Tell Our Story

Multiplying voices in the news media
Author(s): ,
  • Publication Date: May 2020
  • Dimensions and Pages: 229 x 152; 216pp
  • Paperback EAN: 978-1-77614-577-5
  • PDF EAN: 9781776145782
  • Rights: World
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 300.00
  • Recommended Price (USD): 20.00

Tell Our Story is a valuable addition to the South African discourse on media freedom: the
authors examine the issue through the lens of grassroots communities in struggle, within a
theoretical framework of listening. Media freedom is most often seen from the point of view
of journalists. Here, the emphasis is on the right to be heard, represented, understood, and to
be included.
— Professor Glenda Daniels, Journalism and Media Studies, University of the Witwatersrand

What sets the book apart from other similar studies in this area is firstly its painstaking
empirical work in South African communities (which says a great deal about the authors’
ability to gain the trust of these communities and their own ability to listen to the voices of
the people); and secondly its attempt to derive from this interaction practical and concrete
suggestions for improvement of journalism that moves beyond a mere critique.
— Professor Herman Wasserman, Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town

This book offers a fresh and useful approach that will add significantly to the growing body of
literature that critiques the mainstream media.
— Professor Franz Kruger, Journalism and Media Studies, University of the Witwatersrand

The dominant news media are often accused of reflecting an ‘elite bias’, privileging and foregrounding the interests of a small segment of society while ignoring the narratives of the majority. The authors of Tell Our Story investigate this problem and offer a hands-on demonstration of listening journalism and research in practice. In the process they dismiss the idea that some groups are voiceless, arguing that what is often described in such terms is mostly a matter of those groups being deliberately ignored.

Focusing their attention on three very different South African communities they delve into the life and struggle narratives of each, exposing the divide between the stories told by the people who actually live in the communities and the way in which those stories have been understood and shaped by the media. The three communities are those living in the Glebelands hostel complex in Durban where over 100 residents have been killed in politically motivated violence in the past few years; the Xolobeni community on the Wild Coast, which has been resisting the building of a new toll road and a dune mining venture; and Thembelihle, a settlement south-west of Johannesburg that has been resisting removal for many years. The book concludes with a set of practical guidelines for journalists on the practice of listening journalism.

List of Figures
Acknowledgements
Abbreviations and Acronyms
Chapter 1 The Importance of Voice and the Myth of the ‘Voiceless’ – Julie Reid
PART 1 FROM THE INSIDE: VOICE(S) FROM THE GROUND
Chapter 2 Community Perspective, Experience and Voice – Julie Reid and Dale T. McKinley
Chapter 3 Glebelands Hostel, Durban – Dale T. McKinley
Chapter 4 Xolobeni, Eastern Cape – Dale T. McKinley
Chapter 5 Thembelihle Community, Johannesburg – Dale T. McKinley
PART 2 FROM THE OUTSIDE: DOMINANT VOICE
Chapter 6 Dominant Media Telling and Elite Communication – Dale T. McKinley
Chapter 7 The Political Economy of Dominant Power and Storytelling – Dale T. McKinley
PART 3 NEW TRAJECTORIES FOR JOURNALISM AND VOICE(S)
Chapter 8 Media Diversity and Voice(s) – Julie Reid
Chapter 9 Rethinking Media Freedom, Revamping Media Ethics – Julie Reid
Chapter 10 Planting the Seeds of Change – Julie Reid
Notes
Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Julie Reid is based at the Department of Communication Science, University of South Africa and specialises in media studies.

Dale T McKinley is Research and Education Officer for the International Labour, Research and Information Group, and Senior Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology and Development Studies at the University of Johannesburg.

Tell Our Story is a valuable addition to the South African discourse on media freedom: the
authors examine the issue through the lens of grassroots communities in struggle, within a
theoretical framework of listening. Media freedom is most often seen from the point of view
of journalists. Here, the emphasis is on the right to be heard, represented, understood, and to
be included.
— Professor Glenda Daniels, Journalism and Media Studies, University of the Witwatersrand

What sets the book apart from other similar studies in this area is firstly its painstaking
empirical work in South African communities (which says a great deal about the authors’
ability to gain the trust of these communities and their own ability to listen to the voices of
the people); and secondly its attempt to derive from this interaction practical and concrete
suggestions for improvement of journalism that moves beyond a mere critique.
— Professor Herman Wasserman, Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town

This book offers a fresh and useful approach that will add significantly to the growing body of
literature that critiques the mainstream media.
— Professor Franz Kruger, Journalism and Media Studies, University of the Witwatersrand

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