COM 2008 Volume 13

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  • ItemOpen Access
    An analysis of successful community develoment communication: missionaries, max-neef and the universal need for transcendence
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2008) Ingle, Mark
    This article attempts to isolate a “sufficient condition” for development communication to succeed. It juxtaposes two case studies - the 19th Century Christian missionaries as a developmental success story, and the malign influence of Soviet ideology as a developmental failure - and analyses these case studies in the light of a variety of socalled “alternative theories” of development. Human Scale Development, as articulated by Manfred Max-Neef, emerges as being the most instructive of these paradigms. Max-Neef sought to identify the key “satisfiers” which would enable true development to occur. It is argued that many of the processes and activities that typically accompanied the communication of the message of Christianity to southern African answer to the “satisfiers” that Max-Neef's schema calls for. The enquiry further argues that humankind's fundamental need for transcendence is the only need which, if satisfied, will of necessity culminate in true individual and, by extension, community development. This line of thinking ultimately draws its inspiration from the Ancient Greek concept of eros which is seen to have informed the early missionary movement's message of hope and faith. * Mark
  • ItemOpen Access
    VCT: voluntary counselling and testing or veritable communication tragedy?
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2008) Coertze, Geraldine
    This article examines the communication factors and the prevailing socio-cultural context which underlies the lack of VCT uptake amongst male construction workers in South Africa. The article is based on focus group discussions carried out with a group of African construction workers in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal. Lack of understanding of the term “VCT”, lack of information on topics such as antiretroviral therapy and rapidtesting facilities, and lack of constructive interpersonal verbal communication on the topic were found to impact on VCTuptake. Socio-cultural factors such as high levels of stigma and discrimination of HIV positive persons, norms surrounding childcare, as well as notions of masculinity contributed to lack of VCT uptake amongst males. It was also noted that the perceived susceptibility of the males was high as a result of misunderstandings and irrational fears of the means of transmission of the HI virus. Suggested means of improving communication on VCT include re-branding VCT for certain populations, capitalising on the trust placed in radio, and implementing peerled education programmes to promote dialogical discussion.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The "modal grid" underlying language, communication, translation and the learning a new language
    (Department of Communication Science, Unierstity of the Free State, 2008) Strauss, D. F. M.
    Most modern linguists emphasise the fact that, as De Saussure states it, the “bond between the signifier and the signified is arbitrary”. Although this emphasis may prompt one to fathom that language use as such is com¬pletely arbitrary, there are diverse considerations supporting the view that language is also co-determined by an underlying, constant framework. The latter reveals the two basic dimensions of human experience, reflected within language in the presence of verbs, nouns (and property terms; attributes). Verbs and property terms are made possible by the multiple functional domains of our experience related to the how of things and not to their concrete what. These aspectual (ontic) domains actually serve as points of entry to our experience of and reflection upon things and events within reality, expressed in linguistic patterns. As constant cadres (frameworks) these points of entry make possible (co-condition) the rich variability found in different languages. De Saussure already had to concede, in an almost contradictory fashion, that there is both an element of mutability and immutability attached to language. It will be argued that the horizon of the functional conditions of language ultimately underlies meaningful communication and that acknowledging it enables a new approach both to translation and the learning of new languages. In conclusion a remark about methodology is made.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Societies in transition: multi-cultural-man and strategic public relations (PR) challenges for PR practitioners in South Africa
    (Department of Communication Science, Unierstity of the Free State, 2008) De Wet, Gideon
    Over the past decade a number of countries have embarked upon dramatic sociopolitical transitions. A common denominator has always been a highly divided society filled with trauma. One such country is South Africa. A short overview is provide regarding the transition from the apartheid context to the new democratic dispensation and the huge challenges that the post 1994 South Africa has to deal with, in particular in the corporate context. The South African Reconciliation Barometer's surveys have been used to provide empirical data regarding the state of the nation with reference to particular selected areas. These statistics show a deeply divided society with high levels of mistrust. The public relations practitioner needs to negotiate these contexts in their efforts to practice integrated strategic public relations. Adler's multi-cultural-man metaphor (1985) serves as meta-theoretical framework. This article explores potential conceptual challenges for strategic public relations practitioners in their challenges to manage integrated public relations and the lessons to be learned from such traumatised societies. The extrapolation is the corporate context with the focus on integrated public relations challenges for the practitioners of public relations.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A conceptual model for integrating communication and corporate culture
    (Department of Communication Science, Unierstity of the Free State, 2008) Mulder, Dalmé
    South Africa has a somewhat unique environment within which businesses have to function. The fact that South Africa has eleven official languages and a mosaic of cultures are only some of the factors that contribute towards the complexity of the South African organisational environment. Cultural awareness is vital for effective communication, because different cultures communicate in different ways. While the universal objectives of marketing communication are to inform and more specifically to persuade, the way in which ethnic groups come in contact with information and are persuaded to act on information, varies widely. This article addresses the abovementioned issues, but its overall aim is to provide a conceptual model for integrating communication and corporate culture in order to enhance an organisation's efficacy in multicultural societies. The Mitroff model for problem solving in systems thinking is used as a guideline.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Does the patient package insert (PPI) in South Africa serve the purpose of health communication?
    (Department of Communication Science, Unierstity of the Free State, 2008) Krige, Daleen; De Wet, Johann C.
    The aim of this article is to reflect on the usefulness and efficacy of the patient package insert (PPI) from the perspective of health communication. From the literature it is clear that American and European PPIs suffer a host of communication problems. What is the standing of the South African PPI with regard to its communication efficacy? Up till now there has been no published research on this aspect. The South African PPI is investigated for communication barriers, keeping the profile of a developing country in mind. The present research has indicated that PPIs in South African medication packages do not fulfil their communication aim, due to barriers that can be traced mainly to document and reader variables, rendering the communication contained in the document less efficient. Additionally, in the case of the PPI, health communication efficacy is influenced by, amongst others, cultural competence and understandability; factors that have been neglected in the South African PPI. Finally this article proposes improvements in order to enhance the value of the PPI as a means of effective health communication.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exco meets the people in the Free State: a window dressing exercise?
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2008) Twala, Chitja
    The new democratic political dispensation has posed numerous challenges and opportunities to both the government communication system and government communicators specifically. The democratic breakthrough of 1994 signaled, among other matters, an ANC government commitment to create space for members of the public to participate in building the new democratic South African state. Communication has thus been viewed as a strategic element of service delivery. Government has created a number of opportunities and structures to pursue the commitment that this accountability and interaction takes place. These include the Presidential Izimbizo and Exco Meets the People (sometimes referred to as the Provincial Izimbizo). For the purpose of this article, the concept of Exco Meets the People is used interchangeably as meaning a communication method by the Free State ANC government as well as referring to a provincial gathering organised by the Directorate of Policy Unit in the Office of the Premier. The article uses field research as the main historical research methodology. This method was helpful to ascertain the impact of Exco Meets the People to the targeted communities, and to determine the views of such communities with regard to this communication method.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Communication to adolescents about HIV and AIDS through campus radio: suggestions from the literature
    (Department of Communication Science, Unierstity of the Free State, 2008) Van der Merwe, Nadia
    Education is currently reputed to be a vaccine against HIV/Aids. Many Aids campaigns use the cognitive behaviour model according to which behavioural change is the result of rational, individual decision-making based on acquired knowledge. Undoubtedly, mass media has a profound influence on the education and empowerment of individuals. The role of the media specifically in combating HIV/Aids was emphasised when national surveys conducted in the US revealed that 72% of Americans had identified television, radio and newspapers — and not family, friends or doctors — as their primary source of information about HIV/Aids. A particularly alarming fact is the extreme vulnerability of the youth — by the age of 23, one South African youth in five is HIV positive. A prominent section of the youth is present on the many university campuses. In this context, campus radio stations constitute one possible vehicle for communicating important health-related messages to this target group. This article aims to make recommendations for successful health communication through campus radio. The article first describes the role of campus radio by interrogating its social and civic role, and its active and participatory role. It goes on to identify specific challenges of HIV/Aids broadcasting pertaining to campus radio stations, and then makes suggestions on how to meet such challenges head-on.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Ethical guidelines for HIV and AIDS reporting: the interest-group factor
    (Department of Communication Science, Unierstity of the Free State, 2008) Swanepoel, Thalyta; Fourie, Lynnette M.; Froneman, Johannes D.
    HIV and Aids is a complex developmental issue. Cognisance should therefore be taken of the socio-cultural, socio-economic and epidemiological factors impacting on the syndrome. To deal with HIV and Aids in such a comprehensive manner, a multi-sectoral approach is required in which government, civil society, the media and NGOs take hands. In this regard criticism about media coverage on HIV and Aids has resulted in constructive suggestions, mainly from interest groups, through which they performed a potentially powerful agenda-setting function. This article extracts a number of guidelines from the suggestions to formulate an ethical framework for HIV and Aids reporting in view of the lack of guidelines in professional ethical codes (e.g. the Code of the Press Council of South Africa) as well as institutional codes (i.e. that of individual media institutions). The proposed interest group guidelines are directed at journalism practice, but also address ethical issues, e.g. that the media consider the rights of people with HIV and Aids, respect their right to confidentiality and portray them in a dignified manner.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A microhistorical record of "micromedia": a community media journalist and her medium
    (Department of Communication Science, Unierstity of the Free State, 2008) Turner, Gillian; Lizette, Rabe
    This article applies the notion of microhistory in recording the development of a community media journalist (Heather Brenner) and her publication (Tabletalk). Community media, in essence, is the ideal subject to be analysed within the tenets of microhistory, as community media is in essence “micromedia”, recording a distinctive persona, time and place — the microhistory — of an era. This article briefly reflects on the origin of community media, and then records the history of a “micromedia” journalist. Drawing on in-depth interviews with the subject and her former colleagues, this study attempts to explore the essence of a good community media journalist. Although the bulk of this study considers the reasons for her success, it also questions whether her career as a journalist was restricted because she was a woman in a maledominated world. She never sought recognition for herself, and thus she remains an unheard voice of journalism outside her paper's distribution area — almost a textbook example of a subject for microhistory.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Film viewing in South Africa in 2007: some vexed questions
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2008) Glenn, Ian
    This article examines the film-going habits and tastes of the South African public, focusing on which films generated the most income and were viewed by the largest public during 2007. It uses the data generated from cinema-going revenues and television viewership of film to engage the theoretical argument between Bourdieu's notion of habitus and the notion of cultural omnivorousness developed by Peterson and others. The article finds that elements of both Bourdieu's and Peterson's positions can be supported from the figures. In particular, the figures of channel switching among the wealthiest and highest educated viewers (indicated by the highest Living Standards Measurements or LSMs) show that this portion of the television audience shows considerable “restlessness” or range in viewing, supporting Peterson's findings that high cultural standing is often equated with cultural range rather than snobbish limitation. Yet this restlessness or lack of loyalty seems to work according to positions that accord quite well with Bourdieu's notion of habitus. In other words, higher LSMs are not equally restless with all cultural products and show a particular impatience with many South African films, to which lower LSMs are far more loyal — though it may be restricted channel choice that accounts for much of this difference. This study thus opens a methodological inquiry into film tastes and film consumption in a developing country and also offers, through an examination of channel switching, a new insight into the debate around cultural omnivores and taste.