This fourth annual report looks at jobs in the newsroom, fake news and fact-checking journalism, and highlights the problem of threats to media freedom in South Africa.
In a survey conducted across a range of newsrooms both big and small, it found that young, black women journalists are more likely to find work in South African newsrooms than any other demographic. The survey also confirmed that, with one or two exceptions, young, less experienced journalists are writing the news we read every day.
While its overview of honours research into fake news suggests there might not be as much of it circulating in this country as we imagine, it also found that fact-checking journalism has yet to gain the traction in South African newsrooms as a marketable genre in the way that it has elsewhere in the world.
The report also highlights several other issues that impacted on the media landscape during 2017, such as the ongoing decline in print circulation, The Times closing down, changes in ownership at ANN7 and Mail & Guardian, digital migration, the crisis at the public broadcaster, and corruption and state capture. While the report dedicates some space to a timeline account of what went on at the SABC, it emphasises the ongoing harassment and intimidation of journalists which it calls a “worryingly permanent feature of our media landscape”.