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!

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The Newsroom 5.5

This week we had no print edition of the paper, so we had to up our game online (well at least that was the plan going in).

Photo: Shandukani Mulaudzi
Photo: Shandukani Mulaudzi

I was the lucky one who got to be online editor during this week. I was very excited to do so because online things tickle me. I got to run my first ever news conference which I must say I did quite well, delegating has always been a strong point of mine.

Once that was done, I typed up the diary of the week – which set out who was doing what and when they were doing it for. I wouldn’t say that my deadlines where unrealistic, but I came to learn that they actually meant nothing to a lot of people. Some things came in two hours late and others two days late. I still rate I did what I could to make sure that the most important deadlines where adhered to.

Our guest speaker for the week was Justice Malala, from 24 hour news channel eNCA. I opted to do something a little alternative this week when it came time to hand in our guest speaker report. Right after he spoke to us we learnt about content curation via Storify. So I took it upon myself to incorporate what I had learnt and went the alternative route when writing up my report/article – I am not sure how well that went down with my lecturer though.

I had so much fun with my test run on storify mission that I went ahead and put together another with a colleague later in the week. It is the ultimate stalker tool on the interwebs, I am slowly becoming a wee bit obsessed with it.

We had a public holiday right in the middle of the week, that holiday was Worker’s Day. Vuvu journalist, Dineo Bendile wrote a great article on the day – she covered the staff at Wits who work nights to keep campus safe and clean. It made me realise how hard some people have to work and how little recognition these people get.

Thursday and Friday were business as usual, which saw me running around asking people to submit their articles online. I went to a lecture/talk hosted by Eusebuis McKaiser on the importance of the intimacy required in student-staff relationships, to make them beneficial to the students. I must admit I am a fan of his and tend to agree with a lot of things he has to say, that said he made some great points.

I also had a lot of fun putting together and just watching the daily video vox’s on our site, it is always a treat to get to hear other student’s thoughts and opinions on current issues. Which is another reason I had a blast being the editor this week.

On the weekend I was part of the #vuvuweekend team, we went around various joints in Braam to check out the vibe. We managed to get some amazing shots, no “grin and grabs”. We will be using the photo’s in a photo spread next week – in our very first 12 page paper *excitement*

So all in all I had a great week, busy but quite chilled (hence the .5 numbering in my title) in comparison to what is coming our way this week.

The Newsroom 5.0

This week has been an exceptional one.

I had semi decent pitches on the news diary (nothing to write home about but whatevs) making for a busy week. I was also the photo editor for the week. Meaning I would get to make the decisions on all the pictures in the paper for the week, yays.

On Tuesday I covered One Day Without Shoes on campus. Luckily it wasn’t particularly chilly on the day, so it was easy to leave my shoes behind as I got dressed for the day. I quite enjoyed walking around barefoot. Getting to feel all the different textures I never seem to consider when I have shoes on.

People were very concerned about ‘hygiene’ and asked how on earth I could stand being so dirty. To which I said one wash will take it all away. I really couldn’t be bothered with how dirty my feet got. It was awesome to see so many other Witsies supporting the initiative by donating shoes or just being barefoot on campus.

Production this Wednesday was particularly hectic for me, so much so that I missed an exhibition I really wanted to attend. On the plus side I managed to start working out at the gym again, was starting to feel like a right porker. Thursday morning followed the same vain, some tempers flared during production but I was too busy trying to design a front page to be on that boat.

On Thursday afternoon our photography lecturer, TJ Lemon organised us a very cool guest speaker, James Oatway from The Star. A super talented photo journalist. He showed us some of his shoots as a way of teaching – which was different and very helpful. His photographs are really worth a thousand words as the adage goes. I was left saddened by his photographs taken of what is left of a Khoi/San community and more recently some taken in the Central African Republic. It made me realise once more how powerful photo’s can be. For example his CAR photo’s told me stories I would have never even read in the paper, because sometimes seeing is believing.

Our guest speaker also highlighted the dangers of the profession. Just last week he had an encounter where a gun was waved right in front of his face by a Seleka rebel. He told us anecdotes of people who had lost limbs and lives trying to get the perfect shot. I came into the year with photo journalism as THE thing I really wanted to do. I’m not so sure now. I would like to have babies at some point. Or just be alive you know.

On Friday I spent at great deal of my day covering “R U Silent” on campus. I could not have expected how that event would move me. I am very glad I got the opportunity to be a part of it all. I got a sneak peak into the brave hearts of men and women who wanted with all their might to fight sexual violence in our country. My “debrief” came in the form of a concert later that night. All in all a very fulfilling week was had. More to come next week.

The Newsroom 1.0

This week has been INSANE. Insanely awesome that is.

We only started ‘working’ in the newsroom last week, when we had our first real news conference. News conference is when we all pitch possible news stories we have and plan the diary for that weeks paper.

The first time doing this was extremely nerve wrecking, even the second time I suppose. You’re never sure if what you have will be good enough or even news worthy. This week I pitched four stories and as it turns out they weren’t as rubbish as I imagined.

Yesterday during production all our threads started to come together. We edited pictures and articles, then  peer subbed (over and over again). I had the honour of having two of my pieces sub edited by Anton Harber. Yes, THE Anton Harber. I don’t know if it will ever really sink in that he is my lecturer.

We have worked really hard this week and are going to put out n amazing edition of Vuvuzela. We really went out to make as much noise as we could with this one. Every page will be jam packed with brilliant stories.

Basically – I love what I’m doing. I am exactly where I should be.