"...If ever there were an imperative moment for the study of journalism to more assertively make sense of the possibilities and perils of revenue generation or public and philanthropic support for news, it should be now..." Seth C. Lewis (2020)
On 18 March 2021, Highway Africa at Rhodes University's School of Journalism and Media Studies hosted the launch of the report Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: Reviving and Sustaining South African Journalism in a Post Covid World. The much-anticipated Covid-19 research report led by Harry Dugmore is a follow-up to 2019’s Paying the Piper. Both reports were funded by Open Society Foundation and they explore what South Africans can learn from experiments around the world to find novel ways to fund and sustain journalism.
The webinar was hosted by Francis Mdlongwa, head of Rhodes University’s Sol Plaatje Institute for Media Leadership
The launch was attended by more than 60 members of the public, stakeholders, journalists, students and others interested or associated with the media industry. Francis Mdlongwa (head of Rhodes University’s Sol Plaatje Institute for Media Leadership) hosted the webinar and the panellists consisted of Dr Harry Dugmore (Rhodes University, Makhanda/University of the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane), Bulelwa Ngewana (Executive Director, Open Society Foundation for South Africa) and Sbu Ngalwa (Chairperson, South African National Editors' Forum/Newzroom Afrika).
Webinar panelist Bulelwa Ngewana is the Executive Director of Open Society Foundation South Africa, the organisation which funded the report.
In the webinar, Dugmore presented the following highlights from the report:
- Direct and indirect 'social' subsidies, including world-wide trends toward more direct state support for local news media
- Understanding global approaches to Platform Power - collaboration or confrontation?
- Facilitating large-grant and small-gift philanthropy
- Data costs and the zero-rating of news
- Better ways of funding and securing the future of Public Service Media
- The currency of credibility – monetising trust in journalism through deeper listening and transparency
Commenting on the above key points, along with Ngewana, was webinar panelist Sbu Ngalwa, the Chairperson of the South African National Editors' Forum/Newzroom Afrika.
Even as the economics of journalism become more complex and challenging, there is an urgent need to step back and explore what approaches, policies and structured interventions can be put in place to secure the long-term future of journalism. As many other countries are realising, without new ways of thinking and funding journalism, there will be less journalism. And in some areas, unless we act, there will be no local journalism done at all.
In Dugmore’s words, and what the report undoubtedly reveals, is that “There is much to learn, much to share, and much to do”.
Launch poster inviting the public to a free panel discussion with Harry Dugmore, Bulelwa Ngewana, and Sbu Ngalwa on the Thinking Globally, Acting Locally research report
The Zoom recording of the webinar as well as the full PDF report has been made available to the public via YouTube. Watch the webinar recording HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7KH3e7NZwg
Download the full PDF report Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: Reviving and Sustaining South African Journalism in a Post Covid World HERE: https://highwayafrica.ru.ac.za/
Images sourced via YouTube webinar 2021
Launch poster design by Brian Garman