By Tshepo Rakumakoe

Director of the Wits Radio Academy and Head of Journalism, Professor Franz Kruger, invited Vow FM presenters and Local Voices reporters Veronica Makhoali and Siyabonga Motha to provide insights on their involvement on the Local Voices project.

The project was aimed at giving community radio stations a platform to publish their stories on a wider platform during the general elections this year in May. It supported local radio journalists with editing and angling of stories encouraged the exchange of materials between radio stations and monitored stories and events of violence & reports of local journalists being intimidated.

Journalists were thoroughly trained and given an elections community radio toolkit for guidance. Three day workshops were held across the country, namely Polokwane, East London and Johannesburg to teach them on how to go about covering elections, fact checking, breaking down what voter education is and what the laws and codes of election reporting are.   

One editor and two intern reporters ran the news desk; they also managed and updated the Local Voices website, while posting daily on the website and on social media.

According to Professor Kruger, lessons learnt from this experience were the disconnections between training & implementation. He added saying, “the news format is hard”. Some of the challenges faced were that even though they had made partnerships with many community radio stations, there were disparities in how content was being delivered and how stories were being written. Many of the stations did not even participate, which was rather disappointed.

In conclusion, Local Voices is a platform that can help South African journalists realise their potential while enabling them to grow out of their comfort areas.

Edited by Bridget Lepere