Women in Media Gather In South AFrica

More than 200 editors and journalists from around the world are gathered in Durban for the inaugural Women in News Summit aimed at increasing women leadership and voices through mentorship. Running under theme, “Breaking Through”, the summit is being held in association with the World News Media Congress.

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Officially opening the summit here on Wednesday, Swedish Ambassador to South Africa, Ms Cecilia Julin, said it was important for newsrooms to embrace female leadership to ensure inclusivity of ideas.

“Newsroom leadership should embrace the diversity that women bring in our newsrooms,” she said.

“To leave out women is to exclude half the potential of ideas that can actually improve and enhance reportage in the newsrooms, something which is lacking and affecting the quality and depth of stories that we read.”

Sharing her experience, South African National Editors Forum chairperson and political editor for 24.com, Gallens Mahlatsi, said women in newsrooms still struggled for space and recognition despite the existing policies on equity.

“Getting space and recognition in the newsroom is not easy, you just have to struggle,” she said.

“In my journalism career, I have had defining moments, which were not defined by my capabilities, but by my gender.

“I have had moments when at times sources had to ask me to come wearing a dress so that I would be granted an interview. I had to choose between maintaining a relationship or go to DRC as a war correspondent. In all these defining moments, I told myself that I was still as good as any man in the newsroom.”

During the summit, two female media women, Karima Kamal, columnist and contributing editor from Egypt and Kenyan managing editor of the East African under the Nation Media Group, Pamela Sitton, received the Women in News 2017 Editorial Leadership Awards for their outstanding contribution towards the development and empowerment of media workers.

Started in 2010, Women in News is working with more than 80 media organisations from 12 countries, including Zimbabwe, to increase women’s leadership and voices in the news.

Since inception, the programme has applied a multi-faceted approach to capacity building, emphasising coaching, mentoring and networking as complements to media and newsroom leadership training.

Source: allafrica.com

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