You’d have to be insane to invest in interactive storytelling in South Africa. Web staff and new digital journalists need special skills; multimedia storytelling is time consuming and expensive; and – in an environment where online ad revenue and local connectivity is relatively low – returns (financial or users) are hardly guaranteed.
But the Daily Dispatch of East London is crazy. Like a fox – crazy.
Taking a medium term view, there has been an interesting shift as regards the prospects of press self-regulation in South Africa - and it's positive. This is the gist of my research paper presented at the SA Communications organisation conference in Potchefstroom today. SEPT 2010: Here's an updated version in the light of subsequent developments.
Squeezed into some 60 pages is a review of how digitisation is impacting on media in Southern Africa, and especially how the new digi-scape is impacting on state-owned broadcasters. It's been produced for distribution at the 13th Highway Africa conference to a mass of influential people in journalism and journalism education.
The government's Department of Communications has done well to revive the 1990s tradition of consultative policy development, with its recent discussion paper on the future of public broadcasting"
The Department has publicised pretty well the opportunity to respond to the 67 (not kidding!) questions raised in the paper, and it has also held physical stakeholder meetings around the country.