My column this week returns to an interactive format in which I respond directly to some of the comments shared by our readers. Here we are:
Atujune Dragan: Refer to your story, “Meteorologist warns of heavy rain this month” (Daily Monitor, August 3). Note the following sentences in the story: “The weatherman warns…”, “The weatherman warned…”, “The weatherman’s report…”
The language used in this article perpetuates prejudice against women while privileging men. It is sexist language that reflects influences, attitudes, perceptions and behaviors. This could have been avoided because the article quoted an authority and not an individual; the meteorological authority! There are also gender-neutral terms – weather reporter/forecaster or meteorologist.
Links to similar [Daily Monitor] the articles also contain the same errors!
Public Editor: NMG’s editorial policy guidelines do not provide for or prohibit specific terms that are considered neutral or not. However, the policy directs editors to avoid the use of moralizing language or language that perpetuates stereotypes – whether social, political, ethnic or religious.
In this case, there could have been more sensitivity to the language that portrays the science of forecasting or explaining the weather as a man’s business! Gender-neutral language is something that newsrooms around the world need to be deliberate about and it won’t be easy. Journalists will continue to learn at every turn and I think useful lessons have been learned from the issues you raise about this particular story to inform future reporting.
Mwabu Martin: I am a regular reader of The East African. I usually find a number of misspellings and other errors, but was wondering where to share the comments. So my question is; Who do I report errors I find in The East African to?
Audience Editor: Thank you for your loyalty to The East African newspaper. Please feel free to share any comments or errors on the content with the NMG-Uganda public editor in the email at the end of this article. You can also share with the public editor in Nairobi via email: [email protected]
Eugene Nkore: I read your August 13 Saturday Monitor article on the “turnover rate” of PPU/PGB/SFC commanders. Without mentioning Major General Geoffrey Muheesi, the story is incomplete. Please note that Major General Muheesi was the senior commander of the unit. Perhaps because it didn’t fit the title theme, “high churn”, it was kicked out! He is the exception to the rule, all the more reason to mention him.
Public Editor: Thank you for this comment. It was clearly an oversight. I brought it to the editors’ attention so that at the very least the online article would be updated to complete the story.
W. Kayondo: When will Daily Monitor be set up? I’m tired of apologies for grammatical and typographical errors. Please crack the whip by mooring the Wandering Writers Salary. Strengthen the proofreading section.
We cannot continue to have mere verifiable factual/spelling errors; or you want to teach your readers that “it’s okay to be wrong”. Examples abound:
1. July 30 article by Asuman Bisiika. “And it fell on me.” The correct word is “at dawn”
2. Headline for July 30, 2022: “World Bank Report Condemns Merger of Power Bodies.” What a clumsy course! Doom means misfortune and has no plural.
Public Editor: Thank you for your feedback. When our quality control systems fail, our readers have reason to be outraged, especially when the errors are basic. These comments have been shared with the editors.
Kahunga Matsiko: Refer to story, “Masaka Diocese Gets New Diakonia, Parish” (Sunday Monitor, August 07). Please note that deanery and diaconate are not synonymous. The “deaneries” are in the Catholic Church while the “diaconia” are in the Anglican Church.
Public Editor: Thank you for this comment. Yes, it is important for editors to pay attention to small idiosyncrasies, especially with religion. This has been shared with the editors so that the online article can be edited and updated accordingly.