Truth & Trust

Mapping Media’s New Terrain


This year’s MMX we’ll turn our focus to fundamental values of journalism: Truth, and Trust, but acknowledging that our relationship to these is more complicated now than ever. The world of information production and reception has upended. Dark arts and deliberate misinformation campaigns have muddied the waters. Journalists and journalism itself are under attack. The public is polarized, weary, and skeptical.

Journalism is and will always be the most important defense of democracy. With so much at stake, what can we do to bolster our game? What tools are there to develop and deploy, what thought exercises and newsroom practices can we mobilize? Let’s talk about how we extract truth from information and how we can develop more robust relationships of trust with our audiences, our sources and our community.

Friday August 11, 2017

12:00 – 4:00    Workshops, see below


Michael Schoenfeld 
(Duke University)
Mary Zients (founder of MMX)

Performance: What you Think You See and What You Think You Know (Part I), Chad Spade (Illusionist)

Short Sharp:
Ayanda Dlodlo
(South Africa Minister of Communications)

The Honorable Minister of Communications for the Government of South Africa, Minister Ayanda Dlodlo,
Minister Dlodlo was to have given a welcome address to the Duke MMX community. Unfortunately, time constraints with a crucial governmental appointment meant that she was, unfortunately, unable to attend. Duke MMX is most grateful to the Minister for providing the text of the speech she was to have given to open Duke MMX. We thank the Minister for her generosity in offering us this welcome, and salute her hard work in a field that affects South Africa deeply and is a crucial discussion for journalists.

Minister Dlodlo’s Duke Menell Media Exchange Speech


“Truth & Trust
,” Nic Dawes (Human Rights Watch)

6:00 Media Mingle!!  Networking reception for all delegates

Saturday August 12, 2017

9:00 Take your seats
9:30 Program begins SHARP SHARP

Master of Ceremonies:
Iman Rappetti, PowerFM

“Crisis, Conviction, Courage” Dr. Makhosi Khoza (African National Congress MP)

What does it mean to continue speaking the truth at all costs and standing up for your beliefs, even under duress? What it comes down to is courage, and that hinges on conviction, and a willingness to take a stand, even, especially, when it is difficult. We can differ on what is right, but we must all stand up and promote real conversations of real substance and not allow anyone to be bullied by attacks on truth, attacks on institutions, attacks on projects and attacks on people.

PANEL: Journalists in the Crosshairs: Threat, Intimidation and Lies

Journalists as well as journalism itself are under attack in a spate of deliberate initiatives seemingly engineered to divide, create suspicion and re-racialise the country. The attacks run the gamut, from undermining reputations, to physical threats and assaults and ensuing emotional pressures. What things can journalists, editors, newsrooms and the journalism community do NOW to protect and defend.

Moderator: Dan Moyane (eNCA)

Peter Bruce (Tiso Blackstar)
Thandeka Gqubule (SABC)
Mahlatse Gallens  (SANEF)
Annika Larsen (eNCA)
Micah Reddy (amaBhugane)

PANEL: Bursting the Filter Bubbles, Exiting the Echo Chambers

We talk about the ways that technology has organized our access to information and how the public is caught in echo chambers that replicate already entrenched world views. But journalists are not immune from this. How can newsrooms and journalists recognize their own filter bubbles and work to dismantle them.  The kinds of issues at stake are everything from whose stories get represented and told to how those stories are inflected by the particular worlds that we are steeped in, from manufactured outrage to glossing over certain details in the way that facts get shaped into narrative.

Moderator: Asmaa Malik (Wits and Reyerson Universities)

Khadija Patel (Mail and Guardian)
Slindile Khanyile (IsolezweNews)
Mapi Mhlangu (eNCA)
Nina Callaghan (Children’s Radio Foundation)

Performance: What You Think You See and What You Think You Know (Part II)

Chad Spade, Illusionist

PANEL: The Trickiness of Truth

If truth is our product and our brand, what can journalists do to combat the ways that technology and politics have lately undermined and complicated the notion of truth.  For journalism’s purposes, it’s not just a question of separating facts from fake news. Sure, we need to fight deliberate untruths and misinformation, blatantly incorrect information. We also must own up to accidental or hapless ways we have misdirected truth and gotten the story wrong. And we must also contend with truth that is complicated with an agenda, or truth framed in salacious and incendinary ways.  We’ll talk about the relationship between information and context, between facts and narrative, and building infrastructures of accuracy that convey to the audience.

Moderator: Nic Dawes

Ferial Haffajee (Huffington Post)
Angelo Fick (eNCA)
Ranjeni Munusamy (Tiso Blackstar)
Mandy Weiner (independent)
Mondli Makhanya (City Press)

PANEL: Building a Trusted Brand

For journalism to be effective, there must be an essential relationship of trust with the audience. What can journalists and media houses do to create systems of accountability and models of trust that fully engage the audience.

 Moderator: Amy Selwyn (Storytegic)

Adriaan Basson ( News24)
Tim Cohen (Business Day)
Mathatha Tsedu (SABC)
Yavi Madurai (Black Box Theory)


Take No Prisoners Interviewing, Karyn Maughan (eNCA)

Blind Spots and Crowd Sourcing Truth, Yusuf Omar (CNN International)

Covering Youth Issues, Zola Brunner (eNCA)

Covering Complex Stories – Digging Deeper, Hennie Van Vuuren (Open Secrets)

Friday Afternoon WORKSHOPS

Izolo: Using Mobile Diaries to Better Understand Mobile Media Audiences

So your newsroom is now digital first and mobile first but do you know enough about how most South Africans experience and use the mobile Internet? Indra de Lanerolle, a leading Internet and media researcher at Wits, along with researchers at UCT and Rhodes recently completed fieldwork in three provinces in South Africa investigating everyday mobile phone use amongst people on average and low incomes. From this research they have produced ‘mobile diaries’ that raise some tough questions about how media can reach the ‘less connected’ majority. At the workshop Indra will lead a process to see how journalists and media producers can use this research to increase the reach and engagement with their work.

Presenter: Indra de Lanerolle (Wits University )

Telling your Dope From Your Dodgy: Building Credible News in South Africa

A hands-on approach to promoting credible media and what you can do about it. We know it’s out there. But can you easily identify your dope from your dodgy? Join us for a bit of fun as we give tips and guidelines on dodging the dodgy and showcasing some practical tools to help not only avoid dodgy news but help build credible news. Token prizes will be handed out (not suitable for U18).

Presenters: William Bird and Thandi Smith (Media Monitoring Africa)

Free Online Verification and Fact Checking Tools for Journalists,

In an age when it is simple to manipulate photographs and videos using free tools, and mis- and disinformation are ubiquitous on the internet, is it essential that journalists have the at least basic skills to able to identify online fakes, hoaxes and manipulated content. This workshop will show you how to unmask fake news and introduce you to several free tools that make will help you get the job done.

Presenter: Raymond Joseph (Southern Tip Media)

Surveying, Accessing and Using South African Open Data

One of the fundamental questions asked whenever journalists embark on data journalism projects is where to find data: how else will you create a data journalism piece without the essential ingredient for the story being numbers. In this workshop we (Adam Oxford and I, Siyabonga Africa) will guide participants through open data space in our country and show you techniques on how to access that data. A critical question is what to do with data that is not machine readable e.g. PDFs and Word documents. We will show “scrape” data from those sources to make them easier to manipulate for stories.

If possible, please bring a device that will allow you to access the internet (e.g., iPad, mobile phone, laptop, etc.)

Presenters: Siyabonga Africa (SABC) and Adam Oxford (Hacks/Hackers JHB)

Lessons from an Expedition
In 1996 Patrick Conroy covered South Africa’s first expedition to Mount Everest. It would end in death and controversy. Looking back, Conroy reflects on how poor planning and communication put the reputations and lives of all involved at risk.

Presenter: Patrick Conroy (e.SAT TV)

Credible Journalist = Credible Story : Reputation Management is the New Black,

We are living in extra-ordinary times of ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ that is now our reality. Media houses and journalists are under attack for their narrative on topics of the context of trust and truth, or actually the lack thereof. Like any other brand that has to earn the trust of their consumers with the value of their products to their lives, media houses and journalists have to now do similar for the benefit of THEIR story being treated with a premium. Credibility has to be earned continuously, and that means consistent, constant, and focussed brand reputation management of both the media house and the journalists.

Presenter: Yavi Madurai (Black Box Theory)

Leadership Roundtable

Design Thinking

Journalists are in a catch 22 and it is easy to get stuck.  The more they pull on the truth, the more the “untruth” is going to be told.  This design thinking workshop will start with ideation that requires empathy and understanding to help move journalists to break through using our 5-step design thinking process of 1) empathize 2) define 3) ideate 4) prototype and 5) test.  In this highly experiential session, journalists will get hands-on experience and tools to support them as they build resilience to combat the day-to-day issues and deliver the truth required by the profession.

Presenters: Christine Robers (Duke Corporate Education), Nozipho Mbjanwa (Duke Corporate Education), Sharmla Chetty (Duke Corporate Education), Darryl Wright (Duke Corporate Education) and Karen Roux (Duke Corporate Education)

Sponsored by Duke University Corporate Education (Duke CE),  the premier global provider of leadership solutions in context.  Duke CE has been ranked in the top three providers in the world for custom education by the Financial Times for 17 years and #1 in Africa since 2008. We are a blend of a business and university — but distinct from both. From the business world, we bring an outcomes-driven focus on client service and real-world insight into the challenges leaders face. From our university heritage, we bring academic rigor and research.

The Sustainable Future of Storycraft: It’s Fan-Powered and #$%! Amazing

Sitting around a crackling fire, under starry skies, sharing stories … this used to be our newsroom. A lot has changed for us humans.  In this session we’ll honour the timeless practices of storytelling, and pair them to the superpowers of timely tech to craft inviting, info-rich journalism. With our audiences. Across media. Transmedia journalism isn’t easy, nor cheap – at least on cognitive power. But can be priceless for building a fanbase, and trust.

When we participate in the making of something, we become invested in seeing it win. Inviting and empowering citizens online & IRL to join you in finding the truth, to shape a deeper story, requires daring. Which we can’t provide in this workshop. But handy resources, examples to borrow, ways to start, and fellow intrepid storymakers – THIS is yours for the takeaway. Come join the circle, let’s learn together.

Presenter: Max Kaizen (TreeShake)

Community Journalism Spotlight

Local Truths in Community Radio

Children’s Radio Foundation (CRF) partners with community radio, community-based organisations, schools, health clinics and young people to create opportunities for youth participation, leadership and active citizenship. The session will focus on the model CRF uses, the benefits as experienced by station managers and the mission young reporters have set themselves in taking to the air. We get to understand how this partnership works to reflect “Truth and Trust” as lived experiences in a hyper-local broadcast setting

Nina Callaghan (Children’s Radio Foundation)
Takalane Nemangowe (AlexFM)

Children’s Radio Foundation and Ground Up Made possible through a grant from the U.S. South African Consulate.

Solutions Based Journalism

Presenter: Krivani Pillay (SABC)

Pop UP radio station, Sponsored by the Children’s Radio Foundation and the US Consulate, Johannesburg.