Tag Archives: Independent Newspapers

Truancy lucky break for journalist and restaurateur Tony Jackman, launches ‘Foodstuff’ cookbook!

I was invited to attend the launch of journalist and restaurateur Tony Jackman’s new book ‘FoodStuff: Reflections and recipes from a celebrated foodie‘ at the Thursday Club lunch at Buitenverwachting Restaurant on Thursday. I was grateful to  Club coordinator Sandy Bailey for the invitation, and for seating me next to Tony, allowing me to ask him some extra questions for this story. Continue reading →

Print versus internet news: what is the future of reporting?

Franschhoek Literary Festival 'It's News to Me' panel Whale Cottage PortfolioAt the Franschhoek Literary Festival I attended a one-hour panel discussion on ‘It’s news to me’, with heavy-weight panelists weighted to print media, a well-attended session.   Ironically the complete communication failure in Franschhoek yesterday meant that no one could Tweet or share via any other form of Social Media what the eminent panel had to say about press freedom.

Ray Hartley was the panel chairman, and works in the Times Media Group, having previously been the editor of the Sunday Times.  He resigned from the position, took a sabbatical, and now has a senior position in the Group.  Much of the panel discussion focused on press freedom, ethics, and the depth of research of journalist’s stories, which were felt to be getting thinner on accuracy and content, much of the material of newspapers coming from Twitter and Reuters feeds. Hartley impressed with his humility and good chairing of the panel. He raised a laugh when he welcomed all the attendees who clearly didn’t get into the sold-out session addressed by Archbishop Tutu.   The topic clearly was of interest, with the Franschhoek High School hall being full.

Janet Heard is a journalist wunderkind, her father Tony having been a well-known and highly regarded editor of the Cape Times.  In 2010 she went to Harvard on a prestigious Nieman Journalism fellowship, and said she returned from the USA surprised about how much transformation had taken place in the newsroom at Independent Newspapers in the time that she was away.  She resigned as deputy editor of the Cape Times earlier this year, and has been appointed as parliamentary editor of all the Media 24 titles.  Heard praised South Africa’s media as being robust with good media voices asking Continue reading →

Blues Sweet and Independent Newspapers Sour Service Awards!

The Sweet Service Award goes to Blues restaurant in Camps Bay, for its invitation to attend its inaugural Supper Club last week. Since the restaurant is back in family hands, they wish to get the personal touch back, said its Marketing Manager Christine Hommel. Once a month they will host a Supper Club dinner, by invitation only, with a special wine list.  Themes for the dinners will vary. Four half-size tasting portions were served, to give guests a taste of the menu, including Mushroom Risotto, Kingklip, Mediterranean Chicken Roulade, and Sticky Toffee pudding. Chef Lorenzo requested feedback for each dish from each guest, guiding him in his menu development.  They will also run a recipe competition, and the best recipe will become a dish added to the summer menu.

The Sour Service Award goes to Independent Newspapers and its Subscription department.  We have subscribed to the Cape Times and Cape Argus for years, in Camps Bay, Franschhoek, and in Fresnaye. While there is nothing nicer than having the paper arrive on one’s doorstep, there is nothing worse than not receiving it.  The company is extremely poor at responding to delivery complaints, delivers undelivered papers up to a week later when notified, and when it does respond, always has an excuse why the paper was not delivered.  Only one apology has ever been received for the delivery problems experienced in the past ten years.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

Independent Newspapers Sweet Service and Illyria Sour Service Awards

The Sweet Service Award goes to Independent Newspapers, for its educational supplement ‘Your Cape Holiday Guide’, which was inserted into the Cape Times, Cape Argus and Weekend Argus over the December holidays. The 34-page supplement contained good editorial with suggestions for tourists and locals to discover the Cape, including Cape Town (Robben Island, Atlantic Seaboard, Table Mountain, New Year entertainment,  Cape Point, Kirstenbosch, Chapman’s Peak, Simonstown, Hout Bay), Hermanus, the Winelands, Tulbagh, the Klein Karoo, the Swartland, and the Elgin valley.

The Sour Service Award goes to Illyria in the Eikestad Mall, previously a favourite Stellenbosch coffee shop for its stylish decor and good Illy coffee.  I popped in quickly recently, asking for a cappuccino to be made, as I was heading for a concert, saying that I was dashing into Woolworths next door while it was being made.  No coffee had been made when I returned, the waitress Simone saying that I had not paid for the coffee upfront, and that she would have had to pay for the coffee if I had not returned!  She did not ask for payment when I placed the order.  She was very defensive, became rude, and refused to give her name and the contact details for the owners.  Her manager rushed in out of breath, having been called by the waitress, shouting abuse at me for my ‘website’ and what I have written about them (all has been positive so far), and refused to give me her name and the number of the owners. I left to attend the concert at the Conservatorium and put my phone on silent.  A barrage of 11 calls came from one cell number in one hour, which I could not take during the concert, and I was concerned that something terrible had happened.  I called the number immediately after the concert had finished, and listened to two messages that had been left by Ramon, the owner of Manouche restaurant and the co-owner with his sister of Illyria.  Both messages were abusive and threatening.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website

Hermanus Whale Festival/Kfm/Two Oceans Sweet & Eskom/City of Cape Town Sour Service Awards!

The Sweet Service Award goes to the organisers of the Two Oceans Hermanus Whale Festival, Kfm, the sponsors Distell marketing Two Oceans Wines, and the staff of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau, for the most successful Hermanus Whale Festival hosted in twenty years. The sponsorship by Distell created massive exposure on Kfm, the radio station reaching the Cape Town and environs catchment area, which is the most important source area for Hermanus. Kfm brought all its presenters to Hermanus, and broadcast from the town for two days.  In the week running up to the Festival, regular announcements were made, and whale sounds were played, likely to generate benefits beyond the Festival days, as the presenters raved about seeing the whales breaching, and regularly mentioning the Whalecrier blowing his kelp horn whenever he spotted a whale. The events organised for the Festival were fresh and different, and a greater focus was placed on pairing foods and wines.  The Hermanus Tourism Bureau staff were run off their feet as last minute visitors booked accommodation on Friday and Saturday, ensuring that almost every guest house and hotel was fully booked on both nights, a bonus given that there wasn’t a long weekend to link to the Festival, as is the case usually.

The Sour Service Award goes to Eskom, and the City of Cape Town, for a city-wide power failure 10 days ago, due to a fire in the Acacia sub-station.  Social Media was not used to communicate with Capetonians, even though the City of Cape Town has a Twitter account.   The power failure was close to lunchtime, and was a costly loss to a lot of hospitality businesses.  Information from Eskom about the duration was vague on radio, and Independent Newspapers estimated a 6-hour outage.   In the end it lasted about 90 minutes in most areas.  Grant Pascoe, City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee member for Events, Tourism, and Marketing, smugly Tweeted as follows from a Council meeting: “Power restored, council meeting proceeds undeterred during outage in CPT”, without expressing any care or concern about the citizens of Cape Town, and what the effect may have been on them and their businesses!

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

Franschhoek Literary Festival books top writers!

The fifth Franschhoek Literary Festival takes place from 13 – 15 May, and top writers have been invited to address book lovers.   The Festival has established itself as a must-attend event, and the Franschhoek accommodation establishments and restaurants tend to be fully booked over this weekend.

The Franschhoek Literary Festival is organised by Jenny Hobbs and Sheenagh Taylor, Hobbs herself being an author who has just launched another book entitled ‘Kitchen Boy’.  Ticket prices have been held at R60, and the proceeds go to the Franschhoek Literary Festival Library Fund.  A variety of 70 sessions on books, writing, and even the new social media is offered. 

Kicking off on Friday morning 13 May, the day’s multi-theme highlights include a session on Tweeting, chaired by Sam Wilson, Editor-in-Chief of Women’s Lifestyle at 24.com, discussing cellphone fiction; a session on editing and being edited; on drug taking with Melinda Ferguson, who wrote ‘Smacked, Hooked’ about her drug addiction; on the value of literary prizes, discussed by past winners Justin Cartwright, Henrietta Rose-Innes and Imraan Coovadia; ‘A jug of wine, a loaf of bread’ is the theme of a session chaired by Hilary Biller, Sunday Times Food Editor with panelists Michael Olivier (editor of Crush!),  JP Rossouw (‘Rossouw’s Restaurants’ Restaurant Reviewer), and Anna Trapido (an Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant judge); on crime writing with a panel which includes Mike Nichol and Sarah Lotz; on moving from journalism into book writing, including speakers Jenny Hobbs, Jacques Pauw, and Hamilton Wende; on the behind-the-scenes stories about the country’s first democratic election in 1994, chaired by Cape Talk presenter John Maytham; and on following up a successful novel.

On Saturday 14 May the sessions include “How to fix our schools”; on writing a book, each of the three panelists being a medical doctor; on writing about history; on writing for teenagers; on how it was and what could have been in Zimbabwe; writing about Nelson Mandela, with Mandela writers Anna Trapido, Mike Nicol and Tim Couzens in discussion with Max du Preez; Shaun Johnson, a past Festival speaker, past head of Independent Newspapers, CEO of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, and who will be staying at Whale Cottage Franschhoek, will talk about “Other People’s Money”; on press freedom; on writing love stories; a discussion with Barbara Trapido, author of ‘Sex & Stravinsky’; and on the increasing popularity of short stories.

On Sunday 15 May the day kicks off with a discussion on “Mzansi” and what it means; on life challenges; on ‘Skop, Skiet en Donder’, on writing about Cape Town, with panelists Rayda Jacobs, Henrietta Rose-Innes and Gus Ferguson; on being a full-time writer; on writing from exile; on the South African wine industry, with the co-author Wilmot James discussing the new book ‘Grape – Vineyard Stories’; and about travel writing, with Justin Cartwright, Hamilton Wende and Douglas Rogers.

Alongside the debates and discussions about all things literary, a number of other related events have been organised: a Sunday Times Storybook Campaign fundraising dinner at Reuben’s, to be addressed by Barry Ronge, Jonathan Jansen and Jonny Steinberg, on Friday 13 May, and another on 14 May, to be addressed by Barbara Trapido, Zakes Mda and Peter Godwin; a performance of Montiverdi’s Vespro da concerto on Saturday 14 May; a poetry reading by Kobus Moolman and piano performance by Christopher Duigan on 14 May; followed by a dinner concert, organised by Christopher Duigan, at Café Bon Bon; a Liszt vs Liszt performance by Christopher Duigan on Sunday 15 May, as well as a Sunday afternoon concert at Café Bon Bon, also with Christopher Duigan,

Franschhoek Literary Festival: www.flf.co.za  Tickets can be bought from www.webtickets.co.za.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Ciro Sweet and Independent Newspapers Sour Service Award

                                                  The Sweet Service Award goes to Toni from the Cape Town offices of Ciro Beverage Solutions, who helped Whale Cottage get around Ciro’s Accounts department blocking deliveries of milk, biscuits and coffee sachets, due to non-receipt of three cheques sent to the company in November, December and January.  She kept the customer informed every step of the way.   Miraculously and coincidentally, all three cheques, posted to the company’s Rivonia head office post box at month-end over the past three months, arrived on the same day that Toni had helped unblock the delivery denial.  The accounts department had previously arrogantly denied delivery, and took no trouble to establish why the three cheques had not arrived, given that Whale Cottage has dealt with Ciro for the past ten years.

The Sour Service Award goes to Independent Newspapers.    For the past few years, Whale Cottage has subscribed to the Cape Times and Cape Argus, and delivery is made to its guest houses, as a service to its guests.   A new delivery address in Fresnaye was added recently, and has had a non-delivery at least once a week.  Over the last week three papers were not delivered.    An e-mail was sent to Carmen Thomas, the Subscriptions Supervisor, who was subsequently told by the Area Manager Anderson that all papers had been delivered into the post box, when they had not.   Ms Thomas regularly blames a new distribution system for the non-delivery.   The customer called the MD of Independent Newspapers, who listened to the problem sympathetically, and must have called for action internally, one of the instructions being that Ms Thomas had to meet the customer and apologise personally.   A time was agreed, but Ms Thomas did not arrive, calling a few minutes before the scheduled time of the meeting to check where the meeting would be held.   It had been clear that it was in Fresnaye, as this is the address at which the delivery problems had occurred.   Ms Thomas then had a calendar and a gift of apology delivered, the gift however not being to the taste of the customer at all.  The customer only wants efficient delivery, and not any gifts.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.