Photography’s role vital to enrich media – MDDA

Photography’s role vital to enrich media – MDDA

Pictures tell a thousand stories and they have been telling them since the beginning of times. To live true to this statement, South Africa’s Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) hosted a panel discussion themed Photography as a Media Format in Newtown, Johannesburg.

The aim, according to the agency CEO Lumko Mtimde, was to create a platform to share ideas and experiences of how photography as a media format could contribute to tell stories.

The discussions were centered around how photography can be used to encourage freedom of expression and creative use of various visual arts. The debate also looked at how photography could complement and enhance quality content in community and ‘small’ commercial media in South Africa.

Two professional photographers, Zanele Moholi (freelance) and Muntu Vilakazi (City Press), were also invited, alongside head of Media24 Journalism Academy Mathata Tsedu.

According to MDDA board member Nadia Bulbulia, the event moderator, the agency was mandated by the Act to develop human resources, train and build capacity of projects in the media sector.  The agency also had the duty, as the Act required, to  emphasise the importance of chanelling resources for media projects.

“In order for community media to have a competitive edge to manage sustainable and viable media projects, they need to have skills, and expertise to enable them to deliver professional community media services,” Bulbulia  said.

She painstakingly analysed the critical role played by photography in producing a viable print product like a newspaper, magazine and now online media. The agency stressed that training and capacity building were a key component in running a professional media house. “Media is a dynamic and fast-growing industry and all media players need to invest in the up-skilling, and upgrading of their systems in order to operate viably in the sector,” Bulbulia said.

The event, organised in conjunction with the Market Photo Workshop (MPW), also fitted the occasion to celebrate the graduates of the 2012 MPW Photojournalism and Documentary Photography (PDP) programme.

The graduates, all MDDA 2012 bursary recipients who underwent a year-long PDP training programme, came from the provinces of Limpopo, Kwazulu-Natal, North West and Eastern Cape.

The following is the list of graduates and their respective media houses:

  • Mamagase Khomotjo Nchabeleng: Sebatakgomo News
  • Barbara Ntomb’Mungi Mdunge: EzaKwaZulu News
  • Mogorosi Gift Moremedi: Agenda Media House  
  • Mthuthuzeli Wellington Thomas: iDikelethu News

The agency said the bursary recipients are required to spend the year 2013 working at the publication they were nominated for this bursary.

This is, it said, to ensure that the skills learnt are used to develop the sector. The year will be treated like an internship used to strengthen the skills learnt through practice and begin to transfer them in the community.

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*PIC: Dave and Charlotte

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