By ROD AMNER and NYX MCLEAN
Last week we welcomed our new intake of journalists in training. We gave them a week to find their feet, to get to know each other, to research Makhanda, to read past editions of Grocott’s Mail, and to make space for their curiosity. Curiosity about the community they will be working in, for, and with.
We have already published a few stories from our new journalists, namely a report by Toto Tsarneba on the Ukraine protest in Makhanda on Tuesday 1 March and a story by Zimkita Linyana on the recent snare clean up that took place last weekend.
And there are more awaiting editing or in the process of being researched and written.
Our new journalists are currently students in the School of Journalism and Media Studies pursuing a postgraduate diploma. They join us from different spaces of interest and past experiences informing their writing.
For instance, we have journalists who have a science, education, sociology, English literature, economics, and communications background among our new intake. Some join us with journalism experience, others with social media and video editing skills. This could mean exciting things for how we cover news in Makhanda. Watch this space!
Our team has already shown great enthusiasm and a willingness to get out there and explore our community to understand what is important to us and how we are currently being affected by some of the challenges we face. We look forward to seeing how this enthusiasm, willingness, and curiosity translate into the stories they pursue, the work they produce, and the conversations that they start with us in Makhanda.
As they are journalists in training, there may inevitably be moments where they may get something wrong or stumble, and we ask that you be willing to understand this when you engage with them. Not only are we at Grocott’s Mail and at the School of Journalism and Media Studies helping to shape a new generation of journalists, but you, fellow Makhandans, are also playing a significant role in their development.
We ask that you engage with them, offer critical thought about their stories, suggest other perspectives, but always do so from a space of compassion and kindness. This is not to say that we ask you to make their lives easy or overlook errors, but rather that you try to remember that any mistakes are not intentional but are instead part of the learning process. And included in that learning is understanding where an error has been made and how to address it and take ownership of the role one played.
But don’t worry, us asking this of you is not handing over our roles as editors and mentors to our new journalists. We are here with them on their journeys, but we recognise our audience’s vital role.
We hope that the stories our team will bring you this coming year will meet your needs, that they will be informative, enlightening, and challenging to the status quo. We invite you to witness this journey with us, and if you want to engage with us about our coverage or raise concerns, please feel free to email us at email@example.com or message us on Facebook Messenger.