From the Olympus to the internet, a new network of journalists with a gender perspective
By AL for APCNews
MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY, 12 December 2006
Artemisa is a Greek goddess that inspired two argentine communicators, Sanda Chaher and Sonia Santero, to promote the gender perspective in social communication. This “archetype" of the independent woman went from the Olympus to the internet through the Artemisa News portal. On November 16 and 17, Artemisa Communication (the “mother” initiative on which the site depends) organised the first national forum for journalists with a gender perspective in Argentina, during which the PAR network was formed. APCNews spoke to Sandra about this meeting where solidarity and empathy set the beat via e-mail.
APCNews: What problems regarding journalism and gender arose during this encounter?
The problems are the standard ones, when female journalists sit down and talk about the difficulties that arise when trying to promote non-sexist journalism: lack of interest on behalf of editors, financing problems in the case of alternative media, poor treatment of gender issues by mass media, few spaces to be a non sexist, pluralist journalist, among other inconveniences.
APCNews: What role did information and communication technologies play?
This issue wasn’t specifically spoken of. Keep in mind that most of us didn’t know each other, so the essential issue was to get to know each other, to talk, see if we had shared desires and objectives, to see if the network could be put together, which indeed happened. Now we can identify ourselves as members of PAR (Periodistas en Argentina en Red – Networked Journalists in Argentina), in favour of non-sexist communication. The only reference to what you are asking me is that the network’s working method format is a listserv, but that’s all for the time being. I imagine that at future meetings, in which we broach specific issues, the ICT issue will undoubtedly arise.
APCNews: What is the objective of creating a national network of journalists with a gender perspective? What response did the call request for participation get?
The response from people was very good. I said it at the beginning of the meeting: since we published the first news piece in Artemisa News, during the summer of 2006, announcing that we were going to have this meeting, people interested in participating began to write us, from all over the country. And, as the date drew near and the request was disseminated, we also received responses from different Latin and Central American countries. In fact, among the participants, we had colleagues from Chile, Uruguay and Mexico.
However, I was surprised at the lack of attendance of colleagues from Buenos Aires that had the meeting really close by, unlike those who came from the far away provinces. Nevertheless, with some 40 to 50 people over two days, the quality of the debates and the empathy and seriousness of the presentations and workshops are worth mentioning.
The general objective that was proposed was to get together, be in touch, share difficulties in such a manner that if someone has a problem, he or she can count on the network for support, whether in Buenos Aires or the southern tip of Argentina. There were specific objectives considered, such as working on increasing the dissemination of gender issues through existing media outlets; opening new spaces for this approach, working in favour of non-sexist communication; considering new strategies to increase the visibility of women, among others.
APCNews: How can information and communication technologies support this process?
I imagine that in many ways, especially considering that it is a national network where the greatest potential for contact is at the virtual level. It isn’t easy to put together a physical meeting like this and, in fact, we don’t know when we will be able to do it again. To give you an example, in 2007, the second Network of International Journalists with a Gender Perspective
of which PAR is a member will take place.
In order to be able to participate in that discussion with a specifically Latin American agenda in mind, we are thinking of having a virtual forum in place at some point in 2007, on specific days, to analyse some points that we would like to consider in our region. The rest is completely open to proposals and possible activities.