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UNESCO and Knight Center wrap up pilot training programme for African journalism professors

25-11-2010 (Paris)
UNESCO and Knight Center wrap up pilot training programme for African journalism professors
Home cities of participants
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The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas has just completed an online course as part of an agreement with UNESCO to help journalism professors in Africa with training on digital media. More than 20 professors from Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe followed the course. All of them are from schools included in UNESCO's list of Potential Centres of Excellence and Reference in Journalism Education in Africa.
The course “Teaching Online Journalism” was taught, entirely on the Internet, by Prof. Mindy McAdams, the Knight Chair in Journalism Technologies and the Democratic Process at the University of Florida and an internationally recognized leading expert in digital journalism.

“The Knight Center has a very specific mandate to help journalists and journalism educators in Latin America and the Caribbean, but this was an exceptional case,” said Professor Rosental Alves, Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. “We were delighted to cooperate with UNESCO in this pilot project in Africa, as a contribution to our colleagues there.”

“Besides having Prof. McAdams, one of the best experts in online journalism training, to teach our African colleagues, this was an opportunity to show a cost-effective model developed by the Knight Center to train journalists and journalism educators via the Internet,” Alves added.

The training was part of UNESCO’s long-standing commitment to uplifting the standards of journalism education in Africa, by developing global educational partnerships in support of the 20 centres of excellence in journalism education spread across the African continent.

“We were delighted that the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas agreed to provide the training requested by the centres themselves," says Jayaweera Wijayananda, Director of UNESCO’s Division for Communication Development. “We will continue to explore more training opportunities for the centres, bearing in mind that new information and communication technologies (ICT) are reshaping the way journalism education is delivered. We need a new skills set that responds to the changing technological context in Africa.”

Prof. Booker, who teaches broadcast writing, has already applied what she learned through the UNESCO course in her classroom. “Last week I showed my media writing class how to create blogs and they were able to post at least two of their assignments onto their blogs.”

The course “Teaching Online Journalism” has inspired Prof. Gideon Tehwui Lambiv to help fellow Cameroonian journalists create original content for online news outlets. “I will propose to UNESCO’s Yaoundé Office to organize a workshop in online journalism where media professionals can get some training in online journalism,” he said.

Since 2003, the Knight Center has been training journalists with a pioneering and innovative platform based on Moodle, an open-source course management system. More than 4,400 journalists have participated in the Knight Center's online training programmes in a variety of topics.

"I think this successful course taught in collaboration with UNESCO shows that a similar programme can be established in Africa and help the current efforts to improve journalism education in many countries on that continent," said Alves. "There are many things that we, who are involved in journalism training in the Americas, can learn from our colleagues in Africa, and vice-versa. We should have more of this kind of inter-regional collaborations."
Related themes/countries

      · Latin America/Caribbean
      · Africa
      · Training of Media Professionals
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