Determination, pure talent and magical musical instruments like the cello, are some of the thoughts and images that string across one’s mind when reading Saturday Star’s feature article, “Marching to the music” (15/09/2012, p.13) selected as this week’s GLAD.1
The article, published in the Canvas Life section of the newspaper, explores the commitment and talent of a group of youngsters from the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company. The group has performed in various music festivals, in one instance playing, “among more than 800 performers giving seven shows to more than 20 000 people,” the article states.
Saturday Star deserves to be congratulated for its child-centred approach; consistently drawing attention to the children, their capabilities and passion. “Saturday morning in Soweto – other kids are probably kicking soccer balls, but this group of chattering youngsters are carrying instrument cases,” writes the journalist Jenny De Klerk.
The full-page piece is accompanied by pictures of the children playing different musical instruments including that of a group violin lesson. “I love music” one of the avid youngsters was quoted as saying.
This kind of reporting is in line with Media Monitoring Africa’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media.2 These encourage journalists to aim to give children a voice in the media and “play a positive role in portraying children and their rights and therefore support better attitudes and opinions about children”.
In a media environment where children’s activities and issues affecting them are often not given due recognition,3 “Marching to the music” stands out.
We urge Saturday Star to continue this trend and for media in general to follow suit – these stories need to be heard.
In response to the commentary, Saturday Star’s journalist, Jenny De Klerk said:
“Thank you. I am honoured. It’s a worthy story and the children are wonderful.”
1. Media Monitoring Africa’s Make Abuse Disappear Online Accountability Tool (MAD OAT) highlights cases of good practice, where the media has promoted the rights and welfare of children, otherwise referred to as GLADs. ↩
2. Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media available onhttps://www.mediamonitoringafrica.org/index.php/resources/entry/editorial_guidelines_and_principles_on_reporting_on_children_in_the_media/↩
3. Media Monitoring Africa released reports on the coverage of children in South Africa which show that children are still underrepresented in the media.https://www.mediamonitoringafrica.org/index.php/resources/entry/reporting_on_children_-_is_there_coverage_getting_any_better_is_there_some/↩