Lebo Thinane: Not Just A Talking Head On TV

The word, journalism, is mistakenly associated with glamour and glitz. But a fact is that, journalists work diligently in the trenches to put newsmakers under the spotlight.

When Lebo Thinane (34) was registered for the first time as a learner at Tumelo Primary School in Meadowlands zone 3, she didn’t know that one day she’ll be bracing millions of television sets across the country as an anchor. She presents Weekend Live on Sundays from 06:00 to 06:30 on SABC 2. This is the show that she also produces. Lebo cut her teeth in journalism as an intern at Jacaranda FM before joining Kaya FM in 2005. She confirms that journalism involves hard work.

  • What does your job entail as a television current affairs producer? 

I initiate stories and their execution to the executive producer. The stories have to be in line with the interests of our audience.

  • What does it take to be a journalist? 

It takes dedication, commitment and hunger for information. You have to read everything. Journalism is about news and current affairs.

  • What are the challenges that come with your work? 

Journalism is not as clear cut as it looks. People think it is glamorous. It is in fact, hard work. There’s no excuse for mediocre or lack of resources.

  • How is your ordinary day like in the office? 

There’s no such a thing as an ordinary day in the office. No two days are the same.

  • Does one need to study with a university or college to become a journalist? 

Yes and no. There are people who succeeded in the industry without tertiary qualifications.

  • How much does a journalist earn a month? 

That differs from an institution to institution.

  • Are there job opportunities in the industry? 

There are lots of job opportunities because of constant growth in the industry. Older journalists are retiring and we’ve just seen the recent launch of Power FM, SABC News 24 and ANN 7.

  • What is your take on celebrities becoming journalists? 

I don’t take them seriously. It is just a business decision to attract viewers. But I don’t agree with it.

  • What is your description of a bad journalist?

A bad journalist doesn’t check facts and fails to pay attention to details. He doesn’t read at all and has no interest in current affairs.

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