The readers have spoken

The readers have spoken

THE concerns and views of men and women are equally reflected in The Namibian, according to a recent survey.

Reports in the newspaper promoted gender equality and did not discriminate against women or men, but “treated both equally”, readers who took part in the survey said. About 500 readers responded to a questionnaire in the newspaper a few weeks ago.The results were analysed by Gender & Media Southern Africa (Gemsa), which conducted the survey in several countries in southern Africa.About 60,9 per cent of the people who responded to the questionnaire were men and 39,1 per cent women.The findings were presented last week in Johannesburg at the second biennial Gender and Media Summit by Angelika Reilly, who heads the advertising department of The Namibian.The theme of the summit was ‘Media Diversity and Sustainability: Good for Business, Good for Democracy’.Women who took part in the survey preferred articles on educational and social issues and stories about women as role models.Men favoured political stories most.Male and female readers of The Namibian felt that women featured in news reports mostly as victims of crime (about 75 per cent of respondents), followed by stories of women as beauty models (63 per cent), health workers (60 per cent) community members (about 50 per cent) and as homemakers.The 500 or so readers also noted in the questionnaire that men were mostly represented as politicians (over 90 per cent), while 91.2 per cent of the women said that men featured highly as criminals.The Gender and Media Baseline Study (GMBS), conducted by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) and Gender Links in 2002, showed that only 18 per cent of news sources in the approximately 39 000 news items analysed in the Southern African region were about women.Following on from the survey, Gender Links and Misa conducted a region-wide Gender and Media Audience Study (GMAS) two months ago.The study looked at the gender dimensions of news consumption patterns, including what women and men want more of and less of in the news.Several media houses have been using innovative strategies to increase audiences and readership, particularly among women.The GMAS has led to media houses conducting Gender and Media Audience Studies specific to their institutions, including The Namibian.Most of the readers who participated in the survey were black (90,8 per cent) and lived in urban areas (78,1 per cent) while 14,1 per cent lived in rural and peri-urban areas.Altogether 60 per cent were in the 20 to 35 age group, 20 per cent were between 36 and 50, while 15 per cent were younger than 20 and 5,2 per cent were older than 50.Some 54,3 per cent of the respondents said they had tertiary education followed by 42,4 per cent who had secondary education, while 3,3 per cent of the 500 respondents indicated they had not gone beyond primary education.About 57,3 per cent of men said their copy of The Namibian was read by more than five people, while 42,5 per cent of women said the same.The favourite sections of the newspaper among female readers (41 per cent) were the front page, followed by Youthpaper (15,4).Male respondents also opted for the front page (38 per cent), while in-depth news features (16 per cent) and the sports section (16 per cent) were also favoured.Most men and women agreed that news would be even more interesting of there were more news stories on women doing a wider range of activities.”Women should be portrayed more in a professional and a leadership role,” a female reader commented.Both sexes noted that stories about men as parents, homemakers and role models would also be interesting.Some male readers stated on the response form that they wanted to read stories about men as farmers and adventurers, while one man wrote that stories about gay men would also be interesting.On general topics, readers wanted more features on basic human rights of citizens, on the Namibian Constitution, crime prevention, more editorials per week, more stories from rural areas and more focus on achievers who came from a humble and disadvantaged background.Some readers commented that they would like to read more local news.About 500 readers responded to a questionnaire in the newspaper a few weeks ago.The results were analysed by Gender & Media Southern Africa (Gemsa), which conducted the survey in several countries in southern Africa.About 60,9 per cent of the people who responded to the questionnaire were men and 39,1 per cent women.The findings were presented last week in Johannesburg at the second biennial Gender and Media Summit by Angelika Reilly, who heads the advertising department of The Namibian.The theme of the summit was ‘Media Diversity and Sustainability: Good for Business, Good for Democracy’.Women who took part in the survey preferred articles on educational and social issues and stories about women as role models.Men favoured political stories most.Male and female readers of The Namibian felt that women featured in news reports mostly as victims of crime (about 75 per cent of respondents), followed by stories of women as beauty models (63 per cent), health workers (60 per cent) community members (about 50 per cent) and as homemakers.The 500 or so readers also noted in the questionnaire that men were mostly represented as politicians (over 90 per cent), while 91.2 per cent of the women said that men featured highly as criminals.The Gender and Media Baseline Study (GMBS), conducted by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) and Gender Links in 2002, showed that only 18 per cent of news sources in the approximately 39 000 news items analysed in the Southern African region were about women.Following on from the survey, Gender Links and Misa conducted a region-wide Gender and Media Audience Study (GMAS) two months ago.The study looked at the gender dimensions of news consumption patterns, including what women and men want more of and less of in the news.Several media houses have been using innovative strategies to increase audiences and readership, particularly among women.The GMAS has led to media houses conducting Gender and Media Audience Studies specific to their institutions, including The Namibian.Most of the readers who participated in the survey were black (90,8 per cent) and lived in urban areas (78,1 per cent) while 14,1 per cent lived in rural and peri-urban areas.Altogether 60 per cent were in the 20 to 35 age group, 20 per cent were between 36 and 50, while 15 per cent were younger than 20 and 5,2 per cent were older than 50.Some 54,3 per cent of the respondents said they had tertiary education followed by 42,4 per cent who had secondary education, while 3,3 per cent of the 500 respondents indicated they had not gone beyond primary education.About 57,3 per cent of men said their copy of The Namibian was read by more than five people, while 42,5 per cent of women said the same.The favourite sections of the newspaper among female readers (41 per cent) were the front page, followed by Youthpaper (15,4).Male respondents also opted for the front page (38 per cent), while in-depth news features (16 per cent) and the sports section (16 per cent) were also favoured.Most men and women agreed that news would be even more interesting of there were more news stories on women doing a wider range of activities.”Women should be portrayed more in a professional and a leadership role,” a female reader commented.Both sexes noted that stories about men as parents, homemakers and role models would also be interesting.Some male readers stated on the response form that they wanted to read stories about men as farmers and adventurers, while one man wrote that stories about gay men would also be interesting.On general topics, readers wanted more features on basic human rights of citizens, on the Namibian Constitution, crime prevention, more editorials per week, more stories from rural areas and more focus on achievers who came from a humble and disadvantaged background.Some readers commented that they would like to read more local news.

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