RADIO PRODUCTION: Development feature
The assignment of producing a development feature was my introduction to the notion of development journalism. Using Banda’s (2007) interpretation of development journalism and its essential use in broadcasting, I obtained the platform I had wished to have, of uncovering a positive story in Grahamstown.
I produced my development feature at a time when I was also being introduced to the various approaches to journalism, through the JDD/CMP course. It was at this point that I began to refine my journalistic philosophy, where the notions of development journalism being a kind of journalism that is “socially and intellectually engaged” (Banda, 2007: 158) was emphasised. I interpreted this revelation as emphasising the connectedness between the journalist, the sources of the story, and audience to which the story is aimed for. The guidelines to development journalism, as expressed by Banda (2007: 160), which collectively call for coverage of development within societies beyond economies, etc also strengthened my intentions with this the story I covered in the development feature.
Producing a story on the Sakhuluntu Cultural Group as a development feature, I easily interpreted my journalistic philosophy and the guidelines of development journalism I was learning along the way. Locating the successes of the cultural group, which holds its practices in a very small house, I managed to emphasise the perseverance of this group, in performing in numerous music, dance and acting competitions, and of being successful in these competitions. I also managed to use the interviewees in the story in a rounded way, Vuyo Booi, the founder of Sakhuluntu, spoke in detail of the struggles the group faced in its early years, while the youths spoke on how they have enjoyed being part of the group and how their parents have taken them being part of the group, respectively. This occurrence links with both my journalistic philosophy, but is enhanced by the notions of development journalism, in the aspect on looking at development beyond the economy of a society. Here, I traced the development of a group which has trained many youths in the previously disadvantaged parts of Grahamstown, and also on how the present youth, from different cultural backgrounds have fared being part of such a group.
My journalistic philosophy fitted very well with the aims of development journalism, hence I managed to produce a worthy development feature. I have also realised that I formed a closer bond with the people from Sakhuluntu, because of the guidelines of development journalism I added to my philosophy. I interacted with the people from the group in the preliminary interviews, got to know the facilitators of the group, and I was introduced to the entire Sakhuluntu Cultural Group. I made an introductory speech, where I outlined my intentions of covering a story on the group, which excited them. The over-whelming response I got from them after this made it difficult for me to think of not getting too attached to my stories, which is something some journalists have stated as being their philosophies. This encounter reaffirmed my belief of producing stories for the average citizen, which would go some way in instilling hope within citizens, and indirectly playing a role alerting relevant authorities on the need to develop such a fledging group. My professional standards were maintained throughout, as despite forging a relationship with the people of Sakhuluntu. They still identified me as a journalist, and I made sure that despite being attached more than the more conventional journalist would be to a story, I maintained the relevant discipline to be associated as being a journalist.
Banda, F. 2007. “An appraisal of the applicability of development journalism in the context of public service broadcasting (PSB)”, In Communicatio: South African Journal for Communication Theory and Research, Retrieved 9 November 2010 from http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t777285706