Event Reports

Kick-off for the second cohort of the Media Challenge Fellowship 2019

The second cohort of young and emerging journalists started the Media Challenge Fellowship Programme on 5th-10th February 2019. Organized by the Media Challenge Initiative in partnership with DW Academy and KAS, 26 students from 12 universities in Uganda undergo an intensive 6-month multimedia journalism training. The first week of the Programme included practical trainings in online, radio and television combined with discussions and talks with professionals from different media sectors.

With the world’s youngest population, Uganda’s underemployment among young people is skyrocketing, a challenge also young journalism and communication students face today. Rooted in the educational system, students are not properly equipped with critical thinking, technological and journalistic skills. These are essential for the young journalists to apply to rapidly developing technology to use media as a powerful tool for progressive social change. Free and high-quality Media is an important engine in society to drive democracy and development through ensuring institutions are transparent and accountable.

Therefore, KAS promotes the Media Challenge Fellowship Programme organized by the Media Challenge Initiative in cooperation with DW Academy which aims at building the next generation of journalists as critical minds to be a force for progressive social change. Through training, mentorship and peer-to-peer learning the 26 fellows are taken through the various kinds of journalism, provided with theoretical and practical skills and gain great insights into the challenges journalists in Uganda face in their daily work.

Besides practical training and assignments to improve their skills, the fellows were accompanied by various experts of journalism, politics, communication and media. Through sharing their own inspiring experiences, the specialists equipped the young journalists with fundamental knowledge to understand the key instruments of journalism and their role as  journalists to contribute to progressive social change in society.

At the start of the week, businessmen Akwese Nkemontoh gave the participants space to reflect on their decision-making and their conceptions of the world which made them aware of how their values affects them in their profession as a journalist.

On the second day Mathias Kamp, the Country Representative of KAS, took the young and emerging journalists through a session about the intersection of media and democracy. Mr. Kamp made the fellows aware of their roles as future journalists as “information is needed for effective participation and accountability, it is the most valuable resource in a democracy”. In an enlightening discussion the participants were introduced to the challenges of new emerging technologies that affect the democratic system of a country. The students were cleared up to the logic of algorithms and data protection on Social Media Platforms so that the fellows do not “end up in a bubble” which poses a risk to their views and reporting.

With a very impressive and honest talk, the guest speaker Sheila Kawamara gave a unique glimpse about her experiences as a young journalists reporting about the Rwandan genocide. She shared her own experiences about the difficulties in extreme challenging circumstances. Through sharing these private examples the emerging journalists were encouraged in critical storytelling instead of pleasing the interests of a certain group.

Besides the inducted theoretical knowledge, the fellows had the chance to improve their practical skills in various assignments which included tasks of presenting, writing in Online Journalism, news writing, storytelling and production.

“This fellowship will give you the real truth to deal with the real world.”, Tabu Butagira, Managing Editor at Daily Monitor, mentioned in the beginning of the first week of the programme and coincided with the statements of the 26 fellows at the end of the first week of the programme as they expressed the importance of the skills and insights they gathered for their future work as journalists. With their stories they want to contribute to a change of the narrative of Uganda and Africa as a whole and to a progressive social change.

written by Madita Schulte