The next cadre of women leaders in the newsroom - successful participants in the Media Management class of 2018 who were certified on January 16, 2019 - are raring to make their mark in the industry.
The women received certificates for completing the Media Management course offered at Wits Journalism, and digital certificates for an online skills programme developed by frayintermedia in association with the World Association of Newspapers.
The participants certified at the ceremony held at Sunnyside Park Hotel hail from different parts of South Africa.
Some successful applicants also benefited from coaching with Paula Fray, former editor of the Saturday Star.
The Media Management certificate course was developed by Wits University and delivered by frayintermedia and the South African National Editors Forum, with funding provided by the Fibre Processing & Manufacturing (FP&M) SETA.
The course prepares potential women newsroom leaders for management challenges and addresses prevalent gender equality disparities in South Africa’s media sector.
Also present at the certification ceremony was Glenda Daniels, associate professor at the Wits University, who fleshed out some realities women faced in newsrooms.
Daniels, who co-authored the Glass Ceiling Report 2018 which monitors gender equality in newsrooms, said although there is progress in some areas like the equal number of women and men staff in newsrooms, the picture is gloomy in other respects.
Only 36% of women in news are in senior management. In boards women have fared far worse, declining from 38% in 2009 to 19% in 2018.
Wits Associate Professor, Glenda Daniels said the pay gap, where men earn 27% more on average than women, has widened.
The certification ceremony also gave an opportunity to reflect on the upcoming 2019 general elections to be held sometime in May 2019.
Dr Sandra Roberts, frayintermedia’s Head of Research, moderated the discussion titled Changing Narratives drawing insights from panelists Nwabisa Makunga, Editor at The Herald, and Moipone Malefane who is Political Editor at the Sowetan.
“I wish I knew that my voice mattered and that I did not have to be anyone besides myself to make an impact,”
- Nwabisa Makunga, Editor, The Herald
Nwabisa Makunga and Moipone Malefane shared their experiences on becoming leaders at their respective publications.
For Malefane, electoral coverage is usually distorted because not enough women sources are included in news. This is despite more women are invariably affected by policy proposals from contending parties. She said more training is required to amplify more women voices.
Women’s voices are often muted in newsrooms. Nwabisa Makunga said, “I wish I knew that my voice mattered and that I did not have to be anyone besides myself to make an impact”.
Felleng Yende, CEO of FP&M SETA, said from their side there is enough commitment to equip women in media leadership as they frame important narratives that shape the perceptions of society.