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Front PagePort Elizabeth-based jazz band Centre Stage put on a show for the delegates at the Telkom Awards gala dinner on the concluding night of this year’s Highway Africa conference. Photo: Alexa Sedgwick

Last night the 17th annual Highway Africa ended on a few jazzy notes, with awards, speeches, good food and entertainment filling the brisk  air around the Settler’s Monument in Grahamstown, South Africa.

To read about the awards, recipients, and for pictures of the night, please download Open Source newspaper edition 3 here.

You can also download older editions of Open Source from our website

Good bye Highway Africans, see you next year!

Highway Africa is a great place to network and connect with journalists around the globe. Here you can meet the journos you’ve only admired as a by-line on a page.
Nexi Dennis, a business development journalist from the Seychelles, tells Elna Schütz about a special Highway Africa meeting today.

Chris Kabwato. Alexa Sedgwick. By Joni Lindes

Hours away from the start of the 17th annual Highway Africa conference, director Chris Kabwato shows no sign of stress. He sits, beaming, his hands lightly resting on the clean, white desk. The telephone buzzes as caterers try to get hold of the man in charge, yet Kabwato chats as if he has all the time in the world. According to Kabwato, these two days are smooth-sailing because of months of preparation.

Starting from October 2012 monthly meetings became weekly meetings which became daily meetings which became hourly meetings—and then this, the biggest gathering of African journalists in the world. The search for guest speakers and rooting for sponsors has paid off as multiple addresses, debates, discussions, workshops, book launches and exhibitions are scheduled, making these two days jam-packed.

“It’s like a movie you have made,” Kabwato says, “It is waiting for an audience. You don’t know if it is going to make it or bomb out. I always have these butterflies in my tummy.”

Despite his nervousness, Kabwato enjoys coordinating the conference; and this will be his tenth conference as Director of Highway Africa.

“This is a fantastic job. There can be this time in your life when there is a perfect match between who you are and your job,” said Kabwato. “I think it adds value to journalism. It brings the world to this little town. It raises the prestige for Rhodes University, which is the smallest university in South Africa. We are, literally right there on the cutting edge of journalism. I find that very fulfilling,” says Kabwato. Before Highway Africa,   he was Head of Education and Public Affairs at the British Council in Harare. He has also been a journalist and written for publications like Mail & Guardian.

The conference highlights many issues, including media accountability and the influence of information communication technologies (ICTs) on journalism as a craft.

“The arrival of social media has changed the way media is done,” says, Kabwato, adding that breaking news is trending on Twitter long before we hear it on the radio or see it in the newspaper. Yet, with the many platforms that new media brings Kabwato worries that journalists have become less accurate and less accountable.

“I think there is always a fine line with media ethics,” said Kabwato. His own experience as a journalist saw him disguising himself in Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) regalia to report on a celebration by the ruling party.

These next two days  deal with these issues and more.

“We run a good show here,” says Kabwato as he calmly turns his attention to the next telephone call from a frantic organiser.

Harry Dugmore by Alexa Sedgwich By Annetjie van Wynegaard

Around 60 journalists and media practitioners from health publications and organisations assembled at the Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies this past week, for the Discovery Centre for Health Journalism’s symposium on non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

The symposium ran for three days from 29 August and hosted acclaimed speakers from the health industry and medical research professions.

The NCDs are Non-infectious and non-transmissible among people, like diabetes and cancer, and media coverage around them is scarce.

On the first day the symposium’s hashtag, #NCDjourn13, was trending at number one on Twitter all day long.

Students and research staff in the Discovery Centre for Journalism at Rhodes tweeted, wrote stories, took photographs and asked questions about what it means to cover health issues in South Africa.

There was a constant buzz of excitement in the air as the attending journalists live-tweeted the latest statistic from leading health professionals.

Head of Corporate Sustainability at Discovery, Ruth Lewin, joined deputy vice chancellor of Rhodes University, Dr Peter Clayton, and the deputy head of the School of Journalism and Media Studies, Prof. Herman Wasserman, to officially open the symposium.

During the symposium lecturer and researcher in the Centre, Jae Braun, presented her guide on reporting obesity. The guide is one in a series of “Reporting on…” guides that the Centre is producing.

On the second day the 2013 Discovery Health Journalist of the Year and former member of staff at the Centre, Mia Malan, joined Antoinette Oosthuizen, Kerry Cullinan, and Declan Okpalaeke in a panel discussion on emerging models for journalisms that enhance public understanding of medical and health policy.

A parallel panel on exercise as medicine took place in the room next door and was presented by the head of the Department of Human Kinetics and Ergonomics (HKE) at Rhodes, Dr Candice Christie, and PhD candidate Janet Viljoen.

The symposium was peppered with health talk, healthy food, and some ‘green’ field trips.

On the first day everyone embarked on a walking tour of Fort England Psychiatric Hospital where they received an overview of mental health services in the Eastern Cape, and on the last day they went to the Sibuya Game Reserve in Kenton.

For comprehensive speaker profiles, visit the Discovery Centre’s website http://discoverycentre.ru.ac.za/

By Emeka Umejei

Carly Hosford-Israel. SANEFThe presence of China on the South Africa media landscape poses no danger to media independence, a South African editor has said.

Hopewell Radebe Associate Editor at Business Day in Johannesburg, said this in an interview with Open Society yesterday.  He was in Grahamstown to South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) meetings ahead of the Highway Africa conference, which begins this morning.

“I don’t subscribe to the group of people who see China as a danger,” Radebe  said. “China has a population of 1.3 billion and American has just 300 million which makes China a huge market.”

He said if the Chinese invest in South African media, it will be business and nothing more than that.

“If we allow the Europeans and Americans to invest in the media why should it be different with the Chinese?” he asked, “If they chose South Africa, it means we are being recognised as a force to be reckoned with.”

Radebe said he does not subscribe to the idea of painting China as a new imperial power because it will be “us who are dumb to not have proper and requisite regulatory framework to ensure transparent dealings.”

He emphasised that if China invests in South Africa, the South African government must ensure it plays by the rules.

However, Radebe said the much-hyped Chinese syndicate in Sekunjalo Holdings, the new owners of Independent Media remains a rumour because he is yet to see any document to that effect.

“I actually don’t know whether the Chinese syndicate is involved,” he said. “I have not seen a document these are the signatories or potential buyers and investors are interested to know the funders.”