Resources - Get Mad/Glad

Well done! Sunday Times

1 July 2016

Sunday Times’ “Thando, 6, reads about it in the Sunday papers” (29/05/2016) by Thembalethu Zulu deserves a GLAD.  The article ticks all the boxes for what Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) defines as the best example of good practice when it comes to reporting on children.

The story by Thembalethu Zulu, reports on six-year-old Thando Dhlamini, who likes reading Sunday newspapers with her parents. According to the article, Thando started reading when she was four years old and is now often a role model amongst other grades in her school because of her exceptional abilities.

The story accesses the child and photographs her reading a newspaper in school - a positive image which shows the young achiever in an empowering role.

“I do reading and writing really well … I feel happy and excited because everyone is happy that I can read,” she is quoted saying in the article.

It is always important to access children’s views in stories about them as this affords them an opportunity to voice their own experiences and opinions. Doing so also helps increase children’s voices in the media, a space where they are often neglected.  Previous reports show that children are given less opportunities to raise their views in relevant stories. In 2015, only nine percent of children’s stories accessed children.  This result is from an analysis that was conducted over a period of five months which saw 15 mainstream media houses, including Sunday Times, being monitored.

This kind of reporting by Sunday Times is also in line with the Times Media Group’s Editorial Policy (which the newspaper is bound by) particularly the section about children which states in part, “We recognise that children have the right to have their voices heard and to participate in decisions affecting them. Where appropriate, we undertake to give children access to the media to express their views”.

Well done Sunday Times! We hope that you will continue to publish many articles that provide a good representation of children.

By Musa Rikhotso

1 On a weekly basis, MMA highlights cases of good practice, where the media has promoted the rights and welfare of children, otherwise referred to as “GLADs”, as well as instances where the rights and welfare of children have been compromised through irresponsible media coverage, referred to as “MADs”
2 http://mma-ecm.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/ChildrensReport2015-2.pdf

The journalist, Thembalethu Zulu responded to the commentary and the following is what she said:

Thank you for this.  I appreciate the recognition.