The affordable education loan option
Johannesburg - The Wits University journalism department has released the first State of the Newsroom report, which discusses declining circulations in print media, shrinking newsrooms and retrenchments in the media industry.
The just over 100-page report, titled “State of the Newsroom South Africa 2013”, describes the industry as a “ship sailing into extreme headwinds of change”, but with an adventurous spirit.
The headwinds include:
* Shrinking newsrooms and retrenchments.
* Declining print circulations.
* Negotiating the digital-first strategy.
* Trying to make money from online journalism; and
* The press ombudsman’s rulings.
But the report documents good news too, as it hints that community media - both print and radio - appear to be growing, and some budgets for training are set to increase.
It found that in most newsrooms, most staff members were black, but not by a huge majority.
“The 2012/13 findings from the nine newsrooms surveyed - CNBC Africa, EWN, City Press, M&G, Sunday Times, Beeld, SABC, The Witness and Sowetan - were that the majority of journalists were black, at 61 percent, and that there was near gender equality, with women journalists comprising 49 percent.”
Regarding editors, 55 percent were black and 45 percent were white, the report states, with 55 percent male.
However, with editors from the main commercial newspapers belonging to the five print companies, the picture is slightly different: out of 42 editors, 23 are white and 19 are black, or 45 percent black.
With sex, it’s 29 male editors and 13 female, or 69 percent male.
“Drilling into gender dynamics, most of the nine newsrooms had equal, nearly equal and sometimes higher numbers of women than men.
“The exceptions were Sowetan and The Witness, which were male-dominated. There were no comments from women journalists regarding discrimination or victimisation.
“What is interesting to note is that the editors surveyed all said they were satisfied with race and gender transformation in their newsrooms (besides one SABC senior editor who found the public institution too black).”
The report notes that there were some grumbles from journalists who said their newsrooms were not adequately transformed but could not explain why they felt this way.
Glenda Daniels, who co-ordinated the project, said: “This is exciting. It’s like giving birth to a brand-new baby. But it is also like trying to take a picture of a moving object.”