A course that explains the current mediascape
by Guy Berger, June 2001
The purposes of the course are:
* to give you an appreciation of the long and rich history of media practice in South Africa, and demonstrate its significance to general history of the sub?continent.
* to alert you to different traditions of the role of the media, and of diverse genres of journalism.
* to develop your academic analytical and writing ability.
a) Do the required readings ahead of each lecture. The material will be taken as read, and you will struggle to follow the discussion if you are not reading in advance.
b) Attend and participate in tutorials and do the necessary preparation.
c) Submit an essay of approximately 2000 words (five A4 pages excluding cover page and list of sources, typed in 1.5 spacing and spell-checked in the required format, on one of the topics listed at the end of this outline.
Due date: Monday 29
May, 12 midnight, J1 essay box. Note: check your Handbook (pp32-5) for the
format and referencing style. Marks will be deducted where these are not
Remember especially to do an abstract and an introduction and a conclusion. (Note: an abstract is not the same thing as an introduction).
Note too Handbook p31: "Last-minute technical problem are not valid reasons for an extension." So aim to complete your work at least 24 hours before deadline. Late essays score zero.
a) The ability to see South African media history in wider historical context.
b) Basic understanding of the contribution of media to South Africa's general history.
c) The ability to discuss contemporary South African media issues with background.
d) The ability to write an academic essay.
e) Development of analytical reading skills.
f) To see the relationship between issues of South African Media History and other courses in the year, notably Media Theory and Writing.
Structure of the course
We will approach the subject matter in reverse chronology and retrace the roots of the present. Each module will take up approximately one or two week's focus. Lectures will include some of the context of the media: socio-political, economic, cultural, technological.
Contemporary media issues:
Lecture 1: Introduction
Lecture 2: HRC hearings:
race and the media
READER: HRC documents
READER: Freelance editors statement
Lecture 3: HRC hearings:
race and the media
READER: Braude report summary
READER: Press clips
READER: African editors statement
READER: M&G statement
Lecture 4: Transformation
READER: Garman: Transformation - speaking from experience
READER: Steenveld: The transformation of the media
READER: Berger: Part 1: Towards an analysis of the South African media and transformation, 1994 - 1999.
Lecture 5: Unbundling,
READER: Berger: Part 2: Towards an analysis of the South African media and transformation, 1994 - 1999.
Lecture 6: Truth commission
READER: TRC report
READER: Du Preez: When cowboys cry
READER: Battersby: It is time for acknowledgement
READER: Brynand: My individual yes
READER: Garman: Fragments of the truth
Weeks Three and Four:
Burgeoning Electronic Media
Lecture 7:Wired world
READER: Internet readings
Lecture 8: The current
READER: IBA Act
Lecture 9: New directions
READER: White Paper on broadcasting
Lecture 10: History:
His master's voice:
READER: Hayman: Periodisation
READER: SABC diary pages
Weeks Five and Six
1980s, 1970s, 1960s: Press as opposition, resistance and pleasure:
Lecture 11: Going beyond
the boundaries - The Rand Daily Mail and the Daily Dispatch.
READER: Jackson: Realities of the marketplace
Lecture 12: Investigative
journalism: The Info Scandal.
READER: Rees and Day: Muldergate
Lecture 13: Critique
of the Info Scandal, rise of Alternative press
READER: Jackson: The state of emergency
Lecture 14: Anti-establishment:
the alternative press.
READER: Jackson: The alternative press
READER: Berger: Publishing for the People: the alternative press
Lecture 15: The Drum
READER: Choonoo: Sophiatown generation
READER: Chapman: More than telling a story.
READER: Can Temba: The Suitcase
READER: Themba: The Boy with the Tennis Racket
READER: Nxumalo: Mr Drum goes to jail
Lecture 17: Cape liberal press
READER: Hachten and Giffard: The roots of the conflict
Lecture 18: Early black
READER: Switzer: Introduction
READER: Hachten and Giffard: Suppression of the black press.
Lecture 19: Conclusion, exam briefing, evaluation.
1) South African media history has been driven more by economics than by socio?political issues. Discuss.
2) The rise and fall of New Africa Investment Limited highlights the problem of representivity in ownership and editorial control in the South African Print Industry. Discuss.
3) The Drum writers have left a legacy that could be relevant for South African journalism in the 21st century. Discuss.
4) Critically discuss Athe press as opposition@ thesis.
5) The history of South African broadcasting is the key to understanding the post-apartheid broadcast landscape. Discuss.
6) The old and the new: contrast the key differences between the South African mediascape of the 1970/80s, with that of the start of the 21st century.
7) How does an understanding of South African media history help us explain media transformation today?
8) What is the significance of the HRC hearings for journalism in South Africa?
An additional bibliography to assist in doing these essays will be circulated.
How you will be assessed:
1. Your essay counts
3% of your year mark.
2. In your November exam, testing the work covered in this course counts 15% of the year mark.
3. Attendance and participation at tutorials is compulsory. Failure to attend will prejudice your chances of selection into second year.
4. You will be examined on all READING materials supplied in the course, as well as information introduced only at lectures. Lectures will serve to link the various readings, and to raise discussion of underlying issues. Miss them at your peril.
5. This course provides critical context for the rest of your degree. Give it your best, and you'll find the rewards are high.