1993); How can we solve our problems? Through capitalism or socialism? (1997),” (cover p.).

As he did in the first book of this series titled Revolutionary Times, Revolutionary Lives, the author used a chronological range of coverage for this edition. The book follows, but not limited to, a series of events that occurred over a period of five years, between 1992 to 1997. The author covered everything that occurred during this period in a chronological order but he was flexible enough to delve into the 1980’s in order to incorporate relevant events for context purposes.

When it comes to the content of this book, the name Is This What We Really Fought For? White Rule Ends, Black Poverty Goes On sums it up nicely. In the book, Myers shows his dissatisfaction with the reality of the middle class workers and lack of confidence in the idea of national unity with the capitalist government. From outlining what he believes is the real “cause of violence in South Africa”(p5-p30), his take on the “government of national unity” negotiations (p31-66) through to how he believes “we can solve our problems” (p67-104), Myers takes the reader on journey of a black middle class worker in the early to mid 1990’s with his detailed critical analysis that recent history is starting to judge favourably as the failings of the African National Congress is exposed almost daily by our maturing politics.

The only drawback I found in this book is that the evidence the author chose are only those that conforms with his arguments for socialism. Those arguments includes the letters of the workers from both South Africa and abroad, that the second chapter is primarily dedicated to, including the one from the Iranian oil workers (p.59-62), some admissions in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Goldstone Commission, with one example illustrating that “the Goldstone Commission provided the evidence that the violence in the country was organised by people within the police and army,” (p11). Though these selections are true and are interpreted perfectly and in line with the context of the book, I’m disappointed the author did not even attempt to seek balance via a counter argument. But then again, it’s important to note that the author is not compelled to counter his own arguments and this doesn’t diminish the credibility of the book In the slightest sense.

The theoretical approach of this book is different from what I’m used to in that the book Is written from the workers and socialist trade unions’ perspective. It also openly favoured socialism over capitalism in a time when the capitalistic ANC was praised all over the world for their work.

All in all, the book Is This What We Really Fought For? White Rule Ends, Black Poverty Goes On is a good read. For those interested in knowing the real events that took place during those crucial years between 1992 and 1997 that had such a bearing in the reality we live today, rather than the good-story we are subjected to everyday, than this book is for you. I’d also recommend it to both the teachers and students who seek an alternative view of the accounts of this period.

“Opposition Parties Need Political Advice”

By Nwabiso Dlamini

The state of politics in South Africa at the moment is unpredictable. The African National Congress which is in power at the moment is being ganged up by opposition parties. Every decision that is taken by ANC, opposition parties always provoke the judgment.

Lately the Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane proposed that Jacob Zuma should be voted out by a vote of no confidence.

Maimane’s proposal received huge support by other oppositional parties, including the EFF, FFP and COPE. All the opposition parties in Parliament thought a vote of no confidence would be enough to get Zuma off from the presidential seat.

If the opposition parties adhere consultation from political expertise it would be useful to consider one. Political parties like DA and EFF should collaborate and take advice from experts before jumping to conclusion in political matters. If Maimane acquired consultation before revealing his idea to the National Assembly, maybe it would have been better.

Opposition parties should use the skills and experience of political analyst like Prof. Steven Friedman and Tinyiko Maluleke those are the people who have been around the field. Consulting an expert in politics will spare some embarrassment for the opposition parties in parliament. The time is now it would not help the parties to have leaders that are authoritarian, who do not communicate with other members of the party. The DA has proven that they’re power hungry, they want election to be held early so they’ll get ANC out of power. Its very clear that the DA will do anything in their power to get rid of the ANC government.

Once the political expert and the party has reached proviso about a certain issue then things won’t be the same as looking at one angle. It was crystal clear that ANC members won’t side with opposition in their quest to reshuffle Zuma. The opposition parties took this matter by heart and didn’t analyzed it at a third eye of perspective. Some decision that are made by opposition parties may sometimes be resolved through consultation not by the speaker of Parliament. The African National Congress seem to be united on the fore front, before that voting in Parliament ANC members were edged not vote against Zuma.

 

Words Speaks Louder Than Action