The Wits Centre for Journalism offers three courses in financial journalism. These can be taken as a certificate, at Honours or Masters level.
Introduction to Financial Journalism
This course is aimed at journalists who wish to enter this field or want a better understanding of the workings of finance and the economy. The course can be thought of as financial journalism for non-financial journalists. The course material will include numeracy and financial literacy, and an overview of the key financial institutions. It will introduce the key financial terms and metrics used by working journalists, including those dealing with statistics, the economy and finance.
The course will include news writing, with students being required to write up a number of stories using statistical, economic and financial data. It also considers the role of the financial journalist in a modern economy and the debate between the relative roles of the public and private sectors in such an economy.
Representatives of key institutions such as the South African Reserve Bank and Statistics SA will be invited to address the class.
Introduction to financial journalism is a certificate course. The cost is R9 600.
For inquiries, please contact us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on (011) 717-4028.
The course aims to provide working journalists with the skills and knowledge required to be an effective, critically thinking financial journalist. Financial journalism is both about understanding the key concepts and being able to write about complex issues in an accessible and engaging way. Working on case studies and practical examples in class prepares journalists for the newsroom.
We are living in a world facing global financial crises, globalisation versus nationalisation shifts, the digital transformation of commerce and markets, recovery from the worst pandemic in a century, growing authoritarianism, widening inequality in many countries, an ongoing failure to rectify gender inequality and racial injustice, and the perilous effects of climate change. Financial journalists play an increasingly important role in helping us to navigate the effect of these forces in our lives.
More than ever, we need well-trained financial journalists able to think critically about the issues we face, to serve as watchdogs for the wider public – not only investors – and to make sense of complex events that shape our economies and livelihoods. At the same time, we need to recognise that financial journalists are part of the system they report on, from the companies they cover to the sources who work in, invest in, and study those companies, the companies that advertise with their publications, and the business leaders and investors who read and pay for business news.
In this context, the course aims to assist financial journalists to respond effectively to the complexities of reporting on business, finance and economics. It is aimed at mid-career students and is presented part-time on the basis of a weekly seminar over the course of the first semester.
The Story of Money (not running in 2023)
The course considers the development of money and markets from ancient times up to the present and evaluates the challenges which the global financial architecture faces at present. This includes asking to what extent present market structures will be able to withstand the impact which climate breakdown is expected to bring. It is aimed at our mid-career students and is presented part-time on the basis of a weekly seminar over the course of the second semester.
It deals with the emergence of money from the earliest settled times, to understand the basics of how economies work. The course traces the history of money and finance and including the development of modern banking. The basics of money, interest, credit, debt, and indebtedness are interrogated and dissected and interrogated.
The course also has a strong focus on developing writing and storytelling skills. Part of the course requirement is for students to complete a long-form essay of 5 000 words. These assignments are workshopped in class for participants to better understand the process of story identification and development, the critiquing in class contributing to the shaping of one another’s outputs.
Teaching focuses on current issues. Topics tackled this year include whether a white tax could be used to deal with apartheid debt; the motoring industry after Covid-19; how gig workers, notably motorbike delivery people, have navigated the pandemic; the Covid-19 impact on the informal sector and personal profiles of how different categories of workers have coped during these difficult times.
The cost is R9 600.