Category: Uncategorized

Print isn’t dead

We’ve been debating this at RamsayMedia quite a bit recently and I really do believe print is not dead. However, many print publishing dinosaurs may well be. How can that be? Firstly, it is becoming more and more obvious that traditional print publishing models are under severe threat – and that is largely because for most publishers the profits from publishing are directly reliant on advertising. And therein lies the problem.

No matter where you look, traditional print businesses are rethinking the way they do things because they have allowed the middle-men, in this case the advertising industry, to dominate the relationship between their clients and themselves. Imagine if you will that your local supermarket didn’t actually make money from you purchasing stuff but from some third party that wanted to full half of the product you purchased with stuff you actually didn’t want. So I purchase my favourite yummy chocolate cereal but find when I get home someone has actually stuffed the box with health bars. Am I pissed you betcha!

The problem is now that this has happened we’ve all become advertising addicts. Publishers only know one thing – how to say yes to advertising and clients are not prepared to pay the real costs of what they are buying. They perceive they do but they don’t. Its a lose-lose scenario unfortunately.

Enter the web – the land of the free. The land of absolutely no barriers to entry. The land of good and evil. The land which has forced the media to examine its principles for ages. You’ll notice that book publishers are not sweating at all – they have seamlessly moved their operations to digital but at their core the model remains sound. You buy want you want – and I give you what you buy. Kinda has a nice ring to it. As for the rest of us … we’re scrabbling around for new business models that work. And inevitably that has to be in cleaning up our relationships with our clients. Otherwise they are simply going to find their content elsewhere and clean it up all themselves. As for advertisers – well working with advertisers is a little like dating a supermodel, she’s with you while she’s with you that is until the next exciting guy arrives in town.


Red Barn outside knysna is a must

I am always a little dubious when people tell me so-and-so restaurant is fab, so I was really chuffed with my trip up to the Red Barn on the Rheenendal road outside knysna.

I was working on an assignment for Getaway on family holidays in knysna and was travelling with my wife Justine and two sons aged Alex aged two and James four. The place was a hit all round.
While Jus and I enjoyed a relaxed glass of wine the kids amused themselves in the large garden, clambering up the jungle gym and playing on the pirate ship.

We had asparagus soup which the boys really enjoyed and a helping of delicious chicken livers cooked up with Moroccan spice and tomato reduction. Don’t expect the same on your visit – and you must visit if you are ever in this neck of the woods – as all ingredients are organic and fresh so the menu changes with the seasons.

All in all a great venue, lovely relaxed atmosphere, superb food and great host.

Writing about travel and sex

Getaway recently published a blog on the sexparade called the  Folsom Street Fair  in San Francisco. And, predictably, there were those who thought this had no place in our content lineup. I disagree. Travel journalists need to travel and experience the strange … and they need to write about it. If all we do is write about the ‘nice’ we leave a very big hole in our reporting. Admittedly, travel is not exactly the cutting edge of investigative journalism but we do have a responsibility to inform. So back to the sex fair. Do I think its healthy … well no. Do I think its weird … hell yeah. Would I run it in our magazine pages? Not on your life. But as a blog which is a free space where our writers can comment as they like on what they see, hell yeah I’ll run it. I am wary of censorship in any form … because one moment you’re stopping people reading about relatively harmless, foreign and darn weird sexparades and the next you’re killing stories because they disagree with the ruling party’s view of the country. So if you’re sensitive to these kinds of things … please don’t page past the opening paragraph as Justin Fox’s blog Sex tourism: the Folsom Street Fair will blow your socks off!

The Big Picture: Southern Africa Fujifilm and Getaway Wildlife and Environment Photographic Awards 2010

I am always amazed at the quality of South African photographers and this year’s Getaway/Fujifilm African Wildlife Photography awards was no exception. Of course it wouldn’t be Fujifilm awards time if there wasn’t debate about the winning image. Personally, I am glad that this years judges took the bold step of picking a truly different image as the overall winner … as controversial as it may be. Follow the link below to see all the 2010 winners.

The Big Picture: Southern Africa Fujifilm and Getaway Wildlife and Environment Photographic Awards 2010.

Changing the conversation about climate change

I was recently asked to speak about the conversation around global climate change at the launch my good friend and colleague Leonie Joubert’s latest book Boiling Point. Here is the transcript of my talk.

Hi, my name is Cameron and I am responsible for Global Climate Change.

Now, there is some good news and bad. First, Leonie’s first choice speaker couldn’t make it so you’re stuck with me. The good news is, she’s adamant that I have five minutes … max.

You may not believe this, but at one stage (a long time ago) I was South Africa’s leading expert on the effects global warming would have on our marine environment. This is how it happened. My colleague and consulting partner Dr Barry Clarke, walked in and asked me what I knew about global warming. I said that I understood it had something to do with greenhouse gasses. It was probably related to human activity and, that it was going to change the world we live in – probably in ways we haven’t even been able to imagine yet.

He nodded sagely. Good, I’ve just told a client you are the leading expert and we have a report due by the end of the month.
When the panic subsided I thought about it – how hard could it be. So I headed off to the climate modellers – they after all were the ones making all the fuss about the problem. I thought let me ask them what simple, local changes we can expect and then we’ll be able to take it form there.

I asked what would happen to wind patterns. Ahh … a good question came the reply. And simply we can say that the winds will either get stronger, or they’ll get weaker…. or they may just stay the same. The same pattern happened with sea surface temperature and other critical factors that would contribute to changes in the marine environment.

We’ve come a long way since then; scientifically! ‘Journalistically’ we’ve regressed.

Take the recent work on the differences between how scientists and journalists are reporting on climate change.

In a recent survey the coverage of global warming was evaluated, here’s what they found.
50-odd percent of news stories gave roughly equal attention to the causes of global warming i.e. human induced and natural. The so called ‘debate’ between mainstream science and the sceptics.
35-odd percent emphasized human induced effects but discussed other causes
6 percent only covered alternate views choosing to ignore human induced effects and only 6-odd percent portrayed a predominant human induced theory.

Contrast this with the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) which, representing more than 2000 scientists and 100 countries has unanimously agreed that climate change is real and that humans are to blame (either wholly, or at the very least partially).

The conversation round climate change and global warming is failing. And that is what makes writers such as Leonie so important.

She’s going beyond the sceptics and looking at the real effects – the ones we can practically measure today already. And its gritty … real … worrying.

Take a look at the data on the posters dotted around … better still buy a copy of the book its excellent.

We are all in this together folks. And the sooner we start a real conversation about climate change – with our family, friends, politicians, schools, you name it – the better.

And when we start talking please lets start talking sense. After all the last thing we need on the topic of global warming is more ‘hot air.’


My name is Cameron and I am responsible for global warming.