Developmental Journalism


With this particular story, it was easy to fulfil my personal philosophy because the main intention of the piece was to explore the concept of development journalism. The story focused a lot on a grassroots approach in telling the story and even though the main actors or rather the people who constituted the main authority when considering the context of the story were the children, this presented a challenge because they were all under the age of 12 and asking them to articulate their health status and how this affected them would be hard, the way in which I circumvented this then was to talk to the closest authority I could find beside them which was the people who worked closely with them while still including them in the story. This I did through using them as ambiance and inserts throughout the package. I view this package as a very successful albeit slightly flawed attempt at development journalism however it is successful in that it stuck to the core premise of the journalistic approach and it failed in that in retrospect it presented a very one dimensional look at the plight of children affected and infected with HIV and AIDS, this is because of the fact that none of the families were in fact represented in the story, this could have added a lot to the piece and increased its impact on driving social awareness in the hopes of eventually affection social attitudes and ultimately social change.

This particular story has a lot of potential to develop further after broadcast because it tackles a very important aspect of society which has both national and regional importance and impact. This story can be followed up in a myriad of ways from different approaches in terms of both alternative and mainstream journalism. To further this story one of the most effective ways would be to turn the idea into a sort of series because even though all these children have something in common, many of their stories are not the same, they have had different life experiences and live completely different lives outside of the Raphael Centre, this presents the opportunity to include the families of these children in these stories and also to give a face to an issue in South Africa that is growing in its gravity, that being orphans and vulnerable children who are in those situations because of the HIV and Aids scourge. There is a very large segment of the population that are affected by this which would make this a very effective way in which radio stations could fulfil a mandate of social responsibility. Within a series format that would work along the same lines as radio documentaries the issue would be given a face and a place in society because of the grassroots approach. The effectiveness of this technique lies in the fact that a large segment of the population that is actually affected and infected with this disease to some extent feels isolated from the rest of society and those that are not affected or infected view this disease as distant and by giving it a name and a face the children and their families would be acting as social ambassadors for the cause of awareness about the disease. Another follow up story idea would be to then include other voices in the conversation, the voice of psychologists, health practitioners dealing with childhood development and how the lives these children are living can impact on their lives at a later stage of their development and the rest of their lives, this way the impact of their current situation is made real for the listener and the stakes are set out in demonstrating the possible eventualities without over dramatisation and exaggeration.  

The fight against HIV and Aids is hardest on the vulnerable. Raphael Centre in Grahamstown is dedicated to providing support to those infected and affected. Raphael Center in Grahamstown is doing alot to help the community fight the disease in more ways than one, the orphans and vulnarable children's program is an example of this