Africa: USAU and the African Union Commission Directorate of Information and Communication Host Media Workshop

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — From June 18 - 22, 2012, the U.S. Mission to the African Union (USAU), in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) Directorate of Information and Communication (DIC), hosted a social media and press writing workshop. The training, which brought social media and press experts from France and the United States, centered on addressing some of the needs identified by the DIC, as the unit prepares to restructure and move into its new space at the AU Headquarters and Conference Center in Addis Ababa.

The trainers, Mr. Eduardo Cue, a Paris-based American freelance journalist, and Ms. Mathilde Piard, a social media manager at Cox Media Group (based in Atlanta, GA), are also contractors with the U.S. Department of State, through the International Information Programs (IIP) Bureau in Washington, D.C. and the Africa Regional Services Office in Paris, France. Both worked with their individual training groups on many of the important aspects of communications: how to conduct interviews and press conferences, how to write effective press releases, how to plan for and implement media campaigns, communicating in a crisis situation, internal and external communication and media outreach. The group also worked on strategies to increase the AU's social media presence on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube.

Workshop participants commented that the training effectively addressed many of the "gap areas" they had previously identified. Over the course of the week, the social media team worked through a social media plan for the 19th African Union Summit, to be held in Addis Ababa from July 9-16, 2012. Yaye Nabo Sene, a Communications Officer in the DIC, ended the week with the distribution of an audio interview she conducted with AUC Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha, demonstrating her unit's ability to produce and distribute audio/visual press products through the use of modern communication technology.

The media workshop was just one of many press and media related support activities planned for the DIC, and the fourth time that USAU and the DIC have come together to facilitate a joint workshop.

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