The Newsroom 6.0

Well somehow between exhaustion and a coma induced by sheer laziness I didn’t post a “newsroom update”  from last week – a thousand apologies to the five of you that do read this blog.

Last week was meant to be one of our most hectic weeks in the newsroom as we were publishing a twelve page edition. Yet somehow, it turned out to be one of our calmer weeks– especially on production day. Things went swimmingly, we even – wait for it – sent the paper in to the printers on time (give or take 10 minutes). Something which apparently hasn’t been done in the Vuvu newsroom for about two years.  Yay us!

I have trouble remembering anything that happened over the ppast seven days, so I can’t remember much else from that week besides the fact that we did joPs (no, that is not a typo, just a #balcktwitter reference).

Okay on to events I can remember – this past week we had news conference as usual, a very rushed one was had but we all had something to bring to the proverbial table.  We then had guest speaker Gilbert Marcus in to teach us a thing or two about the courts. He taught us the basic ins and outs of courts in SA.

After which we all had to scurry off to get our stories started. I went in the opposite direction and helped out with a video vox –  just find them so fun. The question we posed was about female condoms, we got amazing responses from Witsies.

Later that evening I had an interview on Life Beats, a show on VoW FM. The topic up for discussion was social media – how I use it in my personal and professional life mainly. Luckily I was joined by my friend and colleague Shandukani Mulaudzi and we had a ball just speaking our minds. The host said we had been the most entertaining guests they had had on air in a while.  I really enjoyed being on radio, it may be something I want to pursue now.

On Tuesday morning we went through to watch proceedings at Constitutional Court. It was great being there while something was actually happening, as opposed to just taking pictures outside as I had done before. We went in preparation for court week – which starts tomorrow. We just wanted something we could compare the High Court and Magistrates Court to. Those attorneys and advocates know their stuff, it was interesting listening to them make their arguments.

The week from there on was pretty much down hill, I felt super busy every day but I wasn’t really doing anything. Both of my stories fell off the diary because of late responses from sources but it’s chilled guess it gives us (me) more time to get a better story together.

The only piece of myself I managed to get in the paper was a deep caption of Mfundi Vundla. Come production day it was back to the same 8 pager chaos that we are accustomed to. I was production manager again and this week was surprisingly more challenging than last week.

But as always we made it somehow and luckily we got the rest of that day off, which gave me a chance to catch up on much needed sleep. As a mentioned earlier Court Week starts next week, 8am to 6pm days – I can’t wait!

To tweet or not to tweet…

…that is the question.


Okay I lie, there is no question – I just like drama. I have to tweet, scrap that – I need to tweet. I just need to do it differently to how I have been.

We had a class on the how to tweet, when to tweet and what to tweet by our social media lecturer Dinesh Balliah. She presented the lesson to us with an impressive PowerPoint presentation. It made me realise how important twitter is as a social media tool.

Not to say I never thought about it like that, but I never considered how it can empower tweeps, journalists in particular. The gist of the presentation looked at the fact that social media is no longer just about chatting to your mates and discussing the mundane. Social media is now used as a platform to disseminate vital information – sharing video’s, link’s and photo’s that focus on hard news and issues, as and when they happen. Beyond that getting to engage meaningfully with a diverse range of people. As opposed to the ins and outs of little Hannah’s fifth birthday party or the very particular description of that morning’s breakfast.

Social media, if used wisely can essentially “make” you as a journalist. Even though twitter in particular has the power of launching people into (sometimes) illusory prominence. It’s not to say that journalists don’t have legit followers, who largely follow them based on the content of their tweets rather than pure popularity.

By the end of the lesson I was questioning how I have been using twitter for the past two years. That night I had a look through my archive and I realised that my 30k tweets are mostly annoying. There is a lot of whining and whingeing – some of which is funny but a lot of it isn’t.  I imagine it an irksome experience going through my TL. Especially when I was in a particularly good/bad mood – I felt it my duty to inform the world, ALL THE TIME (see what I mean). However, most of them are informative and go beyond the purely personal.

I guess this whole post has been a roundabout way of saying I need to change my tweeting habits. If not for my not-so-distant career, for the sanity of my followers. I won’t go as far as creating a personal account and a seperate professional one.I already manage four blogs, two facebook pages and three email accounts amongst other things. I could not possibly add a new twitter profile to the lot. Along with this I am deeply devoted to my twitter as is, it just screams Pheladi through and through.

I will attempt to tastefully and strategically mix the personal and the professional. It might be a challenge but I’m sure I’ll manage.