We believe in the future of journalism through application of digital skills and innovation. It’s still a challenge for the majority of journalists to embrace New Media effectively, not only in telling their stories but also to learn new ways of benefiting from their work as journalists, a matter which is important in the 4th industrial revolution in which Technology across sectors is key. It is from that aspiration that Media Convergency in partnership with Boresha Habari funded by USAID Tanzania, has recently initiated a five-month program aiming at building digital capacity skills to 60 young females’ journalist and enhancing and advocate for awareness and capacity on digital skills learning and application.
Through the initiative of the Women at Web project, Media Convergency has conducted an intensive virtual digital skills training starting with 43 female journalists across the country with skills that specifically align on how information is collected, distributed and consumed in the new digital era of information and technology.
The approach of selection was through a call for applications through an online ad and application process that run for 13 days, a total number of 102 people applied and 60 participants were selected. The attributes included being a female journalist or aspiring journalist, for the first and second group, 43 female journalist were picked to attend the digital skills training.
Why Digital Skills Program
The Goals of conducting a digital skills training program for Female Journalist are, first, to enhance knowledge, skills and embracing digital media it is important for a female journalist to be digitally literate when using the digital space and understands the digital rights that one has as a digital citizen and digital journalist as well.
Secondly is to increase the overall digital literacy among female journalist and wannabe journalists especially in the field of digital media, as well as empower them to remain in online spaces and access available online opportunities
Third, is to equip young women with the knowledge of dealing and overcoming online gender-based violence and also share their perspectives, thoughts and knowledge on Online Gender Based Violence on through digital storytelling.
The program was conducted in three different approaches, with a variety of experts working at the intersection of Information, Innovation, Technology and Digital practices in new media. Digital Journalist first had a Focus Group Discussion session that aimed at influencing mindset change of female journalists by orienting them on the why, how and the impact of Digital Skills to the current global media landscape, applying it to the Tanzanian media context.
An experiential approach conducted to Digital journalists covered three main thematic areas, one being digital storytelling and digital platforms, followed by Digital skills for Journalist, that covered how to use google drive, how to create google alert, how to use soundcloud, how to use clipping me to make a profile, free image search, how to use social media professionally and introduction to data in media that covered, data and data Journalism, data stories and tools, challenge of using data, referencing source. The third thematic areas touched upon digital opportunities available in the space.
Key aspects raised during the training is that, next time the training needs to be conducted physically to enhance trainees’ performance and boost productivity, another raised issue is the extension of the given time, so that trainees can have ample time to understand fully and have self-evaluation of the topics taught whether it is fact checking or digital laws that govern the space.
The digital skills program is still ongoing as there will other coming sessions to be conducted. Women at Web Tanzania powered by Media Convergency seeks to ensure that women, especially in urban and semi-urban areas especially journalists can navigate the internet more competently and securely.