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.
[Marion Scher] I get at least one or more enquiries a month from a newly qualified or aspirant journalist asking for advice - 20 years ago this was easy. I'd find out from them what type of journalism they were interested in and try and point them in the right direction.
[Marion Scher] We're reading more and more about the power of Twitter and SMSs - and there's no getting away from it, we're becoming more 'snippet' orientated every day. Which leads me to my big question - how much information is enough?
[Marion Scher] This week saw one of those 'classic' stories in the South African media. It was a sad tale of a question paper set for Grade 7 pupils by the Mpumalanga Department of Education's Nkangala District.
[Marion Scher] When the big news story of the day in South Africa is whether or not to show Madiba in his extremely frail state on television, it's almost a relief in between bloody satanistic rituals and a husband ordering the rape and torture of his wife.
It's so great to get so much feedback from an article. I've had emails and even calls from other freelancers - pretty much in the same position as all of us. Maybe we should find a way to practically network as I'm sure there has to be synergy here...
[Marion Scher] With so many media companies battling right now and staff being laid off, one of the options for media people is to go freelance. After all this could be cool, right? No boss to answer to, no particular hours - get up when you like...
[Marion Scher] When was the last time we made world headlines for something good? Certainly not recently. Front pages worldwide have been covered in Oscar stories, mostly centred as in Time Magazine, on South Africa as the murder capital of the world.