African Journalism professors collaborate to improve economic reporting on the continent

von Brigitte Read
Improving business reporting on the continent begins with the journalism schools and tailor-made curricula to challenge and inspire our future journalists.

KAS Media Africa hosted ten journalism academics in Johannesburg recently for back-to-back conferences. The professors represented Journalism schools in nine African countries – Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon – and for the past few years have been working together on developing and improving their respective schools’ Business or Economics Journalism training offerings.

They have been receiving one-on-one mentoring from respected Business journalist and academic Nixon Kariithi to develop tailored curricula, with the ultimate aim of improving the crop of critically-minded and economically-savvy young journalism graduates.

Since their annual meeting coincided with the African Investigative Journalism Conference (AIJC), the academics first participated in the three day conference, which took place on the Wits University campus. Sessions covered several of the past year’s key investigative journalism stories and exposés on the continent including the Cambridge Analytica story, the Gupta Leaks and Anas Anas’ revelations of corruption amongst Ghanaian football referees. There was also a data journalism training track, masterclasses in “following the money” and a half-day workshop on making newsrooms sustainable.

After the update on developments in journalism practise, the ten professors convened at the KAS offices in Dunkeld for the second workshop, focused on the development and teaching of their Business Journalism curricula. They each delivered progress reports and Nixon Kariithi offered guidance on how to prepare and gather innovative teaching tools, assess students and train mid-career journalists. As a case study he also highlighted how to teach students about reporting the national budget and other perennial news stories.

KAS Media Africa’s 2018 scholar, Arnold Segawa, a reporter and anchor for business TV channel CNBC Africa, also joined the workshop and presented his Masters research into media coverage of SA Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Committee meetings.

At a previous meeting the group had decided as a side project to produce a book to be used as an academic resource for their students, with each academic producing a chapter on an economic topic relevant to their region. Each presented on their idea and research so far and held discussions on the chapters and next steps.

The workshop concluded with a field trip to the CNBC Africa offices in Sandton where Head of Programming, Chris Bishop, gave a tour of the studios and discussed some of the challenges of reporting on Business in an African context.


Christoph Plate

Christoph Plate bild

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