Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) would like to commend City Press for the article “From ‘prawns’ to chess master for SA’s rising star” (16/04/2017, p.10).
The article, which has been selected for a GLAD, is about Keegan Agulhas, a 17-year-old chess sensation whose story is an inspiration to many. Keegan is reported to have just won the title of FIDE World Chess Federation Master, “the third highest ranking in global chess.” City Press highlights and names other competitions, local and international, that Keegan has won, impressing on the reader the magnitude of his achievements.
The child is represented as a champion and is given the opportunity to tell his own story. For instance, he recalls how losing a game during the initial stage of his journey motivated him: “I did badly with a score of 2.5 out of nine. I didn’t take that loss well because I am competitive and I cried, but defeat motivated me to be a better player,” he is quoted saying.
This story is a good example of how children can be positively represented in the news and breaks the trend whereby they are often just the passive subjects of news stories, and mostly featured as victims and/or are not given the opportunity to speak for themselves. In research conducted by MMA in 2015, the findings revealed that only nine percent of the children’s stories accessed or quoted children. This was a decrease from the 11 percent recorded in 2014.
Such stories are important for readers to see featured more regularly in our newspapers and other media. This provides children with the opportunity to participate in the news and become positive role models to their fellows and, show them that they too can excel.
We applaud City Press and encourage the publication to continue shining the light on the talents of other children. We also urge other media to emulate City Press’s efforts.
By Ntsako Manganyi
A GLAD is awarded when a journalist reports on a child responsibly and promotes his or her best interests