Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Anton Harber on xenophobia coverage: The Star vs. The Daily Sun

Anton Harber, click here to visit his blogFor those readers who don't know this, Anton Harber is a former editor of the Mail & Guardian. Presently he is a professor at Wits University (Johannesburg) and directs the Journalism and Media Studies Programme.

Harber has a very insightful blog, The Harbinger, dealing mostly with current events in relation to how different media houses and outlets approach these issues. On June 13th he posted on the contrasts in media coverage of the 'recent' xenophobic attacks in South Africa, as evident in comparing The Star and The Daily Sun's coverage. These are off course two very different publications, the former a broadsheet aimed primarily at the middle & upper classes and the latter a typical working class, sensationalist, tabloid.

...It is easy to say which of these newspaper treatments makes us feel better about ourselves. The Star holds out hope that those who respond to humanitiarian needs outnumber those who partook of the violence or stood aside as it happened. It is tougher to say which newspaper offers the more accurate depiction of our society. More likely, the contrast between these two highlights the different worlds occupied by South Africans of different classes, with very different understandings of what happened in those few days in May. The Star’s is the view from the suburbs, from those only indirectly affected; the Daily Sun’s is the view from the townships and often from the perpetrators themselves...

The article makes for very interesting reading, you'll find it here.

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