Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Journalism graduates not good enough?

By Sintha Mkuziwaduka

In recent years, journalism trainers have been accused of producing graduates that are not ‘good enough’ for the industry. Rhodes University’s head of school of journalism and media studies, Guy Berger tackled the issue this morning at the Africa Media Leadership Conference at the Dar-es-Salaam International Conference Centre in Tanzania.

In his presentation, Berger said the challenge of performance is partially related to attitude and talent.

“You cannot train people in talent, attitude. But talent can be scrutinised during selection and the context will determine the attitude,” said Berger.

Berger said companies must develop formal policies and strategies on their priority training needs.

With the rapid technological changes which are changing the landscape, media houses must be proactive and strategic in training news skills rather than reactive, said Berger.

“Training should be linked to strategic goals, measured, driven by staff input and should be on traditional topics,” said Berger.

The professor also said ‘parachute’ training, though condemned, should not be dismissed.

“Parachute training should not be dismissed, they bring different ideas, stimulate new thinking; it can trigger education – open-ended outcomes,” he said.

According to Berger, just like any field, journalism training is not a guarantee that the graduates will meet all expectations.

In his comment, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) Media Programme director, Frank Windeck said there has been little support from the industry especially on short-term training.

He said often media managers do not give the training opportunities the necessary attention.

Windeck noted that in some occasions media managers sent interns to attend such trainings.


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