About this page

Never in history has it been so easy to accumulate information. A vast sea of stories flows ceaselessly through the devices at our fingertips. But some days I feel I am drowning in data that does not help me understand the world any better.

Edward R Murrow’s warning about TV in 1958 could just as well be applied to all our modern information sources:

“This instrument can teach. It can illuminate and, yes, it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it towards those ends. Otherwise, it is merely wires and lights in a box.”

It is what we do with the information at our disposal that determines our destiny.

I once had a news editor when I worked on a small broadsheet newspaper in Cape Town who would cut me down to size by reminding me that my feverish efforts at storytelling would soon be “fish n’chips wrapper”. Undeterred I sat at my Olivetti typewriter for hours until I was happy with the stories.

In 2014 when we launched The Journalist we had a section called News. Our aim was and is to explore the meaning behind the lights and wires. To avoid at all costs becoming electronic ‘fish n’chips wrapper’.

Since then, we have chosen to rework this section of our website and in line with our updated approach it is called SPOTLIGHT. It is a name that evokes images of performers plucked out of the darkness of the stage and bathed in light so that the audience can revel in their artistry.

Spotlight will feature the artistry of our finest writers. Their brief will be simple. Don’t merely tell us what happened. Help us understand why.

If you have an idea for a Spotlight story please engage in the discussion or use the Contact Us page to write and let us know what you are thinking.

If we are indeed the end result of all the stories we’ve heard, as Tim Knight says, choose carefully. The Journalist is committed to help you make that choice and to shed light on the 21st Century clutter.

Binyavanga Wainaina’s rich legacy of writing as event

Binyavanga Wainaina’s rich legacy of writing as event

The award-winning Kenyan writer and activist has died at the age of 48, his restless search for sense and voice incomplete but nonetheless comprising a body of significant work. It was in May 2012 that I met Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina for the first and, now that he is gone, only time. The Center for Historical Reenactments, a curatorial and artistic initiative by curator Gabi Ngcobo, was hosting an evening with the Caine Prize-winning writer at August House, then an enclave for artists...

Safa must level the playing field for women

Safa must level the playing field for women

It’s no secret that women’s football is the poor cousin in South Africa. It’s not looked after properly, from the juniors right up to the senior national team. "Women’s football is like a drug. We complain about issues around it but we keep going back,” said a club official, who agreed to speak to New Frame on condition of anonymity. He has been running a women’s football team for two decades. Like a drug addict, he will do anything to make sure he gets his “fix”, even though he knows the side...

About Us

The Journalist is a ground-breaking media project that provides history and context for key issues facing South African journalists. The Journalist is an independent, not for profit organisation working with the academic community and a range of credible online entities to make knowledge more accessible to the wider public. We don’t only tell you what happened. We help you understand why.

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We want our stories spread far and wide. Feel free to republish our articles, but please credit our writers and authors and credit The Journalist at the top or bottom of the article complete with a hyperlink back to the site.


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