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The Times paints a good picture of a child
2 February 2017
Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) awards a GLAD1 to The Times for focusing on a child with a bright future in tennis and accessing him.
“SA teenager catches eye of ace coach” (The Times, 23/01/2017, p.7) by Dave Chambers talks about a 17 year old tennis player who competed in the Australian Open Junior Championship. Even though the young boy ‘was dumped out of the first round’, his skills still caught the eye of one of the biggest tennis coaches in the world and mother of World No. 1, Andy Murray. A positive photograph showing the boy displaying his talent accompanies the article.
To enrich the story, the journalist speaks to Siphosothando Montsi, the child involved in this story. In the article, Montsi says of Judy Murray, the coach who was impressed with his skill, “It was really nice to meet her. She told me that she loves the way I play, especially my drop shots. She said I have a beautiful serve ... She also loves my name!”
While the article focuses on Montsi, it also mentions the other young tennis players who include Montsi’s 14 year old brother. In the article, the group’s coach calls them ‘the new “golden generation” of South African tennis’.
Even though the article mentions that the child did not successfully complete the first round and that his mother needs financial assistance to send her children to a sports academy in the United States of America, it focuses on Montsi and shows him in a positive manner.
The Times adhered to their own Editorial policy2 as well as the United Nations on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)3 by interviewing the child. The Times Media Editorial Policy reads 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.” Articles 12 and 13 of the UNCRC promote children’s rights to express their opinions and views.
MMA encourages the media to tell stories that highlight children’s achievements, portray them positively and include their views. This does not only enrich the story with children’s perspectives but also empowers them. We applaud Dave Chambers and The Times newspaper as a whole for a great story and hope to read more of such articles in future as children’s voices need to be heard and achievements celebrated.
By Jacques Ndong
1A GLAD refers to an article where the rights and welfare of children have been promoted