Tag Archives: The Times

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 →

Monaco Marriage of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene puts South Africa on world map

Today Prince Albert and Princess Charlene will wed religiously, after they wed in a civil ceremony in the Throne Room of the palace in Monaco yesterday afternoon.  Their marriage is an exciting marriage for South Africa too, with Princess Charlene proudly bringing her South African pride into interviews and profiles published about the dream royal couple. The streets of Monaco are lined with South African flags, and those from the Princess’ new home country.

Gracing the pages of Vogue for the first time, and Bunte in Germany regularly, as well as the subject of regular TV programmes on European TV stations, including ZDF, Germany’s largest TV channel, as well as The Guardian, New York Times, and Associated Press, the couple and their dream wedding are being widely profiled around the world, the first royal marriage in 55 years in the principality.  The wedding media hype and interest increased dramatically earlier this week, when a French on-line agency reported that Charlene Wittstock had almost become a ‘run-away bride’. 

VIP attendees at the religious wedding ceremony today include the German Chancellor Christian Wulff, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni, President Pal Schmitt of Hungary, President George Abela of Malta, King Carl Gustav of Sweden, King Albert of Belgium, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Crown Prince Frederik from Denmark, Prince Edward, Prince Faisal bin al Hussein of Jordan, models Naomi Campbell and Karolina Kurkova, Sir Roger Moore, President Michel Sleimane of Lebanon, President Mary McAleese of Ireland, Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk representing the South African government, Jeff Radebe, Johann Rupert, Leruo Molotlegi of the Kingdom of Bafokeng, King Letsie of Lesotho, Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani, Roberto Cavalli, Yves Piaget, Gerard Butler, Nadia Comenici, Bernard Arnault, Renée Fleming, Ryk Neethling, Roland Schoeman, Francois Pienaar, Elana Meyer, Terence Bray, as well as Sarah Poewe, ex-Cape Town fellow Olympic swimmer with Princess Charlene, and now resident in Germany and swimming for the German team. 

The royal couple impressed with its care for the environment, their bridal hybrid Lexus car having been especially made by Toyota, driven only under electric motor power, reported the Sunday Times.  More than twenty years ago Princess Charlene expressed her care for the environment, in a school composition she wrote about the ozone layer.  She loves Blushing Brides so much that 500 stems have been flown in from Citrusdal for her wedding flower arrangements.

South  Africa’s cuisine is also in the spotlight, with Chef Dean Uren of Zimbali Lodge and his colleague Peter Mtshali being part of the team which catered for 6000 guests attending the civil ceremony yesterday, and will head the preparation of a special South African meal for 200 guests on Monday, before the royal couple head for Durban, to attend the 123rd session of the International Olympic Committee, the first time that it will be held in Africa.  Chef Dean’s menu is still a secret, but will include pastries stuffed with ostrich bobotie, and kudu prepared with typical boerewors spices, including kameelhout spice, coriander, pepper and cloves, reported the Sunday Times.   The main wedding meal, served in the Opera for 850 guests today, will be prepared by top chef Alain Ducasse and a team of 350.   He owns 20 restaurants, opening two more this year, in Russia and in Doha.  He has 19 Michelin stars in total across his collection of restaurants, and three of them have three stars.  Chef Alain has not revealed what’s on the menu yet, but he will represent the smell, colour and taste of the Mediterranean with fresh line-caught fish, vegetables and fruit for dessert, all ingredients coming from within 10 km of the principality.  Perrier-Jouët champagne will be served, alongside the Haskell Vineyards’ Dombeya Chardonnay and Shiraz, the owner Preston Haskell being a long-standing friend of Prince Albert, and the royal couple have partied at Haskell’s Fresnaye home in the past.   The wedding cake will link to South Africa’s national flower, the protea, reports Bunte.

Although Princess Charlene is now married to the 9th richest person in the world, her tastes are simple, and she longs for Mrs Balls chutney and rooibos tea.  South African music talent was also represented in the wedding celebrations, with Idols co-winner Jason Hartman, who was chosen by Princess Charlene to be the supporting act to an open air concert by The Eagles on Thursday evening. Local boy band Romanz will perform ‘With all my Heart’ tonight, and do a duet with Italian pop star Umberto Tozzi.   Jean-Michel Jarre put on an electronic music show last night, to which all Monaco residents were invited.

Princess Charlene is turning into a style icon, and the most recent Bunte had a feature of beautiful dresses photographed by Karl Lagerfeld.   Her wedding dress has been designed by Giorgio Armani, her favourite designer, an honour shared with designer Albert Kriemler of Akris.  Increasingly Princess Charlene is wearing bold Africa-inspired jewellery with her outfits, reinforcing her heritage.  She looked beautiful in the blue pants suit she wore for the civil ceremony, which she had designed herself and had made by Chanel, reports Associated Press.

Next week the Royal couple leave for their honeymoon in Durban, where they will be hosting a reception at The Oyster Box in Umhlanga next Thursday 7 July, for 300 local friends, family and VIP’s.

We congratulate Prince Albert and Princess Charlene on their marriage, and wish them lots of happiness and a large family.

Ex-Miss South Africa and Top Billing presenter Jo-Anne Strauss will be covering the wedding on SABC3 today, from 14h00 – 20h30.

POSTSCRIPT 2/7: The Weekend Argus has reported that Princess Charlene will be in Cape Town next Friday 8 July, attending a function of the Giving Organisation Trust with Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Noordhoek, and visiting the Cotlands HIV/AIDS hospice in Somerset West, and the Fynbos Project at Lourensford.

POSTSCRIPT 2/7: Princess Charlene looked very serious, if not sad, at her religious wedding ceremonyin the palace this afternoon, crying when she left her bridal bouquet at the Sainte Devoté church, as the late Princess Grace did too.  Talk about a third child of Prince Albert is not going away. 

POSTSCRIPT 2/7:  Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk attended the wedding on behalf of President Zuma and the South African government, reports the Weekend Argus:“And as tourism minister he’s really happy there is such a big South African influence in the wedding.  The name of South Africa will be all over the world again as it was a year ago at the World Cup. That will be very good for tourism and for the country”, said the Minister’s spokesman Riaan Aucamp. 

POSTSCRIPT 5/7:  Interestingly, the wine selection at the wedding appears to have caused a swirl in a wine glass!  It would appear that Dombeya wines were not the only South African ones to have been featured at the Royal wedding on Saturday.  Neil Pendock of The Times wrote that Vins D’Orrance claimed that their Chardonnay 2009 Cuvee Andis was the ‘only South African wine chosen for the wedding’, incorrect given the Dombeya wines selection from the Haskell wine estate, which belongs to Prince Albert’s friend Preston Haskell, and confirmed by a Royal Palace-approved media release earlier this year.  A total of 1000 bottles of Dombeya Chardonnay 2010, Boulder Red Shiraz, and Samara 2005 went to Monaco,  and 700 bottles of the Chardonnay and Samara have been sent to the Oyster Box for the cocktail function on Thursday.  Hempies du Toit of Annandale is also reported in Die Volksblad to have made a wine for the wedding, and he called his six year old Merlot Charlbert, with French labels, and supplied 150 Magnums as well as a ‘bunch of 750ml bottles’ as souvenirs of the wedding.  Du Toit is a friend of the Wittstock family, and the year of the Merlot bottling co-incides with the year in which Prince Albert and Princess Charlène started dating. 

POSTSCRIPT 9/7:  The Financial Times has an interesting article on the preparation of the wedding meal by Chef Alain Ducassse and his team, with beautiful photographs.  

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

Charly’s Bakery Sweet and Sunday Times Sour Service Awards

The Sweet Service Award  goes to Charly’s Bakery, for their gift of a birthday cake earlier this week, especially themed around blogging and Twitter.

 

 

 

The Sour Service Award  goes to the Sunday Times, who published a tabloid size newspaper (in the format of its weekday The Times sister newspaper) yesterday, and dated it to “represent” The Times of 24 December and the Sunday Times of 26 December, a cheat for those subscribers expecting a full Sunday newspaper on Sunday.   The content is nothing like their normal favourite Sunday paper, in that it only consists of overviews of the year.

 

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.

“Tourist torrent” expected for the festive season? Not in the Cape!

One wonders where the tourism authorities get some of their information from!  While a The Times journalist may have enjoyed the alliteration in his headline on 7 December (“All set for a tourist torrent”), he may in fact have vastly exaggerated the implications of the results from a World Cup survey as to tourism to South Africa over the “season”/”festive season”.  This contradicts what most tourism players are experiencing, in what is set to possibly become one of the worst summer seasons ever, with poorer accommodation bookings than in previous years for coastal suburbs/towns such as Camps Bay, Hermanus and Plettenberg Bay, and even worse in inland towns.

The journalist was reporting on the presentation of the SA Tourism and Department of Tourism study on the effect of the World Cup, a survey which had been conducted in June and July amongst World Cup visitors, as well as guests flying out of Cape Town International, OR Thambo, and ten other airports in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Lesotho.  As a market researcher in a previous career, I shudder at the thought of the research methodology (unspecified in the S A Tourism release) which may have been used – in Cape Town eight departing guests were interviewed at the close of the Cape Town semi-final at the airport, on which basis a local daily proclaimed the Cape’s success in hosting the tournament in our city!   Both Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited used dubious questionnaire formulation in surveys conducted amongst local tourism players during the World Cup.

SA Tourism’s Chief Marketing Officer Roshene Singh is a respected marketer, and I had the pleasure of meeting her a few months ago.   But the quote attributed to her in the article seems unbelievable: “We believe we’re going to have a bumper season (note her word, which the sub-headline in the article changed to ‘festive season’!) because people who are regular visitors in June and July deferred their holidays because of the influx of soccer fans then, so we expect them to now visit.”   Given the seasonal nature of tourism in the Western Cape, with May, June and July being the worst three months for the tourism industry in the Western Cape, our region will definitely not be expecting a “tourist torrent” in the next three weeks/three months, if we are to rely on these ‘displaced’ holidaymakers!

The rest of  The Times report  reflects the findings of the World Cup survey, which showed that 310000 foreign soccer fans had visited South Africa for the World Cup, said Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk, and that 90% would consider visiting again.  Key findings are as follows:

*   The economy benefited by R3,6 billion (the cost of generating this income was not mentioned!)

*   59 % of visitors travelled to South Africa for the first time due to the soccer event

*   220000 soccer visitors visited Gauteng, 108384 the Western Cape, and 83819 KwaZulu-Natal

*   the largest number of World Cup visitors came from the USA (30175), followed by Mocambique (a surprise second place at 24483), Britain (22802), Swaziland (19593), Brazil (14815) and Australia (12210).

*   68%  rated South Africa as an “extremely good” host, and 29 % rated it as a “good host”, an excellent scorecard.

*  Just over half of the soccer fans who had been to other World Cup events, said South Africa was a better host country – a surprisingly low figure, given all the publicity one saw and the highest ever FIFA rating – 33% rated it on a par with previous host countries, and 16 % rated it worse.

The bizarre (and dangerous) projection by our tourism marketing authority, based on very indirect information obtained from a survey conducted six months ago, in a period since which South Africa’s post-World Cup image has taken some serious knocks, and in which period the Rand has remained too strong to make South Africa an affordable tourist destination from the United Kingdom, Europe and the USA, is irresponsible, in our opinion, and does not reflect the reality of bookings by the accommodation industry.  The reference to the bumper season must have been made during the presentation of the survey results to journalists by Singh, as the official media release of SA Tourism does not refer to this projection at all!

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