Monday, March 26, 2007

Informal Journalism Mentoring

(Dateline: Johannesburg. Posting from the World Summit on Media for Children)
Although I am still attending panels on topics of interest and networking with my peers here in Johannesburg, my attention has really shifted to all the young journalists who are here. There are several workshops scheduled for them in digital media – basic internet skills, blogging, even a mini-animation workshop. DK (no name, just DK) the hip, young Brit who runs the hot “media for teens, by teens” site Mediasnackers is here doing workshops in digital journalism. But it quickly became apparent that there wasn’t any provision for print journalism, although there are dozens of kids walking around here with cameras, notebooks and pens. So, I’ve taken it upon myself (and I’m sure I’m not the only one) to be an informal mentor for these aspiring journalists. The enthusiasm of these talented young people is irresistable!

Tasneem Amos, Josslyn Hlenti, Alfreda Rowena Nadar, and Sthabile Dlamini (above) are all from Durban, in South Africa. They told me that being here has really opened their eyes to all the different possibilities available to them in media, and they also auditioned to be on SABC’s daily program “Kids News” (which is broadcasting live from the convention center).

Tasneem: We haven’t heard back from Kids News yet, but I think they were quite amazed at our self confidence. I was, too.

Zodidi Dano and Nosiphino Nabata (below) are part of the group of children and teens who meet every Saturday morning at Bush Radio’s studio in Cape Town to create programs that reflect and represent themselves. The C.R.E.W. (Children’s Radio Education Workshop), which has been existence for eleven years, was born out of the South African bush radio movement, in which community activists and alternative media producers came together to utilize grassroots media to incite social change. These two young women are only part of the team that I met in Johannesburg. Every one of them is poised, well-spoken and well-versed in writing, interviewing, and technical radio production skills. As Nosiphino told me “Our job is to feed the children information that they need, that their parents don’t feel comfortable giving to them.”

The group above is from the Kimberley Youth Support Program, in Northern Cape, South Africa. As you can see by the energy of Mpho Moshweu, Stephen Hams and the others, they have brought a large helping of energy and enthusiasm to the Summit!

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