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WORKSHOP FOR ARTS JOURNALISTS (article first published : 2007-07-20)

Would you like a career as an arts journalist? A one-week Women’s Month workshop for female writers is being held in Newtown from August 20 to 24 to help build a new generation of women writing about the arts in South Africa. It is supported by Standard Bank and is run in co-operation with the Joy of Jazz Festival which runs in Newtown from August 23 to 25.

Called Lady Porcupine, the course is named after the pen-name used by Johanna “Giddy” Phahlane, columnist for the Bantu World newspaper in the 1930s, and leader of the Merrymakers vaudeville troupe.

The course is facilitated by music writer Gwen Ansell, former Executive Director of the IAJ, author of the SA jazz history book Soweto Blues and contributor on South African jazz to the latest edition of The Rough Guide To World Music. There will also be guest sessions. It offers the 15 chosen participants the chance to learn about arts journalism in Joburg’s lively Newtown Cultural Precinct, with access to a range of resources and activities and a focus on the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival.

The course includes a workbook covering the basic tool-kit candidates need to master as an arts journalist – interviewing, reviewing and writing news stories, profiles and features that are interesting and accessible for readers.

Practical guidance will be given in identifying and pitching credible story ideas, building up sources and covering press conferences, workshops, concerts and other events. The course offers a chance to network and discuss the challenges facing women working in and covering the arts. Mentorship will be given from experienced journalists.

Course participants will receive an attendance certificate and may also be assessed towards the SAQA Unit Standard “Cover a Specialist Beat as a Journalist” (six credits at Level 5 and part of the MAPPP-SETA National Certificate in Journalism.) These credits are nationally recognised and can be put towards relevant future studies.

Those who can apply are women broadcast or print journalists in mainstream or community media covering the arts and entertainment beat or wishing to do so. Also women junior journalists who are currently part of intern, cadet or workplace skills programmes as well as final-year or graduate women journalism/media or music students. Women working in PR or arts or heritage administration, or as performers, are also welcome.

The week-long course is offered at a fee of R1500 which covers all teaching and materials. Scholarships will be made available by Standard Bank for cadets, learners, interns, students, freelancers and community media workers.

Send your CV with all contact details, two references and a personal letter stating why you want to attend the course, how you hope to benefit, and what you can bring to it. If you need a scholarship write an essay (maximum 500 words) on the following topic: “Not only do women have equal opportunity in show business, they have better opportunities than men – just look at stars like Beyonce!” Do you agree or disagree with this statement, and why?

Full details from sisgwen@iafrica.com

Put the words “Joy of Jazz course application” in the subject line. If you need to use surface mail, send the package to Gwen Ansell, PO Box 719, Bruma, Gauteng, 2026. Applications close on August 10.




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