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Varsity joins discussion on future of Africa journalism

The Kenya Editors Guild Chairman, Churchil Otieno giving key note speech during the Future of Africa Journalism Symposium held at Radisson Blu, Upper Hill, Nairobi on Wednesday, June 27th, 2018. The Kenya Editors Guild Chairman, Churchil Otieno giving key note speech during the Future of Africa Journalism Symposium held at Radisson Blu, Upper Hill, Nairobi on Wednesday, June 27th, 2018.

 

East African and international media leaders, policy makers and academia converged in Nairobi to discuss key issues facing journalism and how to developed a new editorial narrative for Africa.


The one-day inaugural symposium organized by University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), in partnership with Multimedia University (MMU), the University of Nairobi (UoN), and Riara University, looked at various ways on how the continent’s journalism can be made more relevant to tell the Africa’s story.


In his key note address, The Kenya Editors Guild Chairman, Churchil Otieno said that at the symposium has offered media stakeholders, policy makers and academia a platform to reflect on how far the continent have gone in realizing excellence in journalism, and what else must be done to effectively spur Africa’s growth and development.


“It is a privileged occasion for us to consider how far we have gone in realising excellence in journalism, and what else we must do to effectively play our role in Africa’s growth and development,” said Otieno.


He said that while several signs suggest a colourful future for the region with competing ideas, and inspiring determination, there exist real threats to independent news media, that must be gallantly and smartly be confronted.


“In that rich cultural mix there exist real threats to civic liberties that may present herculean challenges to independent news media. Threats that we must not merely lament about, but gallantly and smartly confront, for that is the nature of our business,” adds Otieno.


His sentiments were echoed by UCLan, Associate Professor of Journalism Dr. George Ogola who also noted that the challenges facing Africa journalism require critical reflections that will help in rewriting the continent’s story.

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MMU Top Story Africa Season 2 Finalist Milicent Njeri with Jay Njoroge during a plenary discussion at the Future of Africa Journalism Symposium held at Radisson Blu, Upper Hill, Nairobi on Wednesday, June 27th, 2018.


The conference decried the rigid nature of the Africa media ecosystem, noting that there is an urgent need for a paradigm shift in the Africa’s media landscape to accommodate more divergent views and emerging trends that are vital for development.


This is after it emerged that African Journalism could be playing catch-up to new ways of communication with media training institutions yet to fully adapt their curriculum to new age of journalism.

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Faculty of Media and Communication lecturers Ms. Gladys Kemunto (left), Ms, Mary Onyango and Ms. Catherine Muhatia during the Future of Africa Journalism Symposium held at Radisson Blu, Upper Hill, Nairobi on Wednesday, June 27th, 2018.


As a way forward, the conference agreed that one of the important ways of improving journalism in Africa is to offer quality training and support initiatives such as ‘The Top Story Africa’ which is a mentorship programme to young journalists in Kenya.

Team

MMU Post Graduate and Undergraduate and Diploma students pose for a group photo with their lecturer Carol Songa during the Future of Africa Journalism Symposium held at Radisson Blu, Upper Hill, Nairobi on Wednesday, June 27th, 2018.


MMU was represented by Faculty of Media and Communication Lecturers lead by Dr. Wilson Ungangu, Ms. Gladyse Kemunto, Ms. Sylvia Machini, Ms. Mr. Collins Wagumba, Ms. Vivianne Pambo, Ms. Kinya Kathure, Ms. Faith Muthini, Mr. Christopher Wasiaya, Mr. Paul Wambua together with Journalism and Corporate Communication Post Graduate, Undergraduate and Diploma students.