For me the purpose of journalism is to bring knowledge and most importantly awareness to people. To tell stories which need to be told and to be the voice of those who are not heard. To question and make what is invisible, visible. I do not see journalism as belonging or being managed by those of the elite and those who have power. It is instead, in an ideal world, for and part of everyone.
The nature of the community in which I will be operating as a journalist is compiled of various aspects. Grahamstown is a very old town, the area having been lived on for hundreds of years by the Xhosa people and the town itself being established by the 1820 settlers. Some members of the community have lived in Grahamstown for generations. Thus, it is stepped in history and rich in various cultures belonging to all races. Economically there is a very big gap between those who have a good income and those who have very little. Many of the schools in the town as well as the University play a big role in Grahamstown’s wealth. This creates a sense of a divide between town and township, especially as students tend not to get involved with the whole community. Thus Grahamstown is socially divided. There are also scares left behind from apartheid, such as segregation, inequalities and politics. Water is also scarce and the climate is mostly very dry and hot, which is not ideal for farming and sustaining life.
My position on objectivity as a radio journalist operating in Grahamstown is that of striving for objectivity and avoiding being subjective. I don’t believe that objectivity is something that can always be achieved, but I do think that it is worth striving for as a base line for all journalists. I believe that opinion also has its place in journalism as long as the journalist states that it is their opinion. One also needs to know and confirm facts before they are broadcast, as well as presenting the facts in an objective manner. As the community is very diverse one needs to have a clear understanding of what one is reporting. I need to know who I’m broadcasting to and the source from which I am compiling the report, so as both audience and source are clear on what is being reported.
I believe stories such as the water situation, living conditions, economy (public finances), the town’s politics, community outreach, the differences between the haves and the have not’s, local artists and events happening in Grahamstown need to be reported, as these affect all who live in the area. I would treat these stories by striving to be objective and to bring awareness to the public, making sure the story is conveyed clearly to the audience so as they understand the situation of the story. I believe it is important to convey stories like these because the audience has a right to know what is happening and it is important for them to know, because it is up to the community to make a difference in Grahamstown. These stories will also help bridge the gap of the social divide and aim to create an understanding between all the citizens in the area.