Liz Ely introduces a new award for journalism in Scotland, designed to recognise the vital work undertaken by bloggers and journalists on the issue of violence against women
By Liz Ely of Zero Tolerance.
Media coverage of violence against women is a reliable source of outrage for feminists. Not a week goes by without a twitter-storm against some unthinking journo who has either written an opinion column suggesting high heels lead to rape, or blamed women for their own miseries, and in some cases deaths. Engaging with the mainstream media can be enraging and tiring, although anger is generally righteous and necessary.
Despite the failings of some media outlets (mentioning no names, but you know who they are) the media does have an important role to play in the prevention of violence against women, and in shaping public debate around this issue. The fact that the media have this power is why so many feminists care about who says what where. Some journalists are doing an excellent job, particularly in Scotland where Zero Tolerance works. Scotland has always had a lively press, and there have been a number of instances where violence against women has been covered in a thoughtful, considered manner. We want to reward journalists who write in this way, and create an incentive for more coverage which builds public understanding of the real root causes of violence against women.
This is why Zero Tolerance have got together with Rape Crisis Scotland, Scottish Women’s Aid and the National Union of Journalists to create the Write to End Violence Against Women Award for Excellence in Journalism.
The Write to End VAW Award is Scottish, and open to all journalists living or working in Scotland. It also has a category for student articles and crucially, blogs. It is important to recognise the tireless, generally unpaid work done by bloggers, whose contributions to ending violence against women are vital and rarely properly rewarded.
You can nominate any article, blog or student article using this contact form on our website. The closing date for nominations is the 31st August, and the award will be presented at the Scottish Parliament in October.
Hopefully as the award becomes more established it will act as a means of driving up standards in the industry – and don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten the bad coverage; you can also nominate a piece for ‘worst article’.