The South African Menell Media Fellows (a group of about 20 journalists who’ve participated in the programme run at Duke University and funded by the Menell family) held a one-day conference in Cape Town at the UCT Business School to ask the tough question about how journalism in South Africa can face the future with hope and purpose while new legislation threatens freedom of expression and social media is eroding established ways of making (and paying for) news.

MMX12 Program

Over 100 people attended the conference. The discussions and take-away ideas included:

  • The need to save the SABC from corruption and political manipulation, and to reclaim it as a public broadcaster for all South Africa’s citizens
  • The need to bridge the chasm of experience and perception between newsrooms and the everyday lives of average South Africans
  • The need to empower journalists to do their job properly, ask the difficult questions and write nuanced stories with balanced contexts, with no fear nor favour
  • The need to develop journalistic careers which included succession planning for evolving newsrooms, and stop the bleeding of skills as senior journalists quit the profession in droves, taking with them their skills and the investment into their journalistic careers
  • The urgent need to nurture mid-career journalists and to build their skill set, along with newcomers to the industry
  • The need to build solidarity between news management and civic society
  • The need to build solidarity within the media community
  • The need for inspiration – which was provided by the opportunity to exchange and engage with colleagues on issues that are vitally important for my career, my identity and the future of my country.