The Media Observatory

The Wits Centre for Journalism produces a wide range of research, analysis and information on media in South Africa and Africa, which is collected, organised and disseminated through the Media Observatory.

A key aim of the Observatory is to ensure that the findings and implications of original research are circulated beyond the academy into the media world and the public domain. We actively attempt to stimulate critical discussion of media issues through public events, through publishing reports in industry publications and local media, and by collecting them on the Observatory website.

The Media Observatory also attracts funding and collaborates with research partners in a number of projects focused on key areas of journalism in South Africa.

Ongoing research projects include:

The HIV/AIDS and the Media Project promotes media coverage of the South African epidemic that is accurate and consistent. Founded in 2003, it is run in partnership with the Anova Health Institute.

Media and Public Debate examines the ways in which the operations of the media affect public debate in South Africa, and looks at the relationship of media debate to wider debates in society.

Advertising and the News Media critically examines the political economy of the South African news media, with a particular focus on the media dependence on advertising revenue.

Journalism ethics  focuses on the standards and principles that guides journalists, as well as the ways in which these are deployed in concrete situations.

Investigative journalism has two current areas of research, into the history of investigative journalism in South African and into PAIA, the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2000.

Radio is a new research project of the Wits Radio Academy, which examines the operations of radio in South Africa, with a particular focus on community radio.

Financial journalism and economic reporting is a new project that runs as part of the Financial Journalism Masters specialisation.

South African Network Society Survey is the first dedicated and representative user survey of internet use in South Africa. It aims to track who uses the internet, how they connect and what services they use.

Our funders:

National Research Foundation
Faculty of Humanities
, Wits University
Taco Kuiper

Friederich Ebert Stiftung

Human Sciences Research Council
Media Development and Diversity Agency