Putting a newspaper together is never an easy feat.
It is hours of research, making endless phone calls and emails to get to the crux of the matter, writing and re-writing sentences so that it can eventually make sense and become something meaningful to the reader.
But much more than that, putting a community newspaper together means bottomless cups of coffee, endless discussions with colleagues around the impact a story may have – it means second-guessing yourself up until the moment it has to go to the printers. It’s about reading each story – 170 of them sometimes, at least five times over because you want to do it justice, only to find – much to your annoyance – there is a typing error or spelling mistake.
While reading a few internet articles on the role of community newspapers, I came across an article written by the late Arne Jones III, who in essence grew up in the newspaper industry. She passed away in 2016, and an article she had written a few years before was republished in the Greenville Sun (of Greenville, Tennessee in the US).
Some of what she wrote resonated with me and I wish to highlight some of it.
Being a journalist is not an 8 to 5 – it’s a full-time commitment. It’s about missing out on family celebrations because you have to work, it’s about missing out on quality time with your nearest and dearest, and not being completely present in the moment. It’s about always knowing what’s happening so you can share that information with your audience 24/7, 365.
You dream, eat, sleep deadlines, getting to the press on time and how to stimulate circulation. You live the stories of the day - and sometimes go home and cry on your husband’s shoulder, because you feel for the parents who had just lost both their children in a car accident. Being a journalist is about going home at night, pouring a glass of wine and trying to make sense of it all…
A community newspaper is your concerned friend – we celebrate and mourn with you, support and promote good causes, we inform and educate you. But we are often taken for granted and become an easy target for unwarranted criticism.
If only I had a R1 coin for every time a grieving parent took their frustrations out on the journalist or the number of times I have been threatened, attacked even.
A community newspaper “is always there for its readers and fellow citizens, to be looked to and depended on. It envisions itself much less as a business trying to pay the bills by marketing a “product” than as a service in, and for, its community.
A concerned friend will always be truthful, and as a newspaper we have to be a reflection of what’s happening in the community; sometimes it’s bad and ugly, and not what one wants to see. But if we don’t report on it, who will?
Stuur jou mening van 300 woorde of minder na MyStem@netwerk24.com en ons sal dit vir publikasie oorweeg. Onthou om jou naam en van, ‘n kop-en-skouers foto en jou dorp of stad in te sluit.
Netwerk24 ondersteun ‘n intelligente, oop gesprek en waardeer sinvolle bydraes deur ons lesers. Lewer hier kommentaar wat relevant is tot die onderwerp van die artikel. Jou mening is vir ons belangrik en kan verdere menings of ondersoeke stimuleer. Geldige kritiek en meningsverskille is aanvaarbaar, maar hierdie is nie ‘n platform vir haatspraak of persoonlike aanvalle nie. Kommentaar wat irrelevant, onnodig aggressief of beledigend is, sal verwyder word. Lees ons volledige kommentaarbeleid
Hanlie Retief is 'n bekroonde skrywer en aanbieder van 'n Halfuur met Hanlie op Via.
Blouwillem is 'n voorheen bevoordeelde, tans geseënde middeljarige man.
Waldimar Pelser is redakteur van Rapport en aanbieder van 'In Gesprek' op kykNET.
Murray La Vita is 'n bekroonde rubriekskrywer en profielskrywer vir Netwerk24.
Ivor Price is 'n bekende radiopersoonlikheid en rubriekskrywer vir Netwerk24.
Piet Matipa is 'n draaiboekskrywer vir 7de Laan. Hy was voorheen 'n joernalis by Beeld in Pretoria.
Henry Jeffreys is 'n politieke kommentator en voormalige redakteur van Die Burger.
Johann Maarman is eindredakteur by Die Burger en 'n bekroonde rubriekskrywer.
Max du Preez is 'n outeur en joernalis. Hy was die stigtersredakteur van Vrye Weekblad.
Nathan Trantraal is 'n strokiesprentkunstenaar en digter van Kaapstad.
Annemarie van der Walt is 'n rubriekskrywer van Kaapsehoop in Mpumalanga.
Leopold Scholtz is 'n vryskutjoernalis en politieke kommentator.
Barnard Beukman is die redakteur van Beeld.
Gert Coetzee is redakteur van Volksblad.
Herman Lategan is 'n skrywer wie se rubrieke in 'Binnekring van Spookasems' gebundel is.
Sonja Loots is 'n dosent aan die Universiteit van Kaapstad en bekroonde outeur.
Sarel van der Walt is 'n joernalis vir Netwerk24 en 'n voormalige Londen-korrespondent vir Media24.
Charles Smith is Netwerk24 se nuusredakteur in Bloemfontein.
Hallo, jy moet ingeteken wees of registreer om artikels te lees.