02 February 2009

On the Beat

SOFJ took to the streets of Cape Town this week. The assignment? Cover an annual Pro-Life demonstration downtown. With notebooks, questions and cameras, students boarded a train Friday morning at False Bay Station and set out, ready to put to practice classroom teaching on interviewing, photography, slants and newsworthiness.

The National Day of Repentance is held yearly to bring awareness and protest the legalization of abortion in South Africa, which happened February 1, 1997. This year, organizers staged a solemn funeral procession through downtown Cape Town, ending at the Parliamentary Gates in a Prayer Vigil. Students of the SOFJ met with coordinators, participants and onlookers, took photos of the event, and wrote both a
news article and an editorial piece on what they saw.

SOFJ Staff Member, Adam Jeske, commented, "After four weeks in the classroom adrift on theory, they did a great job out in the swirl of real life, producing some quality stories and images."

The coming weeks in the SOFJ hold more practical experience as students begin to tackle investigative journalism practices. Students will work with a team to research and investigate an issue pertaining to South Africa. At week's end, presentations from each group will be used to decide which topic goes on to be made into a documentary piece, which a magazine feature piece and which an internet blog piece.

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