Moving on…

30 Nov

I’m moving on to a new URL and a new design and will be posting from from today. The site has all the old content from this blog.

See you there!


An about turn on Twitter

6 Dec

I’m happy to say that the Twitter profile is thriving, and I’ve had a lot of fun maintaining it. As jocoza is for a very niche audience (news and analysis for journalists in Southern Africa) the number of users can be low but the quality of conversation and exchange is relevant and lively.

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Power Reporting: The African Investigative Conference

27 Oct

My latest project for Wits Journalism has involved setting up a blog and Twitter account for the Power Reporting conference taking place from Nov 1 to Nov 3 at Wits University.

I managed to find a great free design on WordPress (yay for free blogging platforms!) and have had fun filling it with content … not so much chasing down people to submit content! I’m also getting more and more into the potential of Twitter and have started using it more frequently to send out notices and info for jocoza (@Journ_SA) and now for the conference (@PowerReporting). The accounts have different purposes, which makes tweeting interesting. Jocoza’s Twitter feed is more about the latest news and analysis pieces on the site, awards and opportunities and information sharing and gathering, while Power Reporting is obviously tied to the event and the tweets are more really more light in content and fleeting. It changes the way you tweet as well as the general flow of information shared, depending on the goal of the account.

It’s been quite a bit of fun and the next project will be doing something similar for the Wits Justice Project … this will also have a unique twist on it because it is a reporting project with long-term assignments that will need updates. There’s a lot of potential for multimedia in the assignments (audio slideshows, videos etc) and it should be interesting getting that content.

Why aren’t there more hours in the day?!

A different approach to xenophobia

6 Jul

A surprising tale from the Daily Sun

I had to pick up a copy of the Daily Sun when I saw the headline “Leave our Somalis Alone!” in the June 29 issue. The story describes the ordeal of a few Somali shopkeepers who were harassed by a group of teenagers in the community of Makhaza in the Western Cape. The community has decided to take a stand against xenophobia and after a meeting, ordered the boys to apologise for their poor behaviour and to leave the shopkeepers alone.

The Daily Sun is South Africa’s largest daily newspaper and is aimed at the black working class. A tabloid that sells for R2,30 ($0.30), around 300 000 copies are circulated amongst 2-million readers every day. The paper highlights sensational stories in local communities: Grandmothers argue over boyfriend! Sangoma ordered to return tortoises! Some of the stories are quite bizarre, but they are also interspersed with short stories on missing children, local charities and the efforts – or controversies – of community leaders and politicians.

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German fans celebrate in Johannesburg

6 Jul

My latest post for The New York Times ‘Goal’ blog was from the Goethe Institute in Johannesburg, during Germany’s 4-0 win over Argentina.

German Community in Jo’burg Delights in Team’s Performance

Some pics from the day:

German fans celebrate their team's 4-0 win over Argentina

A little boy peeks over a foosball table (the regular man's football pitch during the WC, they're scattered all over malls and centres in Johannesburg) in "The Trailer Park" installation at the Goethe Institute

A faux-seaside setting with pimped out trailers provides an innovative setting for the public to watch the football

Sadly I’ll miss the next major exhibition by the Institute, “X Homes,” which will have 14 international and local artists guiding participants through houses in Kliptown and Hillbrow, exposing them at 8-minute intervals to performances pieces or works of art. The aim of the exhibition is to counter the perception of the area as places of high crime; to expose people to the more positive aspects of the area, such as the four star hotel in Kliptown.

American soccer fandom alive and kicking

24 Jun

I'm not sure I want to know where those feathers are from ...

Let it never be said that Americans do not take their sports seriously. Even soccer! The fans supporting the U.S. team in Pretoria on June 23 were passionate, intense, involved throughout the game and incredibly excited about the win. Sadly, some were also rude, drunk, fond of cursing and eager to spray beer over the crowd when the U.S. scored a goal in the 91st minute.

It was fantastic to be at the game but I had mixed feelings about the crowd. I’m not a fan of crowds to begin with, and even less of a fan of people using a sporting event as an excuse to get rowdy and forget all the rules of civilized behavior. But this is the World Cup, and of course people are going to get insanely excited during games, so it’s tough to criticize. Prior to the game I went with an American journo to check out a gathering of U.S. fans at a local restaurant in Pretoria. It was quite early in the afternoon and the crowd was drinking quite a bit and hanging their arms around each other, singing golden-oldies with the lyrics changed for the occasion – as one tends to do before games. However some of the fans seemed to have lost their sense of personal space – I got slightly knocked about in the crowd – and they seemed very fond of inserting expletives into their songs, ruining the effects in my mind!

My friend explained to me that a small portion of the fan base likes to use the matches as an excuse to get a bit out of control, and often support for the U.S. team provides a good reason to express extreme patriotism and national pride in a way that Americans haven’t really been able to in the last ten years overseas. But the majority of the fan base are proud, polite and ardent supporters of the team, while a minority are an American version of British soccer hooligans!

All that being said, U.S. v. Algeria was the only game I attended when I was actually in the crowd, with the fans, so this post could probably apply to almost any team.

I really hope the U.S.  improves its game and advances – and that their nicer fan base is there to support them all the way.

And in other news, happily, another post for The New York Times Goal blog! South Africans Vow to Continue Celebration

For South Africa, a Different Holiday

17 Jun

My post on Bafana Bafana’s match with Uruguay falling on Youth Day, a public holiday that commemorates the anniversary of the Soweto uprising, was published in The New York Times Goal soccer blog yesterday. To my great happiness, it was also featured on the home page of the International News section!