At 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 →