Kenya — pic by WAN-AFRA
Female journalists from Africa and beyond have been called upon to acquire more skills and knowledge on the use of new technologies that would make them communicate to the masses better.
Speaking when she opened a five day leadership training for female journalists drawn from 13 countries of Africa also known as boot camp, taking place in Naivasha, Kenya, Executive Director of Daily Nation in the country, Pamela Sittoni, said journalism is now going beyond its traditional role of informing, educating, and entertaining.
She said journalists are expected to play the fourth and possibly most important role of enlightening the society on issues that are going on around the world through new technologies.
"My view is that technology has merely given us the platforms and tools to reach larger audiences across the world at greater speeds. We must embrace technology as an enabler for our journalism, and not vilify it.
She added: "This calls for journalists who are knowledgeable about issues, and are well-equipped to explain to the ordinary citizen why things are the way they are. It calls for journalists with the ability to mine data to tell a story, to capture the trends and to predict the future."
Sittoni said new technology calls for journalists who possess a combination of technical and digital skills that will enable them reach a fragmented body of consumers on various platforms.
She bemoaned the tendency by media houses in Africa and beyond of sidelining women in leadership positions which she said makes women to be underrepresented.
She called upon media houses in the continent to exercise gender equality in newsrooms as a matter of doing natural justice saying excluding women from the leadership of any organization is excluding a half of their ideas and half of the society.
The Managing Editor said she was hopeful that initiatives like the boot camp, and the Women In News program, will help more and more women receive training and have the right mix of skills and knowledge to take up leadership positions in media houses.
"The time has come for many more women to take up senior media leadership positions, a time when the appointment of a woman as a managing editor or editor in chief should not be celebrated as "first woman editor", because it should be a matter of course. This is your time. Seize the moment," she urged.
Commenting on the training, Project Director of Women In News program in Africa, Dr Tikhala Chibwana said such trainings were important for female journalists since it will help shape them into good leaders.
"Such trainings give female journalists a chance to learn from industry experts from across African continent and globally who are doing well in the industry. It also gives them a chance to meet and network with fellow journalists from other countries," he said.
During the training, the female journalists are expected to learn more on podcasting, mobile storytelling, data journalism and photography.
Participants to the workshop that has been organized by the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and Women in News, have been drawn from Malawi, Botswana, DRC, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.