Dan takes to TV with sig­na­ture ur­ban­ity

Vet­eran jour­nal­ist sees him­self as a men­tor to the younger gen­er­a­tion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - MEDIA& MARKETING - BREN­DAN SEERY

OU CAN take the man out of jour­nal­ism but you can’t take jour­nal­ism out of the man. Which is why vet­eran broad­caster and news­man Dan Moy­ane is back be­hind the mi­cro­phone.

Th­ese days, not only is there a mi­cro­phone, but there is also a TV cam­era, as Moy­ane co- an­chors Morn­ing News To­day on eNCA, e.tv’s 24-hour news chan­nel on DStv.

And the charm­ing, urbane Moy­ane has made the tran­si­tion seem­lessly to a medium where there is re­ally no place to hide, un­like oth­ers who have strug­gled with nerves in front of the cam­eras.

Ad­mit­tedly, he has done pre­vi­ous stints on both SABC and e.tv, and he is at ease in front of crowds. This he proved back in 1995 when he sang Shosholoza to a packed El­lis Park at the start of the his­toric Rugby World Cup fi­nal.

“That sort of thing doesn’t make me ner­vous. I am cer­tainly not a show­man, but the best way to do some­thing in pub­lic is to en­sure that your are fully pre­pared.”

Prepa­ra­tion, at­ten­tion to de­tail, ac­cu­racy and bal­ance are things that have been drummed into Moy­ane for the three decades he has been in­volved in jour­nal­ism.

He re­mem­bers his first job, as a ju­nior reporter at a Ma­puto ra­dio sta­tion where a bad-tem­pered old white man “chewed me out roy­ally” for his first mis­de­meanours.

“It’s a tough place. You learn, though... there is no bet­ter place to learn our trade than from an ex­pe­ri­enced jour­nal­ist.”

Th­ese days, Moy­ane sees him­self as a men­tor, work­ing with young jour­nal­ists, shar­ing his ex­pe­ri­ence, his news sense and, im­por­tantly, that sense of ma­tu­rity that can mod­er­ate the some­times ex­ces­sive en­thu­si­asm of youth.

“But, and I must be hon­est about this, I am also learn­ing in the process. You’re never too old to learn and I love to see the en­ergy and dif­fer­ent ap­proach from peo­ple who are younger.”

Moy­ane has al­ways had a calm, like­able ex­te­rior, which re­flects a per­son who takes the world as it comes, is not too judg­men­tal and be­lieves in stand­ing back to take in

Ythe “big pic­ture”. “How­ever, at this stage in our coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment, al­most more than at any other time, we need in­de­pen­dent, pro­fes­sional jour­nal­ists.”

Those jour­nal­ists should, with­out fear or favour, re­lay the real story of South Africa – good and bad – to the cit­i­zens of the coun­try.

“Peo­ple have a right to know what is hap­pen­ing in their coun­try and they need this un­bi­ased in­for­ma­tion to make the de­ci­sions on which they will live their lives.”

While he does not be­lieve in “sun­shine jour­nal­ism” or the sort of “good news quo­tas” be­ing de­bated at the SABC (chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng wants 70 per­cent pos­i­tive news), Moy­ane feels that the me­dia could be telling more “up­lift­ing” sto­ries.

“There are many, many peo­ple in this coun­try who have tri­umphed against ad­ver­sity or who are mak­ing new lives for them­selves be­cause they have been given a chance. Those sto­ries make peo­ple feel good... but they also in­spire.”

Moy­ane’s pro­fes­sional ca­reer has had its twists and turns. Af­ter a suc­cess­ful ca­reer on 702 Talk Ra­dio, he went on to be­come chair­man of Pri­me­dia Broad­cast­ing, leav­ing only when he thought “there were no more chal­lenges for me”.

Cur­rently, he is the cor­po­rate af­fairs ex­ec­u­tive at fi­nan­cial ser­vices group MMI Hold­ings Lim­ited. He has been given per­mis­sion by the group to take the news an­chor job – pro­vided it doesn’t in­ter­fere with his nor­mal work.

There has been some crit­i­cism about the ap­point­ment of a news an­chor who is also a cor­po­rate spin doc­tor.

“Where there is any story where there is a po­ten­tial con­flict of in­ter­est, I would re­cuse my­self, that goes with­out say­ing.”

At the time of Moy­ane’s ap­point­ment at eNCA, group head of news Pa­trick Con­roy said his cre­den­tials were im­pec­ca­ble, and fore­most among those was his in­tegrity.

Moy­ane sees the mar­ket for in­de­pen­dent news cov­er­age, such as that pro­vided by eNCA, as grow­ing in the fu­ture be­cause “we will be pro­vid­ing cred­i­ble, ac­cu­rate news”.

The lat­est TV ad for Toy­ota’s Prado 4x4 sees a Prado driver panic when he is chased by bor­der of­fi­cials – but they only want to re­turn his pass­port.


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