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Songezo Zibi and Palesa Morudu discuss the year’s biggest news stories at their MMX15 panel. (Photo: Liesl Roos)

Saturday morning’s first panel focused on the South African media’s coverage of 2015’s biggest stories, including xenophobia, the electricity crisis, disruptions in parliament, and the economy. Led by moderator Ben Said of eNCA, the panelists — Palesa Morudu (columnist), Shaka Sisulu (media strategist), Songezo Zibi (Business Day), and John Perlman (KAYA FM) — spoke on the issue of journalism’s “pack mentality” and how it affected recent news stories. One of the largest themes discussed by the panel was journalistic rhythm, which Sisulu described as the phenomenon of “the big flare — we’re all going to rush to it, stand around the fire, talk about it, and then rush to the next disaster.” However, this approach often results in a lack of context around the story. According to the panel, the media must encourage a better quality of debate, a range of viewpoints, and more extended coverage of major events in order to rectify coverage deficiencies. And, perhaps most importantly, as Zibi noted, the news media must remember that “There’s a difference between an interesting story and the most important story.”

-Erin Brown, MMX15 Student Newsroom