City Press is commended for two of its stories, “Soccer riches a bridge too far” (05/10/08, p. 26) by Waldimar Pelser, and “Learners to pave way for World Cup” (Gauteng Section, 05/10/08, p. 8) by Ndaba Dlamini/JNA. In both of these articles children are given space to tell their own stories.
Media Monitoring Project (MMP) has found that even in coverage of events involving children, including sports events, children are too rarely given the chance to speak for themselves (Daya, B. et al, 2004 .
An example of this, “Soccer festival pulls in the kids” (The Star, 29/09/08, p.5), was discussed in an earlier MAD OAT (2008) Excluding children’s views undermines The Star’s efforts”.
By giving children space to talk about what they are involved in, these articles break with this tradition.
In “Learners to pave way for world cup” (City Press, Gauteng Section, 05/10/08, p.8), children share their views on their participation in the project called “My 2010 School Adventure”, a project involving children in the build-up to the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa. The children are named and directly quoted.
In this instance, this is in their best interest, as they are proud to participate in a project that is for a good cause. By accessing and naming the children, the children are publicly credited for their contribution, and encouraged to further their good work.
The article also shows that children can be active participants in shaping their country. Showing children taking part in projects that are part of the world’s greatest soccer showpiece, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, shows that children have a role to play in shaping the events of the world.
In the article “Soccer riches a bridge too far”, (City Press, 05/10/08, p.26), children are also given a platform to share their dreams. In telling their own stories, they tell how they would like to emulate the great soccer players. Here children tell how they see soccer as a means to get out of poverty, and also how they look up to their role models for motivation to achieve their dreams.
Both articles source prominent people in the field of education and soccer. In “Learners pave way for World Cup”, Education Minister Naledi Pandor and 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee Chairperson Irvin Khoza are quoted in the article, in support of what the children are saying. In “Soccer riches a bridge too far”, editor of the Nigeria edition of football magazine Four Four Two, Samm Audu, and the Nigerian national soccer coach Amodu Shaibu are quoted.
Congratulations go specifically to the journalists, Ndaba Dlamini and Waldimar Pelser, for their well researched stories, and for giving voice to children. Their contribution is especially valuable during a time when there has been newspaper coverage that focused on more negative issues relating to children such as school violence.
1. Daya, B., Vreenogoor, B., Bird, W. & Harries, G. 2004. Children: Dying to Make the News: An analysis of children’s coverage in the South African news media. Media Monitoring Project: Johannesburg, p.9.