The Newsroom 2.4

The time I used to dread and now look forward to has finally come. This is my last week interning at the Wits Vuvuzela. It is time for us to hand over our baby to the new students and hope they raise her right.

As that happens I’m heading out into the big bad world full of daily deadlines, long nights and probably on my way to becoming a social recluse. As of next week I’ll start working in a “real” newsroom (as opposed to the simulated one I’ve been working in). For the longest time that has been something that’s quite scary to me but now after these two months back at Wits, I’m very ready and in fact keen to leave my comfort zone and take on this new challenge.

It was interesting to get to see the new students, knowing that a year ago I was in their shoes. I got to watch them in a retrospective manner, seeing who I used to be before I was moulded into shape by this course. At this point there’s nothing more we can do to prepare for what’s about to come. I can only hope that those I have had a hand in mentoring take those lessons and use them effectively.

Here’s a short but not so short audio recording of my last goodbye:

The Newsroom 2.2

The past week in the newsroom has been so hectic that I didn’t manage to get around to this post until now. We had a lot on our plates, resulting in the production of a great edition of the Wits Vuvuzela.

Did some very interesting stuff, some ruffling a few feathers even:

We were also busy over the weekend with a workshop with some students working with One World Media. They are in the country trying to produce feature pieces on various topics. We helped where we could by answering questions they had about how and where to start with their stories. They were a lovely bunch, with interesting projects – I look forward to seeing their work in a few months.

The Newsroom 2.1

The past week was a hectic one, but a very fun one in the Newsroom. I was steering the ship, so that always comes with it’s own personal pressures.

Luckily this week we were “fully” staffed with all six interns on board. This made for a paper filled with much more copy than the week before, copy that was interesting and fun to read.

I did some fun things last week, the videos being somewhat of highlight. Here’s the list of things I managed to do:

  • #Teamvuvu #NekNominated. We got a Nek Nomination from Wapad, another student newspaper. Instead of downing a drink as most people do with this new social media game, we decided to do a philanthropic nomination with a journalisty twist. Watch here.
  • STORIFY: “Real jobs” march turns into real fight. On Tuesday the DA decided to march on Luthuli House and that did not sit well with the ANC. Watched the whole mess unfold on twitter and curated this story.
  • Artists collabo for LGBTI awareness. Went to an exhibition at the Wits Arts Museum and wrote a short review. Exceptional work by visual artists Zanele Muholi and Gabrielle Le Roux are on display.
  • How to back your boytjies. Wrote another one of my sports columns, in an effort to teach myself and others a thing or two about rugby.
  • EDITORIAL: Twisted love affair. Scribbled some thoughts on the upcoming elections and called it an editorial.
  • WITH VIDEO: Cape to Rio Witsies talk sailing. Had a very cool interview with two crew members who just finished the Cape to Rio race 2014. Their achievement is truly amazing.

We also handed over one of the first paper realated duties to the “new kids” by letting deliver the paper on Friday. In a few short weeks we will be leaving everything in their capable hands.

#teamvuvu: Thuletho Zwane

The Pig's mayor in the house.
The Pig’s mayor in the house.

Thule [with an “e”, not to be confused with Thuli with an “i”] was one of the older women in the class, reppin’ the senior citizen’s wing [other members being Funi and Emelia]. She was the mayor of the Pig and [unsurprisingly] did this interview while at her fave watering hole.

Me: How would you describe your outfit today?

Thule: I’m wearing white wedges, a white dress and shades. I’m dressed for this hot, summer weather.

Me: How would you describe your style in general?

Thule: Laid back, relaxed and no fuss. When I have to fuss, red lips do the trick.

Me: Now that we’ve broken the ice, are you sure about this journalism thing?

Thule: Very [Probably even more so, now that she’s an award winning journalist ;)]

Me: That said, if you weren’t doing what you doing this, what would you be doing?

Thule: By this do you mean answering these questions or studying Journalism? If I wasn’t answering these questions right now, I would be drinking my wine without any interruptions. But if ‘by this’ you mean studying Journalism, I would be an economist.

Me: How have you found your honours year?

Thule: Fun. I’ve explored ideas and places I would have never explored like Kitcheners Comedy Nights on Tuesdays, Melville, Orlando East and West. [This answer :”D]

Me: What’s been the most challenging thing and the most rewarding thing for you this year?

Thule: Waking up on Fridays, being scolded by the VC,  reporting on Wits issues and the media – these were the most challenging things this year.

 

The most rewarding things were waking up on Fridays to attend Anton Harber’s classes and being scolded by the VC for reporting on Wits issues and the media [hahahahaha, oh the irony].

Me: Where will you be next year and what will you be doing?

Thule: I’ll be at City Press next year, doing journalism kinds of stuff like being a journalist and doing what journalists do. Hopefully wearing shoes is part of that [I fear the wine drinking may have begun shortly after question 3]

Me: How would you describe #teamvuvu in three words?

Thule: Loud, loud and great.

Me: A word of advice for the incoming team for 2014?

Thule: Be loud, loud and great.

 

Quickfire Q & A

 

[Unfortunately I’m experiencing some technical difficulties, my sound refuses to convert and some of it is MIA. So we’ll give multimedia a skip this time around.]

 

Me: Who is your favourite author/writer?

Thule: James Ngugi [aka Ngugi wa Thiong’o]

Me: Who is your favourite musician/band?

Thule: Esperanza Spalding [winning]

Me: Your favourite place to eat and thing to eat at that place?

Thule: Since starting this course, the Pig. I love their chicken schnitzel and salad for R26 [bargain].

Me: What do you like to do when no one is watching?

Thule: I think…

#teamvuvu: Leigh-Ann Carey

Leigh-Ann (aka LA, yes as in Reid) is another migrant from the Ridge, who later got her life together and moved to Diepsloot, dankie ANC.

Me: How would you describe your outfit today?

LA:  Today I’m wearing shorts, a crop top and flops. I think I look pretty cool. I’m also rocking my afro and chunky earrings. 

Holiday's treating home girl best. Photo: Provided
Holiday’s treating home girl best. Photo: Provided

 

Me: How would you describe your style in general?

LA: I wear comfortable clothing, um a mixture of vintage and retro. Anything that’s cheap and looks good on me, that’s on the vintage side is what I’d describe as my style.

Me: On to the less frivolous, are you sure about this journalism thing?

LA: I know for a fact that I don’t wanna do politics and print journalism, I’m more of a radio person. Radio is a passion, it comes easy to me and I feel at home when doing it. I mean, I’m pretty sure that I can write but I just don’t want to be writing for like City Press, unless I’m doing writing that isn’t political or hard news.

Me: If you weren’t doing what you doing this, what would you be doing?

LA: I would be doing my honours in advertising at UJ. I got accepted for that, so I would have been doing that.

Me: How have you found your honours year?

LA: It’s been extremely hectic, a whole lot of reading, writing for Vuvu, trying to read in between – um – trying to socialise as well. So many things have suffered because of the hectic schedule.

Me: What’s been the most challenging thing and the most rewarding thing for you this year?

LA: Finding my style of writing has been challenging. I think with journ everywhere you go people or organisations have an idea as to how you should write, I guess that’s one of things that make me think I don’t ever want to be a writer. Not that I wouldn’t ever wanna be a writer, but I feel like you constantly change your style to adapt to a publications style. Like this year I had to write according to Vuvu style and if I went to another publication next year, I would have to write in their style, so it’s like I don’t even know what my style is because I’m forced to adapt to so many writing styles.

 

I’ve learnt so many things this year. I’ve learnt how to make sense of a story, what to include, what to write. I think my writing skills have definitely improved, without a doubt. That’s been the most rewarding thing. I think the assurance that this is either what I want to do or not, made me learn a lot about myself as well.

Me: Where will you be next year and what will you be doing?

LA: I’ll be working at CNBC Africa, I don’t know what I’m gonna be doing. They asked me what I wanted to do and I said anything apart from writing, so I could do events, PR, maybe try my hand at graphics, ya.

Me: How would you describe #teamvuvu class of 2013?

LA: We had a lot of big personalities, just a different bunch of people. Some people had some sort of “deeper passion” for journ, whereas some people were just trying to learn how to become journalists, whereas other people were actually serious I guess.

Me: A word of advice for the incoming team for 2014?

LA: Don’t lose yourself.  I think people assume you’re a better writer if you’re spying and reporting on the fact that Jacob Zuma has a side chick [hahaha], that’s not who you are. If that’s not what you want to write about don’t force yourself to write about it and don’t feel stupid for wanting to write entertainment stories or stories about make-up. Ya, don’t lose yourself for a career, it should come naturally. We are all different kinds of writers. 

#teamvuvu: Shandukani Mulaudzi

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Shandu in the stu. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

Shandukani Mulaudzi is our class rep, our problem child and also my boo thang. Have a read to hear what’s popping with my neighbour.

Me: How would you describe your outfit today?

Shandu: Humpf, it’s bright, casual and comfy?

Me: How would you describe your style in general?

Shandu: People like to say it’s alternative, boho chic or whatever but I don’t like those words. I don’t have a word to describe my style, I just dress for myself and for the mood I’m in. My style icon is Solange Knowles.

Me: Now that we’ve broken the ice, are you sure about this journalism thing?

Shandu: Defo’s. I’ve waited to do journ since I was in grade 10 (2005) but I had to take a bit of a detour for a while. I really can’t see myself anywhere else.

Me: That said, if you weren’t doing what you doing this, what would you be doing?

Shandu: Vokken hell, um singing on a stage  or acting. Whatever it would be it would be something creative.

Me: How have you found your honours year?

Shandu: Everything I expected and much more. I’ve learnt a lot, but I didn’t expect to make friends and not just any friends the kind of friends that will be at my wedding one day.

Me: What’s been the most challenging thing and the most rewarding thing for you this year?

Shandu: The most challenging thing has been having to call out my mentors when they were wrong. Cause they are wrong sometimes and in those times you have to stand your ground.

The most rewarding thing has been being able to work alone and in groups without it being forced on us. Through working in groups I have learnt to trust people and to embrace mine and others strengths and weaknesses.

Me: Where will you be next year and what will you be doing?

Shandu: I’m going to be a young intern at You magazine in Sandton.

Me: How would you describe #teamvuvu in three words?

Shandu: *laughs for a while* Ambitious, musical and extroverted.

Me: A word of advice for the incoming team for 2014?

Shandu: Don’t compare yourselves to teamvuvu 2013, you’ll come short. They should just know that what they put into the year is what they will get out. Also they should try to apply themselves in everything that is put before them. And bloody hell go to the Pig. Learn to balance work and play now. 

#teamvuvu: Ray Mahlaka

Always ready with a pose. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
Always ready with a pose. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

While there was relative calm in the newsroom yesterday , I stole Ray for a few minutes to have a wee chat.

*Disclaimer: “Ray” is not his government name…

Me: How would you describe your outfit/style for the day? 

Ray: I usually go for a professional/workplace look but today I had to get dressed really fast, so I have a relaxed and casual look. 

Me: How would you describe your style in general?

Ray: I dress in a way that’s adaptable to many social situations, as a rule I always try to go for a professional look. 

Me: On to the more serious, are you sure about this journalism thing?

Ray: Yes, I’m in it for the long haul. Journalism teaches you about this country and it’s nuances. I’ll only leave the industry in 20 years or so to settle down.

Me: If you weren’t doing what you doing this, what would you be doing?

Ray: I’d be a certified gold digger *laughs* No, I would be probably be an economist, I really like finance and business so ya. 

Me: How have you found your honours year?

Ray: It has been an intense year but it’s also been very pleasurable. I’ve learnt valuable and priceless skills this year and now I can honestly say we’re competitive journalists. This course has enabled us to call ourselves journalists and I’m sure that that there’s a place for me in the industry now. 

Me: What’s been the most challenging thing and the most rewarding thing for you this year?

Ray: Challenging: Time management, balancing my personal and work life has been tough. My work dominated my schedule to the point that it consumed my life. 

Rewarding: Seeing our work making a difference. With our sexual harassment stories we helped how people view this institution and it’s structures, the VC award we got is proof of that. 

Me: Where will you be next year and what will you be doing?

Ray: I can’t say specifically where, I’m still considering my offers but I it will definitely be in this industry, financial journalism to be specific. 

Me: How would you describe #teamvuvu in three words?

Ray: Fucking awesome (that’s two but whatever), diligent and family. 

Me: A word of advice for the incoming team for 2014?

Ray: Hmmm, they shouldn’t have any expectations coming in and they should always try to work with what they have. In this course what you put in is what you’ll get out. And lastly they should just have fun. 

#teamvuvu: Dineo Bendile

This lovely lady is one of my classmates from the  Bushbuckridge section of the class, who let me crawl under her Diana Ross hairstyle for a few minutes to do a quick interview with her.

Dineo in her Beyonce inspired outfit today. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
Dineo in her Beyonce inspired outfit today. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

Me: How would you describe your outfit/style for the day?

Dineo: I saw a picture of Beyonce last night wearing shorts and a loose fitting jersey and it inspired me. So basically Beyonce on a Budget.

Me: How would you describe your style in general?

Dineo: My style is very versatile. Right now I’m entering a new chapter of my life, so my style is more more laid back right now but trust me I am glam all the way otherwise. 

Me: On to the more serious, are you sure about this journalism thing?

Dineo: I’m sure that I wanna work in the media. I don’t want to be a reporter on the field forever but I do want to work as a journalist for a year or so to start off with. 

Me: If you weren’t doing what you doing this, what would you be doing?

Dineo: Leeching off some rich man. Seriously though, I studied drama so I’d probably be doing something in the arts. Or actually what people don’t know about me is that I love accounting, so maybe I’d be doing that. 

Me: How have you found your honours year?

Dineo: It’s been spectacular. With my last degree there were days when I hated what I was doing. This year I have never dreaded coming to school. This confirmed that I didn’t make a mistake choosing this course. I’ve also met amazing people, even when I’m having an offish day I know seeing them will change that. 

Me: What’s been the most challenging thing and the most rewarding thing for you this year?

Dineo: The most challenging thing has been listening to lecturers advice. We work in a very creative environment, as such I thought we would be allowed to do whatever we want. So ya consulting people has been difficult for me because I like to do my own thing. 

The most rewarding thing has been seeing the work we do impact people’s lives and being recognised by outsiders. Earlier this year two guys stopped me in their cars, I thought they were trying to be fresh and were trying to make but they just said: “We like you in the Vuvuzela.”

Me: Where will you be next year and what will you be doing?

Dineo: I have no idea, all I know is that I’m ready. I want to be anywhere that will allow me to use what I’ve learnt this year. 

Me: How would you describe #teamvuvu in three words?

Dineo:  All I’ll say is more personalities, more problems and more fireworks. 

Me: A word of advice for the incoming team for 2014?

Dineo: They should really cherish every moment of it, especially the moments of interaction with people. They should also be prepared to set aside their ‘set lives’ to explore and try different things. 

In-depth wrap up [4/4]

It’s OVER! We’re done.  It’s over.

I have been looking forward to writing this final in-depth blog post for the longest time.

It has by no means been an easy journey to this semi-blank text box. This week was the most trying week of the whole year.

On Monday we were given one last opportunity to fix and fine tune our features. Most of us staying put in our seats from 7a.m to 7p.m. Coffee and durry breaks being our only escape that day.

Then Tuesday came along. All features were done so there was a little less pressure on us (or so we thought). Multimedia production began that day. We had to start putting together video’s, maps, and, and, and.

By 3p.m that day I realised that I would not be done in time. So a few of us decided to pull an all nighter.  I went out and bought a toothbrush and Shandu lent me a blankie and a pillow. 

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The stash.

The excitement of the “sleepover” started to wane at about 11p.m when I realised how real putting together an audio package was. I had never put sound together but I decided to teach myself that night. Pride isn’t the word I would use to describe the end product but ya. I did what I could.

To go with that I put together an infographic and a ThingLink, both of which I had a little experience with. When I was finally done with that a day later, I thought I had reached the finish line but was told there was one last lap to run.

Putting up all our elements on our new website for the project. The new back end looked a lot like our Wits Vuvuzela website but it was nothing like it at all. It took us a whole day to get our things up on the site. But the storm is over. We made it (somehow).

Now to cross fingers and hope people like what we’ve come up with.

Best reads

Week two of in-depth hustling has come to a close, so let’s see what some of my comrades have been up to: