Friday, July 29, 2005

Page 3 girls and other questions about tabloids

The phenomenal rise of South Africa's tabloids has got tongues wagging within the country's borders - and beyond. For a summary, see this recent post on World Editors Forum weblog.

Perhaps we should build up a reference list of research on tabloids? What about a list of tips on how trainers can better prepare would-be journalists for positions in this fast-growing segment of the industry?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Want to know your EQ?

There weren’t many options when we got to Groovy Movies & Take-Aways in the West Coast village of St Helena Bay on Sunday. So, after negotiating with my partner, we settled on “Spiderman 2”. It gave me another chance to watch my new favorite movie newspaper editor, J.K. Simmons as the cigar-chomping Daily Bugle boss J. Jonah Jameson. He's a crass, cynical sensation monger and he doesn't care who knows it. Like everything else in "Spiderman," he's a homage to the prototype.

Stricter labour laws and union watchdogs have probably cut down the numbers of those who follow the “J. Jonah Jameson Approach to Editorial Management”. Not too many editors working today can get away with shouting, "You're fired!" Still, anecdotal evidence suggests that more than a few newsroom managers (and others) could use some help with developing their Emotional Intelligence (EI) quotients.

The first step, of course, would be to know where one stands. One's EQ, if you will. Well, here’s a chance. A colleague of mine is looking for participants for research into (EI). The research is all online and involves completing a number of questionnaires.

Taking part has several benefits. It’ll give you a chance to actually experience some of the standardized measures of EI that are used for both research and assessment, and for developmental (i.e., educational or occupational) purposes. Those who take part in the research will also get an assessment of their emotional intelligence, happiness and satisfaction with life, as well as interpretations of these scores.

If you want more information, contact of Kathryn Gardner, at the University of Central Lancashire's Department of Psychology.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Just what we need

Such a forum is just what we need. Well done Francois for starting one.


Hi Francois and all
Just to let you know I also joined the blog - looking forward to following the debates here.
Herman Wasserman

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Some gossip about Gilbert

A little hearsay from the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) Annual General Meeting this week: '... a more committed journalism trainer you couldn't wish to meet.'
And who was being gossiped about? Gilbert Mokwatedi of Tshwane University of Technology.

Now, I've never actually met Gilbert, but the Oxford University Press editors knew that he had been using an earlier version of Writing for the Media and got him to write something nice about the latest edition for the back cover. Unfortunately, they could only use a few sentences of it, so I thought I might be a good idea to publish the whole piece here.

Over to you, Gilbert:

The world is changing and the media can't be left behind. For the media, the change is visible with regard to technology, culture and the treatment of information itself. Journalists should accommodate new thinking. What worked 10 years ago might not work today.
Walker Lundy, an editor and executive vice president of the Philadelphia Inquirer summed it up with these words: "If you are not in a newsroom that's trying to change, you should be worried".
Education and training are some of the forums and mechanisms enabling journalists to meet the tide and pace of changes.
François Nel's third edition of Writing for the Media comes at the right time when media and non-media practitioners are complaining about the state of journalism in the country and looking for solutions. Computer Assisted Reporting and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are some of the buzzwords in the media industry. The book comes in handy as it includes a list of available resources relevant to each chapter and also covers new developments in information technology.

PS. The Pew Centre's comprehensive 'State of the Media' report details some of the changes in the US media. Wouldn't it be a good idea to roll out comparative reports elsewhere around the world? Anyone keen?

Friday, July 08, 2005

Mind the media

Starting this blog on a Friday afternoon in July doesn't really seem logical. Then again, that might just be appropriate. After all, if Mail & Guardian columnist Tom Eaton is to be believed, "the media has no mind, only a nervous system, and any direction it goes in is merely a reaction and not the results of a decision.” The media, Eaton suggestions, scurries around like little worker ants scrapping up specks of nourishment to feed the insatiable blob of idle consumption: “the royal reader, the queenly subscriber, whose every whim must be pandered to, whose interest must be sustained…” Well, despite what Eaton may think, there is indeed a smidgeon of intention, of actual rationale, in the inception of this blog. It is to be a space for people who care to talk critically about the media, in general, and exchange ideas about how to ensure the news media keep on, and keep on getting better. Perhaps starting that conversation on the day after bombs ripped apart lives along with parts of the London public transport system - and those who can and care are glued to the media for updates – has some kind of logic after all.