The Children's News Agency (C.N.A) is a component of a revolutionary project known as "Children and the Media Championing Best Practice" by Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) and its partner Media Network on Children's Rights Development (MNCRD), supported by the European Commission, Save the Children Sweden and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
As part of the C.N.A, children have for the first time in South Africa produced news content for mainstream media since 2011. This is quite a significant initiative as reports by Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) have shown in the past that children are poorly portrayed in the media and hardly have a say in matters affecting them. This is concerning considering that children make up 39% of the population. MMA has worked with children from local schools in the past and through their participation, discovered how their rights have been violated in the media. How better then to change this, by involving children in the news-making and distribution process?
The Children's News Agency journalists are taught various skills of the trade by qualified journalists from MMA. Such elements include:
- the five W’s and an H
- how to write both news and feature articles
- how to handle sources and difficult situations
- the importance of deadlines
- what is newsworthy etc.
Through the project, these pupils learn how to produce news. This includes identifying story ideas for print and broadcasting and reporting on them. They will gain invaluable skills and lessons on the news-gathering and editorial processes. This will be a practical means for them to promote and enforce the main rights of children in the media namely the right to participation, expression, dignity and privacy, which is lacking in our media at the moment.