A Memoir To My Honours Degree

A very wise professor quoted Aristotle on my first day of law school: “The law is without passion”. Wait, that was Legally Blonde’s memoir to her degree.

Let’s try again, this year was like Elreze Lessing’s food, it has something of everything in it and there are always unpredicted repercussions. This year’s dish served a lot of learning, writing, sweating, designing and tears in it. It also taught me valuable lessons, like people aren’t always what they seem. Sometimes the people closest to you can be really nasty underneath and sometimes people can surprise you about how much they care.

I spent my favourite moments in an office with cat pictures, framed newspapers, an unbelievably stylish woman frantically typing on her computer, and a doctorates degree in the corner. I was fortunate enough to also spend most of my time there.

Back to the great people, or should I rather call them by their real names, the lecturers. The absolute best of the best, it’s sort of like being trained by the Justice League or X-men. Yes, they taught us to use our powers, people! (I’m so happy I could finally use that analogy).

But they didn’t only teach us how to be an ethical journalist. Our senseis also taught us to be better people. It’s sort of like Superman isn’t only a superhero when facing villains, he’s also fighting evil when he’s Clark Kent, the reporter.

This year was tough; personally as well as academically, but those two hard ships created a passion. The Diary Of A Warrior was created and for that I am thankful, it’s like two loves finally united, and definitely better than Twilight. And through it, hopefully, I can do some good, like my senseis did. Empathy is key; they taught me, not only through media ethics, press codes and the BCCSA; but through the way they treated me and my classmates. We were so few and yet they always listened and did their best to prepare us for the future as crime fighting journos.

Now that sounds like a franchise.

Studente se Rol in Die Tlokwe Verkiesing

Vandag is 3 Augustus 2016. Politieke kenners voorspel dat die verkiesing so interessant gaan wees soos die 1994 verkiesing. As student, is daar baie gefokus op studente in die Potchefstroom-area. Sonder die studente is Potchefstroom maar leeg, so dit is ‘n definitiewe groot rol wat studente speel in die verkiesing.

Baie studente het hulle opinie oor hierdie onderwerp gelug. Die dag voor die verkiesing het ʼn paar studente met my gesels.

Charonike Nel, koördineerder van studente media, se in die bogenoemde video dat “100 sente maak ‘n Rand, en sonder jou sent kan daar nie ‘n Rand wees nie. Jy moet stem.” ‘n Ander student, Juanre van der Westhuizen, sê dat hy dink dis belangrik as ‘n student om te wys dat jy ‘n opinie het as gevolg van politiek.

ʼn Paar studente het ook op verkiesingsdag hul mening gelug; Bernadette Jacobs, ʼn derdejaarstudent op die NWU-Puk het gese dat dit ons plig as gemeenskap is om te stem. Marli Oosthuizen, ʼn tweedejaarstudent op die PUK, het gesê dat mense nie mag kla as hulle nie gestem het nie.

All-focus
Bernadette Jacobs en haar vriende wat in die stemry staan.

Volgens Prof. Fika Janse van Rensburg, rektor van die Noordwes-Universiteit Potchefstroomkampus, moet studente die geleentheid om te stem benut.

“Elke persoon wat nie stem nie, veroorsaak dat die meting wat deur die stemmery plaasvind, nie akkuraat is nie. Die feit dat dit op die Potchkampus goed gaan, moenie tot gevolg hê dat studente dink daar is mense wat wel sorg dat alles bly goed gaan nie. Potchefstroom en Suid Afrika het juis ook jou mening nodig,” het hy gesê.

Voormalige PUK rektor, Prof. Annette Combrink het ook die volgende te se gehad oor die studente wat moet stem. Kyk na die video hier.

Volgens ʼn vooraf persoonlike opname het 88% van die studente wat registreer het, waarmee ek gesels het, gaan stem.

Die stempunt by die Kandelaar kerk die oggend om nege-uur.

 

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Studente nie gepla deur koue nie.

Jean-Mari Redelinghuys vertel van haar pa wat in Kanada drie ure gery het om te gaan stem by die Suid-Afrikaanse ambisade. Kyk na die video hier.

Baie lede van die gemeenskap was omgekrap oor die Ventersdorp en Potchefstroom samesmelting. Baie het in die plaaslike koerant, die Potchefstroom Herald, daaroor gekla, ander deur middel van sosiale media asook ʼn hele paar mense waarmee ek gepraat het deur die dag.

Elaine van der Aardt, ʼn tweedejaarstudent, se dat sy ʼn baie slegte gevoel het oor die samesmelting en dat daar ʼn definitiewerede daarvoor is. Sy het ook gese dat dit onregverdig is, omdat “ons as gemeenskap geen se in die samesmelting gehad het nie.”

Op die einde van die dag het die ANC die Tlokwe munisipaliteit gewen, maar ook net-net. Die nuwe Tlokwe-munisipaliteit is in 67 setels ingedeel. Met 34 setels het die ANC gewen en 33 is gevat deur die DA.

26 Miljoen mense het geregistreer om aan die verkiesing deel te neem. ‘n Totaal van 64% landswyd het gaan stem.

 

How charts changed my idea of writing

The Menell Media Exchange conference provides an opportunity for journalists to share information and learn from each other. The MMX is a project from Duke University and was held at the Maslow Hotel in Johannesburg.

An exciting program on Friday, 19 August, showed once again how passionate we are about anything to do with Journalism. Out of all the conference sessions, the one I particularly enjoyed was the “Telling stories with data” session lead by Laura Grant, an independent media consultant. I found it interesting in many factors. And as Grant quoted Cairo:

“We use graphs and maps because they help us to see the truth in the data.”

-Alberto Cairo

And then it hit me; all those stories I’ve written about numbers, amounts and percentages could have worked and looked much better with a graph. I also learned that putting numbers in a graph can make it much easier for me to see what the results are. Sometimes we write something, but you don’t “see” it in your mind nor understand it. And how can you explain it to your reader if you do not understand it yourself?

Let’s take the petrol price as an example, a price that fluctuated profoundly in the past year. If I saw the amounts in the form of a graph, I would’ve seen the fluctuation and illustrated it better. Another example is the exchange rate of the rand; which swayed more than the cast of Dirty Dancing. Speaking about dirty, the exchange rate was quite a ballerina when President Zuma had a few Minister of Finances in only one week. And I must say that a graph of this year’s exchange rate would be quite interesting.

Grant also focussed on an extreme presentation method. Giving us tips and tricks and even questions to ask ourselves when we design a graph. Questions like “is there a comparison?”, “which composition would look best?”, “what is the distribution?” and lastly “is there a relationship in the data?”

As a designer myself, she spoke of a few programs I know and also introduced me to other alternatives. Google Sheets and Datawrapper being my favourite data programs to work with were also mentioned, including Cloud Highcharts, Pictochart, Infogram and more.

Allister Otter, a friend in the media of Grant, spoke about maps and how it can be used for a lot of news stories, even if you just want to see a visual to describe it better to the reader. Otter used the elections as an example, showing how easy it is to make a map if you have the correct information. Google my Maps and Batch Geo were some of his favourite programs to use.

Another much-loved saying that we enjoyed was the fact that pie charts are a total no go, but if you use them, make sure it adds up to a 100. Our honours class and I think our lecturers will agree that although we learned a lot, our favourite part of the conference, was the amazing food.