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Monthly Archives: October 2015

KEEP CALM AND LOVE DATA

Helloweeni Peeps!

The intriguing yet intricate field that journalism is, is unbelievably broad and should be practiced with an open mind.  Broad in the sense that it incorporates different passions.  Whatever’s your forte, journalism can cover it.  One should develop an open mind because we live in an ever evolving world where the rules simply state that we should adapt or perish.  So one need not change what they believe is a way of doing things, but should also absorb the changes of their surroundings.  Like Data Journalism for instance; it need not take over, but we should make full use of and derive benefit from it as a resource.

Uhm…  Let’s talk about Data Journalism for a sec.  As we now find ourselves living in the digital age, journalists should be building a relationship and interaction between journalism, statistics and computer science, so as to produce competent stories by making use of large databases.  South African journalists would benefit greatly if they would embrace this concept.

Computer Assisted Reporting

Computer-Assisted Reporting

The use of computers should be mandatory and equally common part of news gathering, as it is important to use computing power to gather, analyze and present stories.  Computer Assisted Reporting gives journalists the opportunity to dig for truth in data, and the comparative analysis that a computer can do often reveals pertinent questions.  What reporters are able to learn from using Computer Assisted Reporting provides readers with knowledge and insights that can cut through the collection of opinionated noise and celebrity obsession.  It also can allow even relatively small news operations to delve into problems affecting the global community, yet speak to readers and viewers.  As the number of documents that we have grows, it becomes impossible to read each one individually. Computers are vastly superior to humans when it comes to doing things quickly.  This becomes even more apparent when you look at thousands of numbers.

A lot of work has gone into creating tools that make working with data much more accessible.  But there still is that question that lingers: seeing as blogging and Social Media is taking over the role of journalism, has the quality reporting and professional journalism been put at jeopardy?  Because the people demand quality reporting, background, news analysis and investigations, and this demand is very much rising.  One of the possible ways we can bring some life or soul back into the field of journalism, is Data Journalism. Data journalism works best when there is cooperation between print and online media, and demands some convergence between hard copy and online platforms.

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Social Media Journalism

The reporting of news in South Africa would be greatly improved should data journalism be used on a regular basis.  People who should account will be held accountable as data and statistics will be doing all the talking.  Now what generation of journalists would not want that?  And as they say, numbers do not lie…

‘Till Next Time Peeps, BHA-BHAYINI!

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Posted by on October 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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LET’S LEGALIZE PROSTITUTION!

Helloweeni Peeps!

Relax ladies and gentlemen!  Before you all viciously attack me, hear a brother out…  I know I can be a pervert at times (well, most of the time… okay, all the time. But that’s not the damn point, okay?).  What I’m trying to say is, I’m not rallying for the legalization of prostitution for reasons of me freely going to Voortrekker Road to fork out cash for nooky.  I’m just saying that there are greater crimes the police can focus on than arresting adults engaging in (consensual) sexual activity (for payment).  South Africa has greater problems to resolve, like the ever-escalating unemployment rate, the substandard quality of education most black kids receive, and our ailing public health system (wait, did all this smart shit just come out of my brain? Damn! 🙂 )

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figure 1: “Working Girls” in search of that paper

Okay, back to the subject at hand.  It is important to distinguish different kinds of markets in sexual services in order to determine the appropriate response.  For example, markets in sexual services that involve children, fraud & deception, and non-consensual & exploitative sexual practices, are immoral and should be restricted.  Terms often used are “human trafficking,” “sex trafficking,” or “sexual slavery” to describe such practices, and the service providers in these practices have the status of a victim or slave.

But there are markets in sexual services (brothels or escort agencies) that do not appear to involve forced sex, and in which the workers seem reasonably well compensated.  Debates over prostitution often focus on the issue of whether is it possible for prostitutes to voluntary do this sort of occupation, or whether brothels are oppressive, harmful and forcing the individuals who participate.

Prostitutes are highly stigmatized for the work they do, and those who condemn this work believe that it is shameful and immoral, and has no place in a just world. Others believe it is a necessary evil, in that if men (mainly) could not satisfy their sexual urges through some form of sexual service, these urges would lead to unruly methods like rape.  Many “sex workers” (I think I should use this word from now on, “prostitute” seems too vulgar) report that their clients have various reasons, but mainly to find relief from loneliness or to have uncomplicated sex. These sex workers believe that they are providing a valuable and morally legitimate service to their clients and, by earning a living doing valuable work, they are making a contribution to their societies.  Before you ask how I know all this, I actually have met a sex worker before (& no, I wasn’t a client… or a pimp for that matter).  In short, women (and men) who offer their labour in various types of sex trades believe that the stigma that is attached to them and their work is unfair and undeserved.

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figure 2: The Legalizing of Prostitution Shouldn’t Be Confused As The Authorizing of Human Trafficking!

The appropriate response to human trafficking and slavery is abolition or termination.  This approach criminalizes only the activities of the client and others who profit from sex trafficking, but not the provider of sexual services.  Providers are treated as victims whom others exploit by tempting them (mostly by threats or blackmail) into sex trades.  For brothels or escort agencies not involving forced sex, there are two standard approaches we should use: legalization and decriminalisation.  The legalization approach tolerates sex markets and businesses, but restricts them in ways that are specific to this industry.  Regulations may include compulsory STD testing or condom use, special licensing for businesses, government registration of sex workers (I know I’m kind of pushing it lol), and minimum age restrictions for providers and customers.  The decriminalization approach removes criminal restrictions and treats sex businesses the same way as non-sex businesses.

Some sex workers are not forced by conditions to do what they do, some actually live lavishly and love and enjoy what they do, whether you think of it as morally right or not.  South Africa is a liberal nation, is it not?  So let them ladies free the nooky if they want to.  Let’s legalize prostitution!

‘Till Next Time Peeps, BHA-BHAYINI!

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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OPEN JOURNALISM: A Journo’s Nightmare

Helloweeni Peeps!

Like-Comment-ShareTwo of the main components of journalism is to inform and strike a debate among your audience.  But sometimes qualified journalists can be too out of touch with the people as they may sometimes be a little bit, and I say this with respect to news followers, too intelligent or do things too much by the book with using journo terminology.  And this, most of the time becomes borderline robojournalism.  As there seems to be no human effect or human touch in a story.  But one thing the audience or the public really enjoys is the concept of open journalism, where they can throw in their two cents’ worth on a matter.

Open journalism is the openness, acceptance of whatever ideas or input the public has on a published issue, story or opinion piece. (click here for full story) What is really working and perpetuating open journalism is the emergence and ever-rising popularity of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.  News is now readily available from major media houses as it happens on social networks, and this is where the public can really put in their opinions, notions, perceptions and sometimes concerns about the reported matter.  Should they choose, they can even share it and with a caption that is biased to their point of view and sometimes it is of a misleading nature.  The invitation and grant for a response inspires participation and creates synchronic interest from people around subjects, issues or individuals.  This form of journalism can very easily be conjugated with other material on the internet.

FEELING THE FINANCIAL CRUNCH

Recently this year, a very well respected national news agency, The South African Press Association (SAPA), experience an unfortunate period of financial troubles and were, on the 31st of March this year, liquidated.  Now this was some kind of wake up call to most media houses to do some cutting back on costs. (click here for full story).  Now cutting back included the retrenchment of some journalists (well respected journalists at that).  So this was a sort of an evolution of journalism, as now pieces and stories that are written are those that require debate.   This is to get the public audience involved.

news24_southafrica

But this is not very much enticing to journalists as they feel people with no journalistic quality, integrity or qualification can influence people to believe and allure them into helping them promote or push their particular propaganda. And sometimes the negativity can be brutal.  Now imagine working so hard to inform someone, only to end up with your character and well supported findings being brutally bullied and butchered in the public eye by someone with opinions making sense only to them.  And the fact that some of the the most important, interesting and relevant stories are remembered by their comments line/column.  News24 recently, after much debate and deliberation (so they say), bid their comments line adieu, voicing that they wish to be known for the quality of their content rather than for their comments (click here for full story).

I say this is absolutely a journalist’s nightmare because open journalism can be unfair.  Journalists are not politicians, there should be no platform to invite unnecessary bashing of their craft.  Should they not promote propaganda for war or promote hate speech and incite violence, they shouldn’t answer to the public.  Their job is to create debate, so the audience can have their debate in their own spaces.

‘Till Next Time Peeps, BHABHAYINI!

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2015 in Uncategorized