The executive director of Uganda Communications Commission, Engineer Godfrey Mutabazi, has urged institutions to put more emphasis on multimedia training for journalists, so they can adapt to modern storytelling technology.
Mutabazi also believes that the ability of data networks to deliver audio-visual content could affect the print media in the near future; this means that journalists who specialised in print media must be retooled lest they are rendered jobless.
Speaking at the fourth East African Communications Association (EACA) conference at Uganda Christian University (UCU) last week, Mutabazi said: "In the next future, print will disappear and the iPads and other forms of technology will take over. The chalkboard, both in the rural and urban areas, will also disappear."
The conference, under the theme of "Building capacity for changing media/journalism/communication environments in Africa", attracted at least 100 participants from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa, Ethiopia, Norway and USA. EACA aims to find solutions to challenges facing Africa's media, through strengthening partnerships among researchers, media practitioners, academics and development organisations.
In a presentation on Saturday, The Observer Editor Richard M Kavuma shared the newspaper's experience of partnering NGOs to enhance coverage of marginalized issues. He challenged development organisations to focus on supporting the growth of strong media houses, in addition to skilling the journalists. This, he said, would help ensure sustainability of the interventions.
Robert Kabushenga, the Vision Group chief executive officer, spoke out against the tendency for journalists to specialise early. He challenged media trainers to track media consumption patterns and train good, multi-skilled storytellers, whatever the preferred media platform.
UCU Vice Chancellor John Senyonyi said that media was one of the greatest influencers in the modern world, and urged practitioners to use their power responsibly, to build the society.
The conference convener, Dr Monica Chibita, head of the UCU Mass Communication department, was elected president of EACA. Makerere University will host the next EACA conference in August 2015.