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CCYSC Blog Theme for May-June 2022: Children & Youth in Journalism

Updated: Apr 28, 2022




We are excited to announce the CCYSC Blog Theme for May-June 2022: "Children & Youth in Journalism.”


Journalism, as a subset of media, is a heavily contoured space that is not limited to the mere reportage of facts and events. The practice of journalism is deeply cultural, while also being “a form of expression or brain work that includes making news judgments, gathering evidence, constructing narratives and making sense of things” (Adam, 2008). The solemnity associated with the space has endorsed practices and narratives that are largely adultist. While there is significant mention of children and matters that concern them, they are rarely recruited as active participants and as a result speak through the lens of adult experiences and not their own.

Despite the growing acknowledgement of the value of listening to children’s voices, the inclusion of their views is relatively limited. The social constructivist perspective emphasizes the importance of eliciting and understanding children’s lived experiences. Within this, children are understood as active co-constructors of meaning, with each child’s knowledge claim being legitimate in its own right; therefore creating a space that includes (and prioritizes) knowledge and dialogue that is inclusive of children. “Children do not simply imitate or internalize the world around them. They strive to interpret or make sense of their culture and participate in it. In attempting to make sense of the adult world, children come to collectively produce their own peer worlds and cultures” (Cosaro, 2005).


The conventional values of newsworthiness and urgency in journalism have often neglected children as a target audience of journalism, and as subjects of stories as well. It is worth investigating the nature of child or youth-centric stories that appear in mainstream journalism - oftentimes, these stories carry elements that are intended for sensationalization. The very nature of contemporary journalism driven by attention-garnering lends itself to superficial coverage of events and communities, and children are sorely afflicted by exaggerated portrayals and a dilution of their rights. There exists a framework of guidelines and regulations that are intended to protect children’s rights, such as the International Federation of Journalists guidelines (McIntyre, 2002), and the Delhi High Court’s Principles (Civil Writ Petition No. 787, 2012). Yet, the rigorous implementation of these regulations and the defense of child rights remains a negligible effort. For instance, Neeti Daftari (2014) and Shakuntala Banaji (2017) have bemoaned the lack of a supervisory body for monitoring child rights in India.


Through this theme, we intend to steer the conversation on journalistic production and consumption towards children and childhood, particularly in South Asia. We aim to understand the different ways in which journalism impacts childhoods and the ways in which children perceive and participate in it. Further, we also aim to explore the limits of such participation and consumption, while taking into account shifting grounds within journalism (like the internet) that open up avenues for production and participation. This theme would seek to explore questions such as: what counts as news to children, and who defines this; the portrayal of children and youth in journalism; the agency and voice of children and youth in production as well as reporting of news; as well as, the choices of journalism consumption available for children.

The digital age has radically redefined journalism with myriad outlets for both production and distribution. This diversity of journalistic content has paved the way for children and youth to transcend adultist barriers within this space. People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) and The Print’s ‘Campus Voice’ initiative are exemplars in this regard, encouraging student reporting. Through this blog, we hope to initiate a dialogue that addresses the many overlooked nuances that limit and stereotype children in journalism, thereby hoping to develop a discourse to redefine the conventions of journalism which has so far privileged adult voices.


We invite submissions from adults and children relevant to the theme of "Children & Youth in Journalism”. Submissions can be made in a wide variety of genres and media: academic papers, essays, research articles, or creative submissions in the form of fiction, poetry, video, audio, or mixed media and photo essays, and articles focusing on children and youth as audiences, objects, and contributors to journalism. Written contributions should not be more than 1500-2000 words. For video contributions, please ensure that the file size is not more than 10 GB. All material should be sent to childyouth2020@gmail.com. Please send your submissions by 15th May 2022.


Feel free to circulate this call in your networks. We look forward to your engagement with our theme!





References


Adam, S. G. (2008, December 31). Thinking Ahead: The Difference between Journalism and Media. Poynter. Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://www.poynter.org/archive/2008/thinking-ahead-the-difference-between-journalism-and-media/


Angle, S., Baerthlein, T., Daftari, N., Rambaud, B., Roshani, N. (2014). Protecting the Rights of Children: The Role of the Media. Published by Internews Europe.


Banaji, S. (2017). Children and Media in India: Narratives of Class, Agency and Social Change. United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis.


Cosaro, W. A. (2005). The sociology of childhood (2nd ed.). Pine Forge Press/Sage Publications Co.


McIntyre, P. (2002). Putting Children in the Right - Guidelines for Journalists, p6. Published by the International Federation of Journalists.


Writ Petition (Civil) NO 787 of 2012. Guidelines for media reporting on children approved by the High Court of Delhi.







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