Take short cour­ses, jour­nal­ists urged

Grocott's Mail - - HIGHWAY AFRICA 2017 - By AMINA ASMA

On the fi­nal day of the High­way Africa-SACOMM Con­fer­ence 2017, Rhodes aca­demic Dr Vanessa Malila spoke about ac­count­abil­ity in the Eastern Cape Ed­u­ca­tion De­part­ment.

Malila’s 1 Sep­tem­ber pre­sen­ta­tion was The Role of the Me­dia in So­cial Ac­count­abil­ity Ad­vo­cacy – Un­der­stand­ing the Im­pact and Vis­i­bil­ity in the Case of Ed­u­ca­tion Ser­vice De­liv­ery in the Eastern Cape; and it was part of a par­al­lel ses­sion un­der the theme, De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­ni­ca­tion at Rhodes Univer­sity. In the study Dr Malila, who is head of the Ad­vo­cacy Im­pact Pro­gramme at PSAM (the Public ser­vice Ac­count­abil­ity Mon­i­tor), looks deeper into who gath­ers in­for­ma­tion and how that in­for­ma­tion is gath­ered.

“The main voices one of­ten finds in the me­dia with re­gards to is­sues within the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, are hardly ever the voices of the learn­ers,” Malila said. She added that the tone in which in­for­ma­tion is re­ported of­ten tells me­dia con­sumers the stance the me­dia pro­duc­ers have taken. In her opin­ion, this trend needs to change with the aim for jour­nal­ists to only “re­port what they need to re­port and not to pro­vide their opin­ion”.

Malila’s other key point was the is­sue of me­dia pro­duc­ers pro­duc­ing con­tent that dis­plays a lack of in­ter­est or lack of knowl­edge in a sub­ject. “Get clued up about what you are talk­ing about and if need be take a short course,” Malila ad­vises as a rem­edy. She en­cour­aged jour­nal­ists and me­dia pro­duc­ers to ask them­selves the ques­tion, ‘how does what I am re­port­ing on gen­uinely af­fect some­one that might be con­sum­ing what I am pro­duc­ing?’

• Amina Asma was re­port­ing for Open Source, me­dia plat­form

of High­way Africa

Photo: Amina Asma

Dr Vanessa Malila, Head of Ad­vo­cacy Im­pact Pro­gramme at PSAM.

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