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Spot On newspaper workshop

The name is right, the people are right and the place is right – it’s all Spot On. The Thabang Society, which runs a health clinic in the township of Tumahole, Parys, has launched a newspaper appropriately called Spot On. Adult and child sufferers from HIV-Aids get expert treatment and support from the society which relies on donor funding locally and abroad.

Now with the launch of the newspaper – which has already seen two editions – Thabang is bringing a new kind of desperately needed service to the community. It’s all about communication, news, views and interviews on all the burning issues facing people in this poor and marginalised community. Tumahole is classic apartheid-style “black township” on the edge of a town that remains largely white. While townspeople are fairly well served by a variety of commercial newspapers, the township itself has never had its own paper. People have relied on word of mouth and the rumour mill for news.

This will all change.  An enthusiastic group of volunteer journalists and editors attended a one-day workshop on community newspaper publishing goals and strategy. Held at the small conference facility of Otters’ Haunt on the banks of the Vaal River, just near Parys, the workshop covered essential skills of news editing and planning, writing, interviewing and editorial organisation. Not much could be covered in detail. But considering that most of the 13-strong group had never received any training in journalism, it was a start. Some of Thabang’s volunteer staff from Germany also attended the workshop.

Go here for the presentation (1MB) given by former communications professor Graeme Addison. The plan from here is to raise funding for more training in journalism, marketing & promotions, business administration & management, and production and distribution. There is also some hope that major newspaper groups could agree to treat Spot On as a training ground for beginners on an internship basis. Watch this space!

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