Development Journalism is described by Banda (2006: 5) as “an intellectual enterprise in which the journalist should form a kind of free intelligence and should critically examine the aims of national development and the applicable instruments in a rational discourse and solve them by reasonable criteria free of social constraints.” Development Journalism therefore challenges officials and holds them accountable, it promotes citizens to be aware of their rights and protects the interests of the public, and it also motivates citizens to help themselves develop their lives. Development Journalism is different from public journalism in that in development journalism the citizens are not directly involved in setting the news agenda and it promotes a national identity and criticizes officials.
The development story which I did was on the Masizame Youth Group, a “multi-purpose” group which does repairs, and installations of electrical fences, taps and a range of other services. I attempted to be less subjective and decided not to go out and “hunt” for a story. Instead I came across an advert about the Masizame Youth Group who were offering their services to the Grahamstown community as a whole and decided to meet with them and find out the purpose of their story. After they had shared their story it was very evident that this group was set on encouraging change and they were extremely inspirational. The Masizame Youth Group’s story was a different perspective in which ordinary people showed us that they are responsible and are the authorities of their own lives. My research strategy had to be based mainly on a conversational approach where I ended up developing a relationship with the founders of the youth group. I interviewed the founders of the group in a studio and I believed this would help them to have more confidence in their initiative and realize not only the impact they are making but also the stand they are taking as individuals who are accounting for their own lives. I interviewed the founders as I believe that they would be the best candidates to share the hardships which they faced through-out their years since the group was founded.
My journalists approach impacted professional standards I had set on myself as I had to remain committed to ethical and professional reporting which included me having to be sensitive, accurate and took responsibility on how I portrayed the group and their aims and objectives. I remained committed to highlighting community aspects and grassroots level, I used no authoritative voices in this story as that might have overpowered the voices of the “ordinary people”. However, I believe that I could have invested more time in thorough research but because of time constraints I could not.
This story emphasized an aspect in the Third Year Radio Agency Mission Statement 2010 that we deliberated on. I had intended to create a platform to “promote understanding between residents through examining similarities rather than reinforcing differences” within communities by accentuating local heroes who decided to improve their own lives instead of depending on the government for their well-being (Agency Document 2010).
1. JMS3 Radio, 2010. “Agency Document”. Rhodes University: Grahamstown. Retrived from: http://ruconnected.ru.ac.za/mod/resource/view.php?id=62314, in April 2010.
2. Haas, T. 2007. “The emergence of public journalism” and “A public philosophy for public journalism” in The pursuit of public journalism: theory, practice and criticism. Routledge: New York.
3. Banda, F. 2006. “An Appraisal of the Applicability of Development Journalism in theContext of Public Service Broadcasting (PSB)1”.
Grahamstown: Rhodes University. Retrieved from: http://ruconnected.ru.ac.za/file.php/2094/Development_journalism_PSB_presentation _to_SABC.pdf, in August 2010.
The Masizame Youth Group
The Masizame Youth Group has been operating for almost 17 years and still aims to create employment for anyone who is unemployed and is skilled. This is the voice of Sango Mayalo, one of the founders of the Masizame Youth Group in Grahamstown.