Running on empty

Date: January 1, 1970
  • SHARE:

Access to safe water is still a problem for many villagers in Oshitudha, northern Namibia.

This article may be used in training to:
Examine the portrayal of rural women and elderly women in the media.
 Trainer’s notes:
Although this story has 2 male and 3 female sources the perspective that dominates is that of women. One of the two males who speak in the story is a man in a position of formal authority and comments on the issue from that position. What is unique in this story is that elderly women, who are often invisible in the mainstream media, are accessed along with young women in this story. This is an important group of the public, which is not accessed by the media.
The dominance of women’s voices in this story however, conveys the message that it is mainly women who are hit hardest by lack of water due to their domestic chores and traditional gender role in the home. The reporter should have interviewed also more men, both young and old, for this article.
This story is however a good example of a significant shift from ‘traditional’ news reporting where the voices of those in positions of prominence or authority dominate.
In this article the story is told through the voices and perspectives of the people affected by the issue reported – males and females – and the ‘experts’ are used only to answer ‘why’ there is a problem, ‘what is being done’, or to give a ‘right of reply’.
There also is a good use of facts and figures in this story that helps to illustrate the severity of the problem.
Training exercises:
1) Elderly women – invisible for the media?
Discuss in groups why journalists hardly ever interview elderly women and especially women from from the rural areas on political, economic and social issues. Each person in the group should give one reason, and group together should come with solutions to overcome these obstacles (which very often are journalists’ perceptions about elderly women’s capacity to speak on behalf of themselves and their communities). Groups should also discuss in what kind of roles are elderly women portrayed when they appear in the media.
2) Read the case study and discuss the following:
·    What is the angle of the story?
·    What approach is used to cover the issue?
·    Are a variety of sources, representing a broad spectrum of views, consulted?
·    Is there adequate context and balance? What’s missing?
·    Is the story analytical? Explain why or why not.
Links to other training resources:
“Gender in Media Training, a Southern African Tool Kit”, chapter nine: Human Rights

Download : runningonempty

Comment on Running on empty

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *