Marion Scher is an award-winning freelance journalist who writes for many of South Africa's major consumer publications and the custom publishing field, as well as public relations companies and the corporate world.
Through her company Media Mentors (www.mediamentors.co.za), she consults and trains in the corporate world plus parastatal and NGO organisations - her speciality being training people on all aspects of media.
For 14 years, Marion was head of journalism at Damelin College, Bramley (until 2008); her pupils now work in every major field of journalism both here and overseas. She regularly gives courses both within the industry through the Magazine Publishers Association of South Africa (MPASA) and the Print Media Association of South Africa (PMASA) as their official editorial trainer, as well as designing specific media and writing courses for companies.
She is the author of two books; her latest came out in 2009 - Surviving the SA Media - Building Bridges To Make The Media More Accessible is available through Knowledge Resources and all good bookstores. She is also a judge of three top media awards in the country: PICA Awards, Admag Awards and the National Press Club Journalist of the Year.
She is the holder of a Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism and is currently on the Board of this Fellowship in South Africa.
Her major clients include Unilever, Telkom, Mondi, Anglo Gold Ashanti, Sappi, DBSA, Standard Bank, MTN and MultiChoice.
How can anyone today be expected to write when they don’t read – well, not proper reading? Have a look at anyone in your office aged 40 or younger – the 20s set in particular. What are they doing with every spare second?
When I started out as a freelancer 100 years or so ago that’s what I was - a freelance journalist. No one queried that title or said “Is that all you do?” other than some family members enquiring as to when I would be getting a proper job!
Who would have believed that the main subject of conversation between middle-class white women over coffee mornings and dinner parties would be soccer? Who would have seen themselves grinning wildly and have an overwhelming urge to embrace total strangers spending their euros and dollars at our shopping malls? For the last month, the new national pastime became ‘go to malls, fan parks and stadiums to watch the tourists’...
Recently I judged a journalism award for a large pharmaceutical company based on a very serious health issue. Most of the entries were of a very high standard and I was enjoying being educated with the latest news on the fight against this illness. That was, until I got to the final entry.
If you mention the name Lance Armstrong this week in South Africa, you’ll be met with mixed reactions. Talk shows are talking and twitterers tweeting. It all started when Armstrong arrived in Cape Town with a full passport – a no-no for admittance to any country in the world. You need at least two blank pages for stamping and you’d think Armstrong, being a world traveller, would know that.
One of my clients forwarded me an email from a well-known international media house requesting an interview with her. The email was scrappy, badly written and totally unprofessional. Its highly distinctive logo was nowhere in sight – in fact it wasn’t even written on a letterhead.
So your company needs to nominate a spokesperson – pretty straightforward decision, don’t you think? After all, who are you going to choose, the person with the speech impediment or perhaps someone for whom English is a third language? Maybe an alien from another planet or possibly just someone who doesn’t seem to have enough to do in the office and volunteered?
When quite a while back, former Bizcommunity.com editor and friend Louise Marsland said I HAD to join Facebook – be in or be out – I jumped to attention and immediately signed up. My 21-year-old son’s reaction was “Ma, you joined Facebook – that’s so lame...” That, of course, made me feel much better about my choice.
Been to OR Tambo International Airport in the last week? What would you expect to see right now, during the much-feted Confederations Cup? Why banners, of course, welcoming much-needed tourists to our country and the event.
As a media professional, I should be grateful to Julius, Jacob, Helen and most of COSATU for constantly letting their mouth-offs make the front page and selling papers. But it’s now time to take on a more professional image.