News forms a crucial part of society's ability understanding of the world around it and creates an opportunity for human debate and interaction. Mainstream news normally serves the aim to produce stories which are factually based and are written in an objective manner. In mainstream news journalists are encouraged to do nothing more than collect information and disseminate it to the public. This approach to journalism is different to public journalism in that here journalists just serve a informative purpose where as in public journalism, the journalist is more involved in creating platforms that mobilize social change.
The first news story I did was on the Eluxolweni Children’s shelter where an increasing number of children were running away from the home and shelter, ultimately ending up on the street, with most ultimately turning to crime. I interviewed Rose Heber, a worried care taker at Eluxolweni Children’s Shelter who commented on why she believes that children are leaving the shelter and homes for the streets. I also interviewd Loyiso Lwane, who is a one of the children who stays at this shelter to give us the perspective of a child living in the shelter and why he would consider running away from a place that is meant to be a place of safety for him. Because this is news journalism and figures in places of authority are always seen to make your story more credible, I spoke to a police officer, Sergeant A.B Poni who shared with us the impacts on the correlation between the increasing numbers of children running away from the shelters. Here journalists act as mirrors of society and they do not get involved at all with the stories which they decide to take on. Mainstream news also normally encourage journalists to include “all sides of the story” to prevent the story from seeming biased and therefore less objective.
Mainstream news also has ethical reporting which is committed to responsibility, professionalism, accuracy, fairness, thorough research and sensitivity (Agency Document 2010). This form of journalism is devoted to objectivity, being unprejudiced and remaining detached from whichever story which they decide to do.
The second news story which I did was on the SAMWU Strike. The strike began when negotiations between the government and the South African Municipal Workers Union hit a deadlock. Residents of Grahamstown were then forced to dispose of their own refuse and some Rhodes University students took it upon themselves to help in cleaning up the refuse in hope that the an agreement would be reached soon. The strike was soon blemished by acts of violence and littering, with workers assaulting two local businessmen and tipping over local municipal bins in the CBD and residential areas.
According to the SAMU Chairperson in the Makana area, Wandisile Bikitsha, the workers were demanding back dated money owed to them due to personnel upgrading.
This was a typical mainstream news story which needed the voice of everyone involved in the strike, from the workers to the voices of authority.
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.
Why are homeless Children running away from the Eluxolweni Children's Centre?
An increasing number of children are running away from homes and shelters, ultimately ending up on the street, with most ultimately turning to crime. Neliswa Ntanda reports from outside Eluxolweni Children’s Shelter.
The national municipal workers strike continues, Grahamstown residents voice their opinions on how this is affecting them.