UNAIDS report: The Times paints a more detailed picture
25 November 2011
The New Age (TNA) and Citizen allocated but small amounts of space to ‘good news’ reports contrasted with The Times’ headline ‘SA still an HIV country’, which was a portent of a more serious approach. The Star also jumped onto the bandwagon, dedicating by far the most space (half a page) to two separate articles on the findings of the report which were syndicated from the health-e website.
The positive thrust of TNA and Citizen’s pieces might give some people the impression that The Times was playing the role of killjoy, with its decidedly more gloomy take on the report.
But this could actually be the result of more accurate, in-depth and just generally ‘better’ journalism on the part of the latter.
TNA and the Citizen neglected the more specific South Africans statistics, in favour of stats and information that applies to the 48 countries that make up sub-Saharan Africa.
In doing this the articles essentially took a very quick look at a very large area, and in the process, information specific to the South African epidemic was swallowed up and averaged out by other countries’ facts and figures.
This was thrown into sharp relief by The Times’ focus on specifically South African statistics, establishing that there is still much to be done to address HIV in South Africa.
The Times also took the time to analyse the report, talking to Dr Catherine Sozi, coordinator of UNAIDS South Africa, who confirmed that while there was good news, South Africa had no reason to become complacent.
In comparison, The TNA and The Citizen’s reports seem to be constructed almost entirely of verbatim quotes, which selectively sum up a small part of the report.
blog comments powered by Disqus