Conference inspires future media professionals

TALKING CHANGE: Lance Witten was the keynote speaker at this year’s Student Media Conference.

Speakers from different media spheres tackled the topic of Mediatisation at the annual Student Media Conference held at the Cape Town Hotel School recently.

The theme of this year’s event, which was organised by the Media Department, was Media and the Changing Environment and was attended by first year Journalism, Public Relations, Photography and Film and Video students.

Keynote speaker and live editor of IOL News: Western Cape region, Lance Witten, stressed that the media has the power to enact change.

He said media professionals had to consciously decide what the issues were that they were going to give attention to.

“I (media professionals) need to be socially conscious enough to be able to put myself in others’ shoes to tell the stories that matter and to make it matter to other people,” said Witten, who is a CPUT alumnus.

“When you guys go out into the big wide world of media and PR think about the stories you’re telling. Think about who you are telling it for but most importantly think about the effect you want that story to have because you have the voice, you have the power. Who controls the media controls the mind but you as the media can control the minds of others.”

Other speakers at the event, which was trending on Twitter, included the Africa News Agency’s Courtney Africa, Former Cape Argus and Cape Times Editor Gasant Abarder, Jeffrey Ongonga, media officer at the Pan African Parliament and Nadine Cloete, film-maker.

PR Student Crystal Casswell said she was inspired by the speakers.

“Today was a reality check. It was inspiring. Getting advice from those in the industry is the best advice you can get,” she said.

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