School of Arts

Sandra Pitcher

Sandra Pitcher






Contact Number



Pietermaritzburg Campus

Office Address

Room 127 Old Main Building


After working as a contract lecturer in the department for seven years, Dr Pitcher has recently been appointed as a full-time member of staff.  Her PhD, which was completed in 2016, considers the role of political cartooning in light of a socially responsible press and questions the limits of free speech.  Her primary research interests rest in new media, social media, journalism and media ethics – with a special focus on the concept of ubuntu.

Degrees Held

  • PhD (UKZN)
  • Master of Arts (UKZN)
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
  • Bachelor Arts (Media and Communication)

Research Interests

  • Journalism
  • New Media
  • Media Ethics

Teaching Interests

  • New Media
  • Television Studies
  • Journalism
  • Media Design and Layout
  • Postmodernism


  • Jones, NJ & Pitcher S (2017) “‘Pretty as a peach’”: some thoughts on the gendered representations of Reeva Steenkamp’s murder in three South African publications”. Communicare. 36(2): 25-37.
  • Pitcher, S; Frankland, T & Jones, NJ (2016) “From Sick Old Man to Mythical Hero: A comparison of the Independent Online’s Representation of Nelson Mandela in 2010 and 2013”. Communicare. 35(1): 94-107.
  • Jones, NJ & Pitcher, S (2015) “Reporting Tittle-Tattle: Twitter, gossip and the changing nature of journalism”. Communicatio -. South African Journal for Communication Theory and Research 41(3): 287-301.
  • Pitcher, SJ (2012) “South Park and its Use of Cultural Stereotypes: An Investigation of Post 9/11 Satirical Cartoons in Television and Their Role in Fighting the War on Terror”. Journal of Media Studies. 3(1):16-29.
  • Pitcher, SJ (2010) “The Ethical Appropriation of Copyrighted Culture in the Digital Age”. Communitas: Journal for Community Communication and Information Impact. 15(1): 113-130.
  • Pitcher, SJ & Jones, NJ (2010) “The Future of Intellectual Property Within the Realm of Information Communication Technologies”. Communication Studies. 2(7): 121-135.
  • De Beer, AS; Pitcher, S & Jones, NJ (2017) “Journalism Education in South Africa: Taking on Challenges for the Future”. In: Goodman, R & Steyn, E (eds) Global Journalism Education in the 21st Century: Challenges and Innovtions. Austin, Knight Center for Journalism: 175-198.
  • Jones, NJ & Pitcher, SJ (2010) “Traditions, conventions and ethics: online dilemmas in South African journalism”. In: Hyde-Clarke, N (ed) The Citizen in Communication – Re-visiting traditional, new and community media practices in South Africa. Claremont, Juta: 97- 112.

Teaching Expertise

  • Writing for the Media
  • Introduction to Cultural Studies
  • Introduction to Cultural Studies
  • Media and South Africa
  • Public Relations
  • Television Studies
  • New Media Studies
  • Ethics and Journalism
  • Corporate Communication
  • Research Methodologies


  • Asanda Africander (Graduated 2018). Student Perceptions of Copyright at UKZN Pietermaritzburg.
  • Mwezi Sukude. (Graduated 2018) Celebrity for Sale: A study of UKZN students’ perceptions of the influence that celebrity endorsements have on their buying behaviour.
  • Brendan Hawkins (Graduated 2018). An analysis of how McGregor and Mayweather were represented on Twitter.
  • Nompumelelo Dlamuka (Graduated 2017). Race Representation: A semiotic analysis of the #FeesMustFall protest on Instagram in October 2015.
  • Sibusiso Ntombela (Graduated 2017). Tabloids & Ethics: An Examination of the Daily Sun.
  • Shivona Maharaj (Graduated 2017) Protest 101: A comparative analysis of the photographic representation of black students during the 1976 Soweto uprising and the 2015 #FeesMustFall movement on Instagram.
  • Husnaa Bayat (Graduated 2017) Framing Photography: An Analysis of Police-Student Interactions on Instagram During #FeesMustFall Protests.
  • Kate Wilkinson (Graduated 2016) Privacy is not dead! An ethnographic analysis of young, Pietermaritzburg-based adults and their use of privacy settings on Facebook.
  • Sunehra Maikoo (Graduated 2016) Comparing the Representation of Terror Attacks on CNN: An analysis of Charlie Hebdo attacks and Boko Haram.
  • Darisha Govender (Graduated 2016) Analysing the popularity of Pinterest and its use among Pietermaritzburg women.
  • Yashen Moodley (Graduated 2016) What do Witness readers want to see on the front page?
  • Mellisa Muchena (Graduated 2015) A comparative analysis of UKZN students’ use of Facebook as a news source.
  • Merusha Naidoo. (Graduated 2015) A comparative analysis of The Witness and The Mercury’s framing of Oscar Pistorius during his murder trial.
  • Sine Ngubane. (Graduated 2015) Investigating how UKZN students respond to the representation of Nicki Minaj in her music videos Beez in the Trap and Superbass.
  • Tegan Mitchell (Graduated 2015) Analysing the representation of Oscar Pistorius during his murder trial on Carte Blanche’s Channel 199.
  • Mathabo Duma (Graduated 2015) An investigation of how UKZN’s Basotho student population use Facebook to represent themselves through language.
  • Tamantha Frankland (Graduated 2015) A comparative analysis of the IOL’s representation of Nelson Mandela 2010-2013.
  • Stephanie Sheik. (Graduated 2014) Oscar vs Reeva: a comparative analysis of the hero/victim narrative in the Sunday Times coverage of the Reeva Steenkamp murder.
  • Tayla Holtz. (Graduated 2014) An ethical examination of the You magazine’s 28 February representation of Oscar Pistorius’ role in the Reeva Steenkamp murder.
  • Lisa Keyser (Graduated 2012) Exploring the use of Facebook as a recruitment tool in South African retail.
  • Rebecca Taylor (Graduated 2012) Analysing the use of Facebook by South Africans over 40.
  • Tatum Barnes (Graduated 2012) Determining the most popular Facebook applications used by South African students.
  • Sibiniso Ngcobo (Graduated 2012) Student responses to the depiction of Julius Malema by political cartoonist Zapiro.
  • Courtney Jameson (co-supervisor, graduated 2010) Exploring masculinity in the work of Martin Scorscese: A comparison of The Departed, Goodfellas and Taxi Driver.
  • Buyisile Nene (co-supervisor, graduated 2010) Analysing the representation of the mother figure in South African cinema: Comparing Tsosti and Yesterday. University of KwaZulu-Natal.
  • Warwick Jones (Graduated 2018) Redefining the Reel: How Skam redefines traditional notion of reality and fictional television.
  • Mathabo Duma (Graduated 2018) A comparative analysis of Southern African students response to social media branding.
  • Mellisa Muchena (Graduated 2018) Hashtags and binding community: Investigating Social Curation within the #FeesMustFall Community.
  • Sine Ngubane (Graduated 2017) What is “a good Zulu woman”? A study of UKZN students’ perception of women and culture.
  • Nikolai Pillay (Graduated 2017) Assessing the Perceived Value of Select Online ‘Hacktavist’ Campaigns Among UKZN Students.
  • Damien Tomaselli (co-supervisor, graduated 2015) – The print to digital transcendence of the visual rhetoric of comic books with narrative design.