Hot Pepper Reporter, Several Journalists End Intensive Media Training
The Volunteers for Sustainable Development in Africa (VOSIEDA), has ended a two-year intensive media training for Liberian journalists to keep ameliorating their skills, certificating Hot Pepper’s reporter and other journalists; writes Ojuku Silver-tongue Kangar, Jr.
The training, which began in 2021 in collaboration with the Press Union of Liberia, University of Liberia’s Department of Communication and Media Studies and the United Nations Democratic Fund, trained over 100 journalists in investigative journalism and reporting crimes against journalists, which is intended to strengthen the independent media and the freedom of Information Act in Liberia.
Climaxing on investigative journalism, the Chairman of the University of Liberia’s Department of Communication and Media Studies, Euriahs Togar, intoned that investigation is to let people know what is going on in their communities, the society and the world around them. Togar said the primary responsibility of a journalist is to inform, educate and entertain.
“In investigating, be courageous, curious and passionate,” he told the journalists during the program. He however frowned on journalists who always get gratuity for coverage, and urged them to shun it because it is not professional.
“It is in Liberia journalists get on long queue after program to get ‘cartoe’ [gratuity] from news makers for transportation before publication. This is forbidden in the western countries or with the BBC, Aljazeera, and so on,” Chairman Togar said.
Emmanuel Davis, one of the participants who defended journalists’ act, said “western media outlets pay their reporters well and facilitate their transportation, unlike Liberia where media executives want everything for themselves and devalue the reporters, a situation that is forcing reporters to accept ‘cartoe’ to survive”.
For reporting crimes against journalists, veteran journalist Frank Sainworla cautioned journalists to be mindful how they conduct themselves with politicians or parties, warning that a journalist wearing political parties’ emblem or taking photos with politicians and posting it on social media will endanger their safety in the public because they have taken side.
Testifying about the training benefits, several participants, including Emmanuel Davis and May Azongo, thanked VOSIEDA for the enlightenment and recommended empowering the beneficiaries so that they can actuate what they have learned.
In the same manner, Chairman Togar challenged participants to go the extra mile by going beyond press conference reporting and listening to radio.
“Research press release, tip-off and information that will come your way so that you can be credible and different from others,” he said, encouraging the media practitioners.
VOSIEDA’s Program Manager, Sadatu K. Fahnbulleh, thanked everyone, especially the facilitators, whom he said did not give up until the end of the training.
“I urge you all to make use of the knowledge you acquired from the training. We thank journalists from Margibi and Montserrado counties. Everyone should make use of the ‘crime app’ on Google store at the Press Union of Liberia, which enables journalists threatened to sue or get legal protection,” she said. She also told journalists to make use of the group’s chatroom on a regular basis.
The certificates were presented by the Dean of the Liberia College, Professor Josephus Gray, Chairman Togar and two others.