IzikoDUT is a news site run by students enrolled for the Journalism Programme at the Durban University of Technology. The site seeks to groom journalism students into becoming fully-fledged journalists. It further aims at giving them confidence with their writing and broadcasting skills so that when they exit their final year of the National Diploma, they may be able to fit into the challenging and demanding profession of journalism.
IzikoDUT is a project initiated by one of the lecturers from the Journalism Programme, Maud Blose who is holding a Master of Science in Broadcast Journalism, which she acquired from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
The students working for the site are volunteering their time when they are off their lectures. The site has five sections headed by the students. Maud Blose is the Chief-Editor of the site working up to being a gate-keeper, ensuring that everything that goes out online is of quality. The sections comprise News, Features, Lifestyle, Sports, and Iziko Live section which specialises on all the technical know-how within the newsroom.
Students who have been serving at IzikoDUT have had some of their work published by other external publications. Others are working with public relations companies as their skills cannot be ignored.
The site allows students to showcase their journalistic skills. Some are specialising in news writing, others have chosen to focus on radio broadcasting and there are those who are interested in working with visuals, working hard producing television news packages.
IzikoDUT, it is where journalism is brewed! It is where journalism students are groomed and at their exit level, they will be of good quality and add value to the media industry. When students leave for the industry, it is hoped that industry personnel would not have to start from scratch teaching them backpack journalism skills when employing them. The industry will build up on a good foundation that had been laid by IzikoDUT.
IZIKODUT Editorial Policy
- IZIKODUT is an online student news publication for the Durban University of Technology (DUT) community. It is currently updated at least once a day during the year and is accessible to a global audience. This platform will publish stories that are not biased or discriminatory towards a particular race, ethnic group, political party, etc.
- Mission Statement
- IZIKODUT’S mission is to run a news website that provides the DUT community with current affairs, knowledge and information about the South African community, and a forum for the discussion of local, national and international issues. This journalistic platform aims to equip students with practical skills and knowledge that will help to make them good citizens and competent members of the industry.
- Editorial Independence
- IZIKODUT will have editorial independence and will not be affiliated to any race, gender or ethnic group, nor to any political party, corporate or educational entity.
- The relationship between IzikoDUT, the Department of Media, Language and Communication and the Faculty of Arts & Design is at arms-length when it comes to editorial independence.
- Articles that are questionable in content are to be brought before an advisory board (made up of DUT Journalism staff members) for analysis and input on whether they should be published.
- The Editor will make the final determination of articles that are suitable for publishing on the IZIKODUT site.
- News Sources
- Reporters are to ensure that all stories have multiple sources and are balanced.
- Reporters are to ensure the accuracy of direct quotes and information from news sources.
- Information from anonymous sources will not be published and should not be used in any news article.
. Reporters are to use press releases only for story ideas or for doing followup stories. Do not only quote the press release but think outside the box and include various other relevant sources in your story.
- The South African law and Press Code regarding the disclosure of information procured for publication will bind IZIKODUT.
- Letters that are not signed and/or are from anonymous sources will not be published.
- Content within letters to the Editor will be scrutinised and those which contain defamatory statements and/or vulgar language or which break IZIKODUT’s editorial policy and code of ethics, will not be published.
- If a letter or editorial criticises an individual or group, that individual or group should be given an opportunity to answer the criticism in a similar manner.
- Freelance Contribution
- Although IZIKODUT accepts submissions of freelance articles and information, this does not guarantee publication of the work or information submitted. Unsolicited freelance work will not be paid for.
- IZIKODUT accepts submissions of unrequested guest columns but also does not guarantee their publication. Authors of columns selected for publication will be notified of this.
- Submitted guest columns should be no longer than 500 words in length and must contain content relevant to the DUT community.
- The Editor and writers will be guided by the IZIKODUT’s Style Guide.
- Contact Details
- The contact details of IZIKODUT and the editor will be made available on the website. The disclaimer is similar to that on the DUT website.
- Ethical Standards
- IZIKODUT subscribes to the South African Press Code and the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics
- Press Code (source: http://www.presscouncil.org.za/ContentPage?code=PRESSCODE)
- Society of Professional Journalists, see content in italics below: (source: http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp)
- IZIKODUT will not publish items the editor judges to be in poor taste, defamatory, or unsuitable for an educated audience.
— Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
— Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.
— Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.
— Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.
— Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
— Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.
— Avoid misleading re-enactments or staged news events. If re-enactment is necessary to tell a story, label it.
— Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story
— Never plagiarise.
— Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.
— Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.
— Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.
— Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
— Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid.
— Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.
— Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.
— Recognise a special obligation to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open and that government records are open to inspection.
- Minimise Harm
Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.
· — Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
— Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
— Recognise that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.
— Recognise that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
— Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
— Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects or victims of sex crimes.
— Be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.
— Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed.
- Act Independently
Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.
· —Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
— Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
— Refuse gifts, favours, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
— Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
— Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
— Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
— Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.
- Be Accountable
Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.
· — Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.
— Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.
— Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
— Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.
— Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.
- Integration with Academic Programmes
- IZIKODUT is open to working with any DUT Programme/Department. However, it is not obliged to publish any work submitted to it.
- Academic Programmes that would like to publish their students’ work on the IZIKODUT site are to contact the publication (IzikoDUT@gmail.com) in advance with sufficient details.