In session three of the Sinelizwi citizen journalism programme, candidates learn about correct grammar, understanding tenses and using punctuation marks correctly.

Due to the entire Sinelizwi project taking place over WhatsApp, we realised that data-restraints inhibits some of our cohort from watching the online YouTube tutorials. We regrouped and planned a new way of teaching – getting more interactive on WhatsApp and consolidating our videos into a Powerpoint presentation that is much more data-efficient for downloading.

Every day from 13:00 to 14:00, during the Sinelizwi hour, Food For Mzansi journalist Duncan Masiwa engages with programme members from across South Africa. As Sinelizwi games master he is the go-to guy, readily available for all those beginner journos’ questions.

Have a look at this week’s lesson on grammar and tenses, here.

Tips of the week: How to be a responsible citizen journalist

Be accurate. Use a note pad, cell phone or voice recorder, or even a video camera to take notes or record interviews. Always re-read your article to double check numbers and important facts. Be thorough. Interview representatives of all the stakeholders impacted to get the full story.

Be fair. It’s important not to show favouritism towards one side or another. At the same time, if someone is opposed to a certain proposal or viewpoint, ask them what their proposal or viewpoint is. This is very important, if someone is going to discredit a proposal, make them offer up a constructive alternative.

Be independent. Leave your partisanship at the door. This will help you build a larger audience and be seen as a credible news source.

Be objective. If you want to be read as a non-partisan, trusted news source, then you need to refrain from inserting your own opinion. To do this, we recommend you always use a “no blame approach.” This means not resorting to the blame game, but instead focusing on constructive solutions. And, if you want to earn readers’ trust, you need to remain objective and respectful.