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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Paper bridges: a critical examination of the Daily Dispatch's 'community dialogues'
Author:Amner, RodISNI
Periodical:Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies (ISSN 0256-0054)
Geographic term:South Africa
social relations
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02560054.2011.545564
Abstract:A series of town-hall-like meetings called the 'community dialogues' were conducted in 2009 by the Daily Dispatch newspaper in East London (South Africa), under the banner of public/civic journalism, a global journalistic reform movement begun in the United States in the late 1980s. The editorial leadership of the newspaper imagined a number of core journalistic and civic purposes for the dialogues and succeeded in achieving some of these. However, the newspaper's claim that the dialogues could help to build 'horizontal bridges' between diverse communities in East London is critically examined through the example of two community dialogues which took place in neighbouring locations - the predominantly white, middle-class suburb of Beacon Bay, and the informal African settlement of Nompumelelo - on consecutive days in 2009. The present article argues that social inequalities, particularly acute in the South African context, may preclude the emergence of a shared vision of the common good, and that joint deliberation between diverse social groups in the pursuit of consensus may not be realistic or even an appropriate goal, especially if it means ratifying an unjust status quo. Bibliogr., ref., sum. [Journal abstract]