Covering elections: Journo’s blood sweat and tears


For journalists, reporting on elections leads to long working hours, hard work and endless preparation to make sure the facts and processes of voting and results are presented clearly and accurately.
SABC TV News Show Producer, Phakamile Magamdela, always knew that he would end up as a journalist. He loves being an amplifier of the public’s voice and for him the SABC TV platform helps him achieve this:

“Coffee will keep us awake but what keeps us motivated is the fact that as SABC News we play a crucial role in informing the public as part of our mandate.

“So we will derive a lot of pleasure from being sure that the public trusts us and the information that we gather and relay to the public is trustworthy.”

Magamdela says the preparation to bring the voting and results to the public is going well:

“We’ve been doing some intense training and what I expect is to see a lot of visual appealing graphics that SABC News will be making use of in explaining how the electoral process works and how to vote counting works.”

The SABC Digital News team has been working for months to be ready for the local elections. The newsroom has an election site which, in addition to results, will offer predictions in cooperation with CSIR for the public to access from their mobile devices.

Watch the video report below:

Izak Minnaar, Editor for SABC Digital News explains that they have been working n a result component for the election website which will launch on Wednesday night.

“Viewers will be able to use their mobiles to see how the counting process happens during the evening of voting day onwards how the different parties are faring. We have national summaries and provincial summaries for each municipality.”

Minnaar says that he wouldn’t miss this important moment in our democracy for anything,

“Elections is when our democratic life and the future of the country is decided and to be one the spot here at the national election centre where all of this happens, is really a privilege and I hope that I have many more elections to help the public broadcaster convey election results and stories with.”

Benjamin Tsotetsi, Producer for Ikwekwezi Fm, has a great passion when it comes to telling people stories. For him, it’s about assisting people to help achieve their goals through providing information on to handle issues through his SABC News Radio platform,

“You will find that lots of people don’t know how to handle their issues, that is why we see lots of violence and protests because people don’t know what channels they should follow, so it’s my task to tell them that rather than to destroy property or turning to violence, that they follow proper channels and if they don’t listen, you can form your own initiative to try and address the channels and discourage violence.”

This will be the first elections that Newsroom Producers Rene Vest and Lindokuhle Simelane will be covering for SABC TV News.  Vest is excited and says they are looking forward to learning as much as they can and to keep on the ball and help out where the can,

“I think our drive as a journalist in 2016 is still very important as we have the prime role of informing people and making sure that they have the correct facts, it’s not suede, it’s not corrupt information, it’s the facts and people need to know and that’s what we’re here for and what we want to do.”

Simelane is expecting a lot of sleepless nights but is most definitely up for the challenge,

“I think our role as a journalist is more important now in light of social media because nobody checks social media, people can tweet what they want, so it’s our job as journalists to make sure that the fact are there that people know exactly what’s going on. Social media keeps a journalist on their toes.”


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