The nature of the community within which I will be operating can be narrowed down to social, economic, political and cultural aspects.
The nature of Grahamstown is socially and geographically diverse. It can be split into three demographics, namely the students, the surrounding residents, and the residents that live in the informal settlements. Generally speaking, individuals socialize within each demographic
There is a distinct economic divide between what one can call the wealthy students and the poorer residents of the location. As a result, this economic divide causes severe differences in lifestyle and effectively social norms and values. However, the student population does effectively boost the economy. Rhodes is a particularly good example, due to the amount of staff that are hired here. It is evident from the racial divide, that there are scars of apartheid. According to recent studies (Statistics South Africa, 2005), over 15000 people are unemployed. Most individuals living in the location are poverty stricken and lack basic resources (Mpokela, M., 2010). HIV/AIDS is also a significant problem, but there are attempts to better the situation thanks to centres like the Jabez Health Centre, of which there are 40 volunteers.
The political situation in Grahamstown is thought to be a vague one. Many people aren’t even aware of the people in power here, and it is believed by many that there isn't enough being done. For example, when a hurricane hit Grahamstown a few years ago, the poorer areas were hit the worst, and the damages have still not been repaired, leaving many homeless.
As an audio journalist, I don’t believe that absolute objectivity is possible, or even necessary for successful journalism.
I believe that there is only objectivity to the extent that the facts are true and the sources are reliable. According to Glasser (1992:181), reporting has stripped journalists of their ability to be creative and imaginative. Imagination is a vital aspect of journalism, as it prompts the journalist to come up with new and interesting ideas. In my opinion, the purpose of journalism is to create change and awareness, to mediate between the public and authority, and to deliver it all in an entertaining manner. This is not possible through just raw facts.
Objectivity has “robbed journalists of their passion and their perspective” (Glasser, 1992:181). Grahamstown, as explained above, is diverse in social life and culture, and it is nearly impossible to be objective amongst such complexity. Subjectivity is important as it sparks debate, and it is especially vital for the voices and opinions of the people in Grahamstown to be heard so that their needs can be met.
I agree with Glasser (1992:180), when he says there is a responsibility on the reporter to be accountable for what is being reported. But there is a difference between being accountable, and being objective. The elite protecting their interests through mere facts, is not the way forward.
As said before, I believe that Grahamstown has demographics, and each demographic, particularly the students, restrict themselves to a ‘bubble’ that deprives them of knowing what is going on on a larger scale of Grahamstown. Therefore the stories that I believe should be told are ones that bridge the gaps in society. For instance, a story publishing local entertainment would be a very good way to not only boost the audience and thus the economy, but it is also an opportunity for students to ‘burst their bubble’ and become more in touch with their surrounding community.
I also believe it is of significant importance to report on the politics of Grahamstown. As said before, not enough is being done to rectify desperate situations, and according to recent studies (Statistics South Africa, 2005), over 5000 people of school going age are not being educated. So why is this happening? The people of Grahamstown must be more in touch with these issues so that pressure can be put on the government.
Within this audio portfolio you will find a collection of audio work that I have produced as a 4th year radio student. My first project of the year will be my participatory production in partnership with Upstart. During this, I will focus on a short audio documentary. I will then write the script for a drama play and create an audio book from a children's story. Read, listen, criticize and enjoy my portfolio for 2011.