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SPI graduate launches a free sheet in Zim

Date Released: Tue, 23 July 2013 11:07 +0200

Postgraduate Diploma in Media Management 2012 alumnus Harry Davies has wasted no time putting the skills and knowledge he gained from the Sol Plaatje Institute’s year-long course to work. Harry is the business manager of the Harare News which launched in Zimbabwe on 1 July this year. The free sheet has a print run of 10 000 copies and can be read online at www.hararenews.co.zw.  SPI Deputy Director Peter du Toit (PDT) asked Harry (HD) about the launch of the new title.

PDT: Can you tell us what motivated you and the others involved to start the publication?

HD: I have always wanted to work in the media and always wanted to live in Zimbabwe. After graduating from Rhodes University in 2007 with an Honours in literature I lived in Ireland and London for a spell, and then in South Korea for two-and-a-half years. Seeing the way people use technology and interact with the news and each other in these developed nations made me see how far Zimbabwe and indeed Africa still have to go in many areas. I was always seeing new and innovative concepts and services in marketing and communication and the manner in which Africa is leapfrogging technology means that there is a lot of scope for some of the finished products I saw in Asia over here already.

I came to the end of my contract as the curriculum coordinator at a government language institute in Korea and started to scour for training opportunities that would invigorate my thinking about how to start a media business. I looked at options in India and America, but kept returning to the SPI website where the allure of the PDMM curriculum beckoned. I was reluctant to return to Rhodes (diversity is best) but ultimately the offering seemed unparalleled.

There was a massive absence in Harare of community news other than H-Metro which is a tabloid riddled with mythical creatures and gossip. It was also surprising to me how much good stuff is going on in this city every day. This place is blossoming, culturally, socially and economically. Unfortunately this is not reflected in the big dailies and weeklies which are caught up with political mudslinging. We saw the need for something positive, community-focused and representative, a newspaper with issues that the average reader is actually able to influence. We are hoping to cultivate a bit of grassroots activism around issues that affect us as a community.

Read the full article on the SPI website or visit their blog.