Konrad Adeneaur Stiftung (KAS) Country Director in Uganda, Mathias Kamp, has stressed the need for more practical training for journalists in the budding stage to avoid a communication crisis in the country.
While speaking at the launch of Media Challenge Project 2017, Kamp said that there’s a need to distinguish between Public Relations and journalism if the press is to present impact and solution-oriented stories that will create better society.
Kamp said that the mainstream media might be in crisis but the next generation can be saved by a fix in the training offered to journalists by organizations such as the Media Challenge Initiative.
Mpindi Abaas, the CEO for the Media Challenge welcomed the partnership with Konrad Adeneaur Stiftung further stressing the need for more concerted effort with other Media sector players in training institutions, media thought leaders, employers and Journalists’ bodies among others.
Citing the 2014 report by the Inter-university council for East Africa, Mpindi appealed for a more engaging education curriculum for especially media students given the power of their medium of expression. According to the report, 63 per cent of graduates in the region are unable to secure jobs due to lack of employable skills.
A similar report authored by the World Bank in 2014 says that 70 per cent of over 40,000 fresh graduates in Uganda are unable to secure a job because they are unemployable. Mpindi says that it’s against this background that the Media Challenge Initiative was established with an overall motive to overturn these appalling statistics responsible for the unemployment gap. He expressed optimism that through the ‘Media-Challenge Project 2017’, hundreds of Media students from over 12 universities with media studies, would acquire skill-based training needed they need to thrive in the competitive job market.
The Media Challenge will take a new twist with a ‘Mobile Newsroom’ concept where the Media Challenge team will create mobile studios at every participating university to audition students in the fields of essay-writing, News-presentation, Photography, social Media utilization and animation design. According to Mpindi, this will take place in at least 12 universities and will be followed by a ‘Media expo’ where universities will compete against each other in the four thematic areas, live on stage. At the expo, thought leaders in the industry will also share experiences with the young scribes, journalists at the expo. Mpindi says that this expo is expected to attract more than 5000 people exhibiting talent in Ugandan Media.
At this stage, 35 winners from over 500 participants will be awarded with prizes at the Media Challenge Awards and thereafter they shall be exposed to an aggressive Media Fellowship program for one month and also be paired with a mentor each in their area of interest.
Margaret Ssentamu, the Executive Director for Uganda Media Women Association said making youngsters sensitive to gender disparities in Uganda through the Essay and photo contest would help to reduce the gender gap in the media world, where there’s a high co-existence of men more than women in media.
Speaking in reaction to the same concept, Amos Wambi, CEO East African Daily said this would help to counter a string of unprofessional tendencies such as plagiarism and dissemination of fake news among others.
Heads of Mass communication departments from, Uganda Christian University, Cavendish, Umcat School of Journalism, Buganda Royal Institute, Ndejje, Makerere Business School, Kampala International University among others said that they would support the Challenge because of the practical experience that it offers to their students.