South Africa needs to forge a new media system informed by research emanating from tools and models that accurately measures what they meant to measure.
According to Ylva Rodny-Gumede, Professor in the Department of Journalism, Film and Television at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the role of journalism in the ever-changing digital and social media environment opens up opportunities for transformation and decolonisation.
Professor Rodny-Gumede pointed out that those new models for the news media and the practice of journalism need to serve the vantage point of culture, politics, socio-economic factors, geographical location and/or technological advances and developments, when she delivered her professorial inauguration address, ‘Revisiting the role of the news media and journalism in South Africa: Convergence, Fragmentation and Decolonisation’. Prof Rodney-Gumede’s inaugural took place in the University’s Council Chambers, Madibeng Building, Auckland Park Kingsway Campus on Thursday, 12 July 2018.
She sketched some of the paradoxes and puzzles around the role of the news media in an ever-evolving digital and social media environment and how the Fourth Industrial Revolution can change journalism. Prof Rodny-Gumede argued: “There are unique challenges facing the news media in a post-colonial society such as South Africa, where transformation efforts have focused on breaking with racial as well as gender injustices of a more recent apartheid past, rather than longer continuous legacies of colonialism”.
While debates in South Africa post-apartheid have concerned transformation from various perspectives and in various sectors of society. Debates that variably and often interchangeably has foregrounded ideas of racial and gender equity in the newsroom as well as in the contents of the news media.
Prof. Rodny-Gumede said that it is the debates and the potentials of the Fourth Industrial revolution and new technology that will contribute to the transformation and decolonisation of the news media.
Prof Rodny-Gumede holds a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University as well as an MA degree in Politics from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa and an MA in Journalism from Cardiff University in the U.K.
A former journalist, Prof Rodny-Gumede has consulted for several government, private and academic institutions in Europe and Southern Africa on issues concerning media and democracy, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education, and the SADC Parliamentary Forum. Prof Rodny-Gumede’s current research includes investigating journalism practices in the post-colony, the transformation of communications and media studies curricula, including the broader transformation of higher education in South Africa.
Read Ylva Rodny-Gumede’s Professorial Inaugural full address entitled Revisiting the role of the news media and journalism in South Africa: Convergence, Fragmentation and Decolonisation’