Med8Media, a prominent player in the media landscape, recently orchestrated an enriching workshop aimed at bolstering the news literacy skills of its cohort of student interns. The workshop, held on August 10th and 11th, 2023, unfolded as a resounding success, leaving participants invigorated and equipped with valuable insights.
The workshop’s dual objectives were crystal clear: firstly, to foster connections and camaraderie among the interns, a task of particular importance as they navigate their roles within an online newspaper while operating from the comfort of their homes. Secondly, the event set out to inspire and embolden these budding journalists as they chart their course in the dynamic realm of news reporting.
Spearheaded by Med8Media, the workshop spared no effort in ensuring the interns’ well-being. Nutritious breakfasts and lunches were thoughtfully provided, ensuring participants were primed for productivity. Going above and beyond, Med8Media orchestrated an impressive lineup of guest speakers from diverse geographical realms to share their pearls of wisdom with the attendees.
A luminous presence among the speakers was Mbali Dlomo, a revered figure who not only chairs the Association of Independent Publishers (AIP) but also serves as the visionary founder and editor of the Intuthuko newspaper. This publication boasts a widespread readership across Durban, Newcastle, and Dundee. With an extensive decade-long tenure within the AIP, three of which were spent as the chairperson, Mbali Dlomo stands as a seasoned doyen in the publishing arena.
In her compelling address, Mbali Dlomo recounted her journey of single-handedly launching a magazine. She candidly delved into the challenges posed by initial funding constraints, underscoring her perseverance in establishing a magazine with a province-wide and eventually nationwide reach. She lauded the pivotal role played by the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) in expanding her magazine’s circulation through key outlets like Shoprite, Pick n Pay, CNA, and Spar. Reflecting on her journey, Mbali Dlomo emphasized the attainability of launching a publication, particularly when navigating the labyrinth of printing logistics.
Drawing from a reservoir of over two decades in the field, Mbali Dlomo fervently expressed her affinity for the print medium. She shared her steadfast dedication to print, nurtured over more than two decades of immersion. She candidly highlighted the industry’s challenges, especially in terms of financial viability hinging on advertising revenue. For her and many contemporaries, the lifeblood of their publications hinges on advertisers’ support.
The event also showcased the multifaceted Mr. Quan, a luminary deeply intertwined with Pondoland Times, a venerable newspaper originating from the Eastern Cape. This newspaper proudly bears the esteemed Eagles Business award, a testament to its excellence. Mr. Quan wears numerous hats – from founder to publisher, editor, managing director, freelance writer, and even radio personality.
During his engaging presentation, Mr. Quan unveiled captivating insights about their newspaper’s operations. Each edition entails the printing of a staggering 5000 copies. Content-wise, the newspaper predominantly adopts English, constituting 90%, while the remaining 10% caters to Isixhoza readers. He endeavored to uplift the attending interns by underscoring the paramount importance of unyielding diligence, assuring them that their sweat equity would yield promising outcomes.
Mr. Quan candidly delved into the challenges inherent to his publisher role. He unreservedly emphasized that it’s no facile endeavor, demanding unwavering dedication. The demands of the job sometimes encroach on precious sleep. Nevertheless, Mr. Quan asserted that the true reward lies in witnessing the tangible manifestation of the newspaper’s impact, acting as a cohesive force within the community.
Enriching the dialogue, Slindile Khayile, a seasoned journalist and editor boasting over two decades of mainstream media experience, contributed her sagacious insights. In 2020, she co-founded Umbele, an Isizulu online business publication. Furthermore, she played an instrumental role in birthing Umkhayisi, a digital magazine centered on Isizulu education and careers, boasting a fortnightly publishing rhythm.
Slindile Khayile underscored fundamental tenets for aspiring journalists. Punctuality stood tall among her emphasized virtues, coupled with the power of politeness through phrases like “please” and “thank you.” Transparency trumped clandestine dealings in her book. She extolled the utility of online dictionaries and championed meticulous spelling and grammar checks. Above all, she resoundingly affirmed the unassailable significance of consistent reading to hone and elevate journalistic prowess.