Guy Berger

by Guy Berger

Information access is on the move in Africa. Let me paint you a picture. The person is fictitious, but the process isn’t. Patience Ndlovu, a 24-year-old woman living in Soweto, South Africa, sends an SMS to a cell phone number she has scribbled on a scrap of paper. Her text reads “L,” followed by her […] more »

by Guy Berger

Gwen Lister, editor of The Namibian, at the center of a storm User-generated comments, and text messages in particular, are causing umbrage in Namibian government circles. Their unhappiness highlights the historic shift of media away from unidirectional, univocal information. This case underlines the politics entailed when the media becomes a platform for broader communication, which […] more »

by Guy Berger

Most Africans don’t have computers or access to the Internet. Cell phones are a different story. So why aren’t journalism schools around the continent integrating the use of mobile devices fully and squarely into their courses? It’s a question that could also apply in many other places — even in places with access to computers […] more »

by Guy Berger

There’s no intrinsic reason why organized journalism education shouldn’t lead — rather than merely reflect — what’s happening in the world of communications. Yet this passive “mirror” status cries out for transformation. Of course, not everyone sees J-schools as reflective entities. For years, editors worldwide have complained that the schools don’t in fact reflect the […] more »

by Guy Berger

Government money to bail out newspapers is a rather “un-American” suggestion. It has been put forward by various commentators who feel that emergency circumstances call for drastic measures. After all, it’s not just jobs at stake, but the survival of a key pillar of democracy. If newspapers go under, the argument goes, so too does […] more »

by Guy Berger

Spare a thought for journalists these days, the folk feeling particularly unappreciated as they face a barrage of public scorn on the one hand and panic-stricken managements pushing for cuts in salaries, rises in productivity, and even retrenchments, on the other. They don’t want your pity. They’re seeking your respect — and your helpful answers […] more »

by Guy Berger

With all the talk of how newspapers can retain readers, it’s still worth remembering some useful advice to newspapers from more than ten years ago. It comes from Mike Smith, at that time the assistant director of the Newspaper Management Center at Northwestern University. In a publication titled Values. Culture.Content, he addressed the question, “How […] more »

by Guy Berger

No, this article is not about broadcasters shifting to digital transmission. But it’s about something that’s also a huge change — uprooting from known territory and heading for the unknown complexities of digital country. Switch-over in the sense of convergence is the challenge facing South African community paper Grocott’s Mail. The publication is at the […] more »

by Guy Berger

Here’s a story showing the extent of complications in getting a system going, so I’ll tell it simply. It’s my non-geek experience of work for a community newspaper that aims to produce world-class code for community papers that is singing-dancing, super-portable and open-source. The history started in the buzz around the World Summit on Information […] more »

by Guy Berger

The news has started to flow. It’s a trial-trickle from township teenagers, through to other social groupings in Grahamstown. With the kick-off of phase one during 2008, citizen youth content has crossed the chasm of age difference to reach the older readers of the Grocott’s Mail newspaper. This is an early manifestation of the Knight […] more »