Die aanbieding van politiek as nuusonderwerp in Sarie, Rooi Rose en Fair Lady (1994-2005)
Boshoff, Catharina Helena
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This dissertation discusses the presentation of politics as news topic in the South African women's magazines Fair Lady, Rooi Rose and SARIE in selected years from democratisation in 1994 to 2004. The basic assumption of the study is that the media has the pertinent function to inform and educate society to effectively partake in a democracy, especially where women's levels of political knowledge are lower than those of men. Due to the fact that women's magazines are popular reading material amongst women, it is uniquely positioned to provide political information to them, apart from the fact that they have not been traditionally prone to do so. It is recommended that the points of departure of the online evaluation model, schema theory and agenda setting theory be considered in the selection and presentation of information to contribute to women's political knowledge acquisition. According to the first mentioned theory most people learn about politics coincidentally as they do not search actively for this type of information. According to the schema theory all acquired knowledge on a topic is grouped together and these knowledge structures influence how people receive, process and react to new information. Agenda setting basically implies that the reader is prone to regard an issue that receives a relatively high frequency of coverage in the media as more important than one not receiving much attention. The aspects that are highlighted regarding the specific issue are also viewed as more important than other aspects. Against this theoretical background guidelines were created for the presentation of politics in women's magazines. These departure points were verified against articles in Ms. Magazine, a publication already covering politics. The guidelines served as basis for a qualitative content analysis of political news items in Fair Lady, Rooi Rose and SARIE. The results show that Fair Lady has a high level of political coverage while Rooi Rose and SARIE have considerably less. The publications already implement most of the guidelines to a degree. However, in an effort to attract and keep readers' attention to political news items more, some guidelines could be utilised more consciously. In closing it is argued that the publications should take care to provide the reader with what they want to ensure economic survival, but that the socially responsible editorial team member may make use of the guidelines set out in this study. In doing this, the publications can fulfill their functions as informational and educational mediums without alienating the entertainment seekers.
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