''It's hard not to get excited about the explosion in cellular telephony. Africa is now the world's fastest-growing region for mobile telecoms. Thus crowed the industry's cocks in front of the crowds at an international conference in Cairo last week. Yes, but...'' Guy Berger takes a closer look at Africa's mobile miracle.
Come May Day, the spokesperson for the Minister of Labour will become South Africa's most powerful news manager. It's a second stint at SABC for Snuki Zikalala. In a Q&A below, he talks about his background and the new job, as well as lessons of the BBC's run-in with Lord Hutton, plus the business of competitive broadcasting. You can also read his views on the future of bi-media and his understanding of ''objectivity''.
''Here's the story of how a reporter got scooped by her own story -- and how audiences get scammed by junk-food journalism.'' Guy Berger looks at a case of duplication and a cautionary tale in the funny business of competitive journalism.
An audit of newsroom leaders is about to get under way. It's not the Human Rights Commission (HRC) probing racism, nor the Genderlinks NGO sniffing out sexism. It's an initiative of the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef). A case of the industry examining itself.
The media play a major part in constructing the meaning of 2004 as ''10 years of freedom''. They take what in many respects is an arbitrary figure, and canonise the period into a decimalised sacred cow of intrinsic significance. If media representation of the occasion is a given, the forms this takes are not. Thus, the 10-year motif invites comparisons -- but with what?
With less than two weeks to go before the closing date for comments on the Convergence Bill, a hoo-ha has erupted. Signalled by, among others, The Citizen on its front page (January 17), the claim is that the current draft law, if promulgated, will ''require all website owners or publishers to have a content applications service licence to operate''. Well, it depends.
Hefer and his commission now seem like history. However, amid the dust whirling in his wake, the controversy of confidential briefings remains to be resolved.
In the interim, everyone associated with ''off-the-record'' media dealings is treading on tiptoes.
Those of you with ''Aids fatigue'', brighten up. A pleasant illusion is coming your way. It's this: now that the battle for the government to provide anti-retrovirals has been won, you can look forward to a decline in the coverage of Aids. The reason is that the politics of the story just got a whole lot softer.
South Africa was very nice to five white men this week. And for good reason: they came from world soccer group Fifa. The group was fÃªted and fanfared during their seven-day tour of South African cities. On their agenda was time with Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Archbishop Tutu, Credo Mutwa, Prof Phillip Tobias and King Goodwill Zwelithini.
Scandals in recent weeks have left our journalism staggering somewhat. But our serious problems pale in comparison with those in many other countries in Africa. This became clear last week at a gathering of leading African journalists in Cape Town.
Media is a business and sexuality is a very viable commodity. My pitch therefore is not to stop covering the topic, but to start. To start doing a decent journalistic job about it. To seek out, and serve up, the stories of the unruly rollercoasters of our sexual lives.