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Centre for Health Journalism

The Centre for Health Journalism was established in October 2010. The Centre was officially opened in April 2011 and located in the School of Journalism and Media Studies (JMS) at Rhodes University.

The Centre's role is not only to support journalists covering health and medical beats, including health systems and the NHI in South Africa, but to also drive forward journalism about medical science and healthy lifestyles, through initiatives including intensive participation in the curriculum of JMS. The Centre thus offers full-time Honours and Masters degrees in Health Journalism and short courses for working journalists in the health journalism field. Further details are on our website.


Director: Harry Dugmore

Harry is the inaugural director of the Centre for Health Journalism. Harry has a long-standing interest in health and medical journalism and in the media’s ability to influence health behaviours and shape health identities. In the 1990s, Harry co-wrote the first four seasons of the Soul City TV series and headed up the Soul City Radio writing team. Between 2002 and 2006, Harry was one of the co-ordinators of Khomanani, the then government’s HIV, AIDS and TB mass media communication campaign.

In 2007, Harry also created the On the Money finance behaviour change programme, which is still the largest financial education behaviour change programme in South Africa. On the Money draws heavily on public health-based theories of media and behaviour change.  

Harry coordinated the research and development of two national long-range scenario-based strategic planning exercises for the South African Presidency, the 2014 Memories of the Future project (in 2002/3) and the 2025 The Future we Chose project (in 2007/8), both prepared for the Presidency's GCIS unit.

Over the past decade, in addition to his work for the Presidency, Harry has facilitated scenario-based strategic planning exercises for many companies and organisations, including the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Cape Town, the Legal Resources Centre, the Institute for Security Studies and various private companies and NGOs.

Harry is a Fellow of Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection.

Harry was the MTN Chair of Media and Mobile Communication at Rhodes JMS before starting the Centre for Health Journalism. As part of the MTN Chair, Harry managed the R5million Iindaba Ziyafika project between 2009 and 2011. This project explored ways of creating a more participatory journalism in a digital and mobile age, and developed the Nika and NikaNOW software which is available for use by community media or conferences such as Highway Africa.

Harry is currently on the steering committee of the Highway Africa conference, the largest annual conference for African journalists. He is also Deputy Chair of the Board of the David Rabkin Project for Experiential Journalism, which is the publisher of Grocott's Mail, South Africa's oldest independent newspaper. 

In the late 1980s, Harry was part of the editorial team that created Laughing Stock, South Africa's first regular satirical magazine. He was also a regular feature writer for Living and Tribute magazines. From 1992, Harry was part of the team that created the Madam & Eve cartoon strip with Stephen Francis and Rico Schacherl. In 1999 Harry co-authored the best-selling book Nelson Mandela – a life in cartoons. Combining his interest in humour and health behaviour change, Harry gave a TEDx Talk entitled The Laughing Child in 2012 about health and other benefits of injecting more laughter into parenting.

Harry has a PhD in history from University of Witwatersrand where he was chair of the Postgraduate Association and editor of both the Wits Student student newspaper and the Rag Magazine Wits Wits

Harry can be contacted at h.dugmore@ru.ac.za.

Last Modified: Fri, 19 May 2017 10:59:17 SAST