Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is proud to award a GLAD to The Citizen and Weekend Argus for highlighting children’s achievements and accessing them for their views.
The first story titled, “Grade 10 Junior Achievement of SA winners head to Ghana” (The Citizen, 16/07/2018/, p.6) reports on one of the eight winners of the 2018 Junior Achievement South Africa (Jasa) competition, Gugulethu Ngwenyama. According to the story, Gugulethu’s company whose product is a “unique magnifier for mobile devices”, won the Company of the Year contest. Gugulethu will reportedly take part in the continental competition to be held in Ghana.
The journalist, Chisom Jenniffer Okoye places the grade 10 pupil from McAuley House in Johannesburg at the centre of the story and accesses her on how she felt about winning. Gugulethu, who is portrayed positively by the journalist is quoted saying, “This shows all our hard work and dedication to our product is being recognised. We believe this product will have an impact on people who have bad eyesight and people who can’t afford laptops and tablets.”
The same story is reported by Noloyiso Mtembu under the title “Young entrepreneurs to represent South Africa” (Weekend Argus, 28/07/2018). In this story, the journalist interviews the general manager of the winning company, 15-year-old Amohelang Molefi who is quoted about her company’s name saying, “Meraki is a Greek word used to describe putting yourself into what you are doing”. The article also has a picture of Amohelang and her business partner, Gugulethu Ngwenyama with their trophy.
According to both articles, the competition aims to encourage learners between grades 10 and 12 to come up with creative community driven business ideas, which they pitch to various business sectors and the winner receives funding worth R5000 to assist realise this idea within their school.
In 2016, MMA’s research showed that only 12% of stories about children accessed children for their views. It is for this reason that MMA awards both stories a GLAD because the journalists challenge this pattern of not including children’s voices in stories about them. The journalists are also commended for celebrating children’s achievements.
MMA believes that accessing children’s views in media coverage, when it is in their best interest to do so is very important, as this allows for the inclusion of their perspective and voices and ideas on issues that affect them.
We therefore congratulate The Citizen and Weekend Argus for focusing on the children’s achievements, giving them an opportunity to have their voices heard and portraying the learners as active agents who have the potential to contribute towards economic growth through their invention.
We encourage these two media to continue reporting on children in positive stories about them in such a manner.
By Phakamile Khumalo
 A GLAD refers to an article where the rights and welfare of children have been promoted.