A five-day workshop, from 27 to31 October 2014, was held at Bush Radio in Cape Town, South Africa, to enhance the station’s operations especially when working with correspondents. The workshop sought to equip correspondents with news gathering and writing techniques – skills required for effective planning and producing radio programmes that are relevant, participatory and gender sensitive; and provide them with the necessary skills and knowledge on how to use ICTs in radio programming, conducting interviews, collecting feedback and testimonies; among others.
The workshop, which trained 6 correspondents (3 women and 3 men), was facilitated by two UNESCO Windhoek personnel, Mr. Chimbidzikai Mapfumo and Ms. Mwatile Ndinoshiho. Bush Radio news editor also attended some of the sessions particularly those pertaining to the work of correspondents and the news desk.
Participants were introduced to the basics of journalism, including how to identify news and come up with stories that are relevant to the local community. All the correspondents, who had no basic qualifications in journalism, were shown the differences between community, commercial and public service broadcasting.
Importantly, participants were taught that community radios are owned by the community and should therefore seek to promote and protect the interests of the public rather than individuals. They are non-profit making but should strive to be sustainable so as to avoid external interference.
It was highlighted that correspondents should always get community views into their programmes, monitor their impact and incorporate feedback for the betterment of the radio programming and the community at large.
Gender-sensitivity in reporting was also emphasized. Correspondents were taught that:
· For radio to accurately mirror our societies, to produce coverage that is complete and diverse, it is critical that the news reflect the world as seen through the eyes of women as well as men.
· Women should be involved at all levels of media organizations, including as reporters and decision-makers.
· The nature of news, the choices made about what is newsworthy and the way the story is reported must change too. Women need to be used more as the sources and subjects of stories. They need to be interviewed as commentators and experts.
Participants were also taken through the use of ICTs, particularly mobile phones in recording and interviewing. A practical session was infused for the participants to go into the community and practice interviewing, recording and collecting testimonies using their mobile phones.
In their evaluation, participants noted that the workshop was eye-opening to them particularly as it showed them how to produce programmes that are participatory and gender-sensitive.