We eat what we afford, being healthy is second

 

We often hear the saying “We are what we eat”, but are we really? Would you say that the same saying applies for people who are out of options – people consuming food merely because it is the only food that they can afford. Each and every individual is aware of the importance of nutritious food yet you still find people consuming unhealthy, unsafe and culturally inappropriate foods. Many poor people are out of depth when it comes to eating healthy and maintaining or living a healthy lifestyle as result of poverty. This article sets to identify what I consider to be food-related challenges and also, as a journalist, how I could play a role in seeing that Capetonians move from poverty to fostering a healthier and a more conscious food system in Cape Town.

 

Study conducted by the Oranjezicht City Farm in the Food Dialogues report speaks on the importance of shaping the food system, providing an opportunity for food growers, academics, activists, writers, nutritionists, food lovers and anyone interested in sustainable approaches to engage in key issues intimately connected to the food we eat and the future of food in Cape Town. However, I have gathered that this report does seem to take light consideration about the core issues behind the unhealthy and unsafe consumption of food in the area.

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A street shop selling “fresh fruit” in Woodstock

Cape Town is a diverse city, consisting of black, coloured, white, Indian and other  races –  to an extent the Food Dialogues report seems to carry little relevance to the poverty-stricken majority being black and coloured people.  We must remember that Cape Town is also a highly classist society, meaning that people coming from Cape Town cannot be sowed with the same needle and that is what this report seemingly does. A socio-economic profile of the City of Cape Town 2016 shows that the poverty headcount lies at 2,6% with 13,9% of households having no income. Also, the poverty intensity lies at 39,3% in 2016 – meaning that already 39,3% of the city’s population cannot relate to the content of the food report. That constitutes as almost half of the people cannot access healthy foods but have to eat what they can afford which is pretty much maize meal, samp and beans, and other low-priced foods that are commonly bought at affordable supermarkets and street vendors. With all that being set and stone, this is the headlining challenge faced by Cape Town’s people. Poverty opens the flood gates to non-nutritious eating, being the leak to other challenges like obesity, diabetes and huge array of health-related problems through unsafe eating habits.

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A mama selling fruit and vegetables near the station 

As a journalist, it is important that I inform and educate the masses about the dangers of unhealthy eating. Also, I carry the responsibility to research and analyse the common practices of food-related activity. Part of this task includes breaking down and re-evaluating the problems faced and educating the public about sustainable ways to eat healthy individually as per class and social standing – reflecting how you as someone from Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Mitchell’s Plain can live a healthier lifestyle with what you can afford.

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Media endorsing political parties

Being the ‘fourth estate’ carries much responsibility, a responsibility that is structured through ethical discipline and abiding by a set of news values. These news values and media ethics are in no means entangled with political obligations and should not amount to fulfilling any political demands. The ideal of the news media successfully fulfilling a political role that transcends its commercial obligations has been seriously battered. It’s power, commercial ambitions and ethical weakness have undermined it’s institutional standing (Schultz, 1998). This article sets to establish and motivate the argument around the competing professional values in the endorsement of political parties by media – more especially in the South African context. Also, to validate the subject using a classical ethical framework and discuss the media policy, laws and regulations surrounding the subject.

 

The media constitute much more than a channel of communications; they are part of the political process itself, affecting, and not merely reflecting, the distribution of power in society at large (Heywood, 2013).  This highlights the importance of media and in simple terms specifies the power that media holds – with media becoming the primary body between society and the state. With that being said, it is crucial that media operates responsibly and ethically correct based on the significance of the role it plays. Now, just like politics, media also employs specific ideologies and critical thinking that helps ensure proper use of the tool. Basically, media and journalists should never compromise the law, ethical values, code of practices and conduct or policy to adhere to any political fantasies – this upholds the independence of the profession of journalism and maintains its respect. To substantiate this argument, I have employed Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative.

German philosopher from the 18th century, Immanuel Kant came up with a theory known as the Categorical Imperative – this theory is structured under deontological meta-ethics, meaning that journalists or media cannot base their decisions around things such as belief, reason or universality. Deontological ethics are best suited in this discussion because they do not consider the result of an act but believes that an act can only be right or wrong, acceptable or unacceptable.  Employing this ethical approach in the endorsement of political parties would clearly define whether it right or wrong. Deontologists abide by policy and makes decisions based on what’s lawful or what written policy says.

In South Africa, media is regulated using section 16 of the Bill of Rights – providing that everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes: (a)  Freedom of the press and other media; (b)  Freedom to receive and impart information or ideas; (c)  Freedom of artistic creativity; and (d)  Academic freedom and freedom of scientific research. (2)  The right in subsection (1) does not extend to: (a)  Propaganda for war; (b)  Incitement of imminent violence; or (c)  Advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm (The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996). Other regulatory bodies including the Press Council of South Africa (PCSA), the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and the Broadcast Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) help ensure that media functions with absolute lawfulness.

In 2009, a case between African National Congress (ANC) and City Press saw the PCSA deliver a ruling reflecting in favour of the ANC. The City Press published an article headlined “Phosa tries muzzle City Press” appearing on the front page of the newspaper on the 16th of August 2009. The article made damning claims, showing a rift between ANC treasurer-general Dr Mathews Phosa and Kgalema Motlanthe. The notion of the article was to show factional battles within the ruling party, claiming Phosa leaked damaging information about Motlanthe to ruin his chances of succeeding President Jacob Zuma. The PCSA ruled in favour of Phosa, finding the City Press guilty of not giving Phosa sufficient time to respond, reporting in an partial manner and using unverified sources (Press regulation in South Africa: an analysis of the Press Council of South Africa, the Press Freedom Commission and related discourses, 2015)

These regulatory bodies condemn the act of media playing public relations officer to the political organisations of this country. However, due to the non-absolutism of each law or policy, we find that some media houses are often associated with the issue of endorsing some political narratives. The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is often associated with the country’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) but with the SABC being the national broadcaster it makes sense that this is the case. The laws and regulations do not limit the media to association with any organization even though, it does seek to ensure that the views expressed does not convey propaganda.

In conclusion, ethics are a fundamental entity in journalism – without them, we would find ourselves in problematic situations and at worst prone to war and civil disharmony. Media holds great power and that power cannot be vested in the hands of unethical individuals and organizations that seek to solely benefit from their irresponsible actions. Morals and ethics is often what drives us as humans and ideologies are used to establish the sort of individuals we are or ought to become. The journalism fraternity breathes on ethical discipline and in no instance, should an ethical conscious be disobeyed.

 

Bad Blood, the feature of a Russian-British assassination. 

Will Storr is a phenomenal novelist and journalist – who has written some of the most well-appreciated books and feature stories. He is an award-winning writer who authors prolific books like Selfie and The Heretics. Storr also, on countless occasions appeared in newspapers supplements like the Sunday Telegraph, Guardian Weekend and the Sunday Times Magazine. 

Having read the piece – I’ve gathered an admiration for this feature story called Bad Blood, it is well written, containing all principles of a great piece. Firstly, feature writing anything written in a feature-oriented way. Storr writes this piece to such an extent that shows how well-informed he is about this story. This feature gives a clear perspective into investigative journalism and research – let alone the writing. It starts off with a beautiful intro filled with a descriptive and detailed setting at a tea table. For me, this awakens imagination and triggers an impulse to engage in the story. 

Certainly, what makes this feature unique is that for writers to produce such exquisite writing – they must incorporate facets of writing often not seen in ordinary news stories, those often found in fiction writing, including well-studied and researched content consisting, of quotes, anecdotes, and a bundle of gathered data – Storr clearly blossoms that.  

More so, this feature is impactful in a sense that it engages the reader into the demons of the Russian and British government. It also speaks to the secret happenings at the highest level of our governments. It is most definite that this is what happens at the highest levels of power. Also, this piece educates the reader about the science of a murder. The in-depth description of what the poison does to the body provides schooling on a subject which not many can comprehend.  

This piece is well-worth the praise. The focus on the human element compels a sense of emotion and interest from the reader. Concluding sentiments are that it is a ‘must read’ and this is what seems to be an epitome of feature writing. 
 

Roeland runs these streets.

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See this an invite to a street filled with life, an experience into a street like no other. I am speaking Roeland Street, just outside Cape Town’s central business district. It is only right that one is well aware of what they could be missing out on. Roeland is filled with variety, think of some..yes, you probably do find what you just thought about in Roeland. Schools, government buildings, restaurants and many other commercial shops. So basically there is nothing Roeland doesn’t offer, except a beach of course. It is also quite an easy street to find, even if you’re someone without a car then worry not because we have a local buses, MyCiti cuts right through it and we have the Sigh Seeing bus operating with a route that travels in Roeland. So making your way around and to Roeland shouldn’t be a hassle.

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Starting from upper Roeland, making your from the N2 into Cape Town you’ll be greeted a the Cape Town Central Fire Station. It is hard not to notice the building as it takes up a large amount of space and of course, it is painted in a lively color and with red bricks which is another reason for its eye-grabbing ways. One can see the view of the famous Table Mountain right behind this building which makes it even more of a site to see. However, that is only the beginning of great things to see.

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Cape Town Central Fire station in Roeland.

When you carry on your way down Roeland you’ll find academic buildings. The first one being the Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Roeland Campus which you’ll find journalism, public relations and photography students. Also. there is a high school named Harold Cressy in the same and further down the street, there is Varsity College. This reflects Roeland as not only just a business street. This is a very youthful street due to these schooling premises and also the type of things that the street offers.

You don’t need to switch into another street just to grab something to eat, Roeland has a variety of eateries. If you wanna grab a quick muffin and some coffee on the run then you can easily make your way to Barista Cup Coffee. It is right next to the CPUT Roeland campus. Also, there is Vida e Caffe which offers such a great deal of eatery and beverages. If you go further down there is also a Chinese food restaurant called Franchise 9, it’s a great spot for those who are into sushi, prawns, etc.

Do you like adrenaline? Then I’m quite sure that the Mike Hopkins Motorcycles will interest you. Mike Hopkins Motorcycles is a stockist of Kawasaki and Triumph motorcycles and Sym scooters and its based in Cape Town, South Africa. With a rich heritage it has been in operation since 1978, offering the market over three decades of superior quality motorcycles, clothing, helmets and accessories, as well as quality repairs and services.

“I’ve been here for a while now and this is my third year on this street. It’s a pretty chilled street and it’s calming. Also, everything is here like me and my friends can go down the road to get something to eat and it’s not even far. Or, we just cross the road to get some snacks here at the Engen garage. I love it here man, main campus gets too much and Roeland is just so refreshing, if you get what I mean hahaha.”

 

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St. Mary’s Cathedral, Roeland street.

St. Mary’s Cathedral, fully known as The Cathedral of St Mary of the Flight into Egypt is a Roman catholic church within the street. It has a beautiful, classic and tall building at lower Roeland. One can make their way to it, even if you won’t be attending it’s still a good sight to see. It is a tall beige-like structure with bits of red and it open to everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right down Roeland there is Parliarment, South Africa’s national key point. You will be greeted by a statue of P.W. Botha, who was president from 1978 to 1989 under the apartheid era. The statue is a reflection of South Africa’s history and for more information; people can visit the Iziko South African Museum in 25 Queen Victoria Street, right next to Parliament. As well as the Iziko Slave Lodge in Wale Street.

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P.W. Botha statue facing Roeland

What happens next Gunners?

 

Following Arsenal’s horrendous display at the Allianz Arena in Munich; it is safe to say that the side needs serious intervention. The club lost 5 goals to 1 with that result equaling their heavy Uefa Champions League defeat to the same side just two years ago. Who is to blame? Is it Arsenal’s management? Is it Wenger? Is it the players? Surely someone has to take the fall for this.

 

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Arsenal players showing no fight in them.

 

Arsenal may be wishing that they could put that night’s woes behind their backs as soon as possible however it is fair that we as football lovers have their 2 cents regarding the matter. What went wrong? Everything! There is certainly a handful of issues to scrutinize:

Arsene Wenger.

The manager has been at the helm for 20 years and has not won a major title in 13 years. There have been so many calls for him to leave the club but the Frenchman seems resolute. I believe that Arsene is a very good coach, he is highly capable of winning titles as we’ve previously seen but that’s just not happening right now. I think it is absolutely unfair that he remains at the club while constantly brings disappointment to the side. Arsene clearly has no solutions to club’s problems. He has failed to make it past the last 16 in 7 years, that is a terrible statistic for a side like Arsenal. I believe that Arsenal has been heavily bonded with Wenger and that has now instilled fear of change.

The players.

Going into the halftime break with the score being tied; the players walked down the tunnel in high spirit and confident. just 8 minutes into the second half they conceded a goal and the rest is history. What was disappointing to see was a bunch of professionals walking with their heads down with no fight in them. The players lacked character and leadership. One would expect Alexis Sanchez to get up and fight but he simply couldn’t. Mesut Ozil showed what was possibly the worst performance of his career however that wasn’t the least expected thing from him after being known for not playing well in big games. The players had no drive whatsoever and they showed no real intent to come out will a result. Their mentality was so poor, ambitionless.

Mesut Ozil

Ozil is a world-class player, everyone is well aware of his technical ability and the threat he possess but on the night I saw an Ozil that’s dead inside. Yes, he walked and failed to press however I do believe that the criticism has been too harsh. His agent believes it is not fair to single out Ozil out of the 11 that were fielded and that he is being used as a “scapegoat” for the defeat. I agree, one simply cannot bash him alone for that. Ozil’s body language has always been that way even when he’s playing his best football, it is the way he perceives himself. The issue of him not showing up in big games is also arguable because if you look at Arsenal in big games; they also do not come out tops really. Mustafi was horrible in that game too, Oxlade-Chamberlain fumbled but where were the critics to point out that? Yes, Mesut is having a terrible run of form but it is harsh to pinpoint him to Arsenal’s woes. Such behavior from the supporters could see him not renewing his contract with the club.

Arsenal needs change. They need to seal deals with Alexis and Ozil which will attract other world-class players in the summer transfer window. From there onwards they can build and hopefully a major title will be headed to the Emirates. Also, they must sack Wenger and bring in a new manager who does not necessarily have to bring instant change.The question on whether who would be a good replacement is a topic for another day.

 

Numbers, stats, graphs and figures to create news.

Now you’re a journalist; you’re in the newsroom thinking and planning your next story and then suddenly your editor hands you a document filled with numbers, statistics rather and says “Give me a story”. You’re are to produce a story on stats, that’s data journalism right there! It is creating content out of statistics, graphs, analysis, and even pundit’s opinions. Journalists do not really need to be always going out there, chasing stories and making calls. Data journalism is much more laid-back than the other forms of journalism.

Sports and business reporting are the most common examples of data journalism. Data journalism requires a lot of time and many skills; so many parties could be involved in this namely;  journalists, researchers, statisticians, information designers, data and text analysts, information visualisation specialists and web developers even, because of data in the modern world being strictly computer-oriented.

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Raw data which is the formulated into great articles and reports.

Think of data-driven journalism in sport, soccer maybe. Let’s say there has been reports constantly criticising Mesut Ozil‘s performances for Arsenal, right? Now the English Premier League captures statistics of players, through data-driven journalism I as a journalist would then have a look at his recent performances in comparison to previous performances that were considered good. I would have to sit with the data, read and understand it, analyse the data and finally communicate the data. At the end of it all, data-driven journalism would’ve have enabled me to write an article that refutes the criticism against Ozil’s performances of late. That’s the beauty of it, it depicts facts.

In the business side of things; I guess we’ve all noticed that in every news bulletin there is a business news section. How do you think all those numbers, commodities, figures, financial projections, etc come about? Simple, data journalism! There are databases containing this form of data and of course it is constantly updated because the financial world is always in motion and you probably have heard of the saying that says “money makes the world go around”, makes sense? Proceeding, financial reporters are in possession of this data and they then analyse and formulate and broadcast the most recent data.

Data-driven journalism is very much about facts because numbers don’t lie. There’s just so much that this sort of journalism does it can create personalised calculators to help people to make decisions, be this buying a car, a house, deciding on an education or professional path in life or doing a hard check on costs to keep out of debt. These journalists can analyse the dynamics of a complex situation like riots or political debates, show the fallacies and help everyone to see possible solutions to complex problems.

In conclusion, data-driven journalism has introduced a new dynamic to the profession. The dynamic being reporting on what’s under the surface and great piece of verification in the work produced. It is certainly a great form of journalism that young and upcoming journalist are likely to be interested in as it indulges very much into modern technology with computers, databases, online surveys, etc. Cheers to data-driven journalism!

 

 

Robots: Humans, leave journalism to us.

The rise of machines in has been a revelation for many and machinery simplifies things, right? Yes! a 30-minute manual or humanized task would simply take machines half of that time maximum. This now applies in journalism, there is now something called automated journalism which is synonymous to robot journalism.

In a BBC article, Stephen Beckett states that robo-journalism is the process of automatically writing complete and complex news stories without any human intervention.

It is commonly used in sports reports and business reports.

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Computer-oriented newsroom, a depiction of how much human journalist there’ll be in a newsroom.

One would quickly note the element of no human intervention. As much as we’re in a generation of modern technology and innovative electronics, we simply cannot overlook the human factor. The perks of robo-journalism is that these machines are much more efficient and they can work longer than what a human journalist would manage to. They save time and money to a certain extent. More stories are produced with less people to pay. They contain algorithms that produce stories with no journalists being in the field running around chasing a story. Software is programmed and it is of pure artificial intelligence, also meaning that they less likely to make errors in comparisons to humans. This type of journalism has reach in terms of they can secure stories out of human journalist’s reach, it’s easy to secure and report on international stories. With all this being said and done, the biggest advantage will be seen in the revenue of the companies that make use of it. Since we all have become aware that in this world we live in now it is all about money, so it’s quite likely for many to say robo-journalism is the future.

The downside of automated journalism is that it eliminates jobs for human journalists. Professionals with experience and who have studied journalism with qualifications in media are compromised. Reporting is computerized, so where is the human aspect and feel into the stories? The beauty of the craft is destroyed. The industry is being minimized, the more the robot journalism trend is encouraged and made use of then the workers in the industry are doomed. Another factor is that computers need to be maintained and serviced, software need updates regularly to be working at its potential best. Quite frankly that’s money, money that human journalists would not have cost you.

In conclusion; yes it is nice to move with the times and make use of the modern media. However the traditional way of gathering, verifying and disseminating information is where the beauty of the craft lies. It’s where readers can feel and see the passion behind their news and stories. After having a thorough look at robot journalism, one will see that it won’t be a great influence for journalism the future. As much it is more efficient than human but it does not have the qualities that humans can reflect in their reporting. Human journalism can be creative, intellectual and artistic. Basically I propose a vote of no confidence in robo-journalism because it’s just a way to generate more revenue for a small minority and will see the majority of journalists losing their jobs.

There will be no life and passion in newsroom, simply the sound of machines and air-cons.