REFLECTION: A CONFERENCE THAT WILL LIVE FOREVER IN OUR MEMORIES
Written by: Venal Naidu and Mfundo Knowledge Mthembu
The Global Investigative Journalism Conference we attended at the University of Witwaterstrand in Johannesburg really taught us a lot.
We met people we could only dream of meeting and we made friendships that will most definitely last a lifetime. Being at the conference with other upcoming young jouralists made it easier to share our common practices.
The conference itself taught us that to be an investigative journalist, you really need to have a lot of time and you really need to really love “uncovering the truth”. We heard a lot of methods and tools that investigative journalists use. Ethics dominated most of the conversations, a principle that is taught in our journalism school as well.
Investigative journalists use several methods to get information including wearing cameras under their shirts, pinning miniature microphones on their clothing and others even pay for information. Others informed us that paying to receive documentation in their countries can determine whether they get the document one minute later or one year later. We learnt that the line between ethical and unethical practices is sometimes blurred.
As Durban University of Technology students we were part of a student newsroom that consisted of journalism students from Rhodes University, University of Cape Town, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, University of Witwaterstrand, University of Stellenbosch, students from Germany and the United States of America.
Our job as student journalists was to write stories, tweet and take pictures of the conference’s sessions. We received a 100 million interests on Twiitter and the hashtag GIJC7 was trending at number one in South Africa and the world during the 5-day conference.
Overall, we are both extremely grateful with the opportunity we received which showed us a different world as we both have spent most of our lives in Durban. It was also amazing to meet people from places we didn’t know existed.
Saying goodbye is never easy. The saddest thing to come out of this conference for us was the fact that over the five days we formed a strong bond with so many people in the newsroom. However, we don’t know if we will ever get the chance to see them again thus we all said to each other: “We’ll see you in the field one day”.