‘Journalism education should be hands-on’

‘Journalism education should be hands-on’

Head of DW Akademie Carsten von Nahmen has called on journalism education stakeholders in Southern Africa to focus on hands-on approach to journalism training.

Nahmen said this during a ‘Conference on the Future of Journalism Education in Southern Africa,’ underway at Sunbird Lilongwe Hotel in Malawi’s Capital, Lilongwe. The Conference started today, Thursday, October 31 and will conclude on Saturday, November 2.

“When it comes to journalism education, we always recommend practical, hands-on elements in the training. Journalism is about doing things. You can talk, you can listen to the teacher all the time but if you don’t do it yourself, you will never really learn it,” Nahmen said.

He said media institutions and individuals in the media should constantly discuss ways of adapting trainings to the real needs of the people.

“The needs must be different in different countries but also there are some experiences, needs, shortcomings that are the same. So, where people can exchange and learn from their respective successes and their respective failures they should do so. You have to learn a lot from your failures but you don’t have to repeat those mistakes,” he said.

The Conference on the Future of Journalism Education in Southern Africa is a fruit of MISA Malawi and DW Akademie’s partnership to promote networking and collaboration amongst journalism education institutions in the region. The conference has attracted 30 media trainers and journalists from Southern Africa, Germany and Kenya.

Speaking during the conference, MISA Malawi Chairperson Teresa Ndanga said the theoretical approach to journalism education has been a disservice to journalism in Malawi.

“Most journalism graduates struggle a lot when they join the industry. When one gets to the newsroom, they have to start learning or putting into practice the theoretical part which is difficult,” Ndanga said.

She said through its recently launched training centre, MISA Malawi is emphasizing a practical approach to journalism training.

“We have developed training modules that are 70% practical. When students get to the industry, they must be comfortable to implement what they learnt,” Ndanga said.

Resolutions from the conference are expected to inform the approach to regional journalism education in Southern Africa and encourage cooperation on issues of journalism training in the region.

About MISA Malawi

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.