New newspaper aims to provoke

2010-10-02 15:14

The New Age’s launch campaign via a series of striking billboards across the country began last month, promoting a “glass half full” perspective.

It explores the ways that one can see a situation, from a positive or a negative standpoint.

The challenging, and often controversial, headlines and eye-catching visuals provoke a reaction, forcing the audience to confront how they judge a situation ­before jumping to a conclusion.

The campaign also explores popular perceptions. An example of this is the following three billboards: “police brutality or crime crackdown”, “street vendor or entrepreneur” and the “fat cat or economically empowered”.

» The police brutality or crime crackdown board has already garnered response from a police station adjacent to it. The board’s message is meant to force the audiences to ask themselves which side of the fence they are on, and illustrate how reality and truth are ­influenced by the narrator of the story.

» The street vendor or entre­preneur board plays on the daily sight on our roads of hawkers ­toting their wares at traffic lights and on pavements. It is easy to downplay their role in society, but can they not become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs living up to the South ­African can-do, boer maak ’n plan, mentality?

» The fat cat or economically ­empowered execution focuses on the disparity between the rich and poor, and the allegations of cronyism and rampant materialism versus the opportunities and potential created by broad-based economic empowerment.

Simply put, we as a society need to be cognisant of all facts before drawing conclusions.

The news and the facts are rarely seen as being black and white or as clear cut, and the campaign is not meant to simplify the complexity of reporting.

Rather, it is there to coerce South Africans to question themselves, the media and the society in which they live.

» Naidoo is the managing editor of The New Age

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