Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Entering blogosphere

So we have got going. Since the last posting, the participants have opened their own blogs and written their first stories now published online. I’ll do my best to try to link the blogs to this site in the coming days.

The first postings were actually an assignment where I asked the journalists to explain how they joined the workshop, in what ways they have so far been using the internet, and what we did during the first day of the workshop. I also asked them to mention any new ideas they got and any wishes for the coming days – both during this workshop and also visions for the time after the training is over and they’re back in the field.

The blogs are nice, some actually very good. Everyone is answering the topic, and some are going much further: planning new feature stories to write, suggesting new government policies, vowing to share their new skills with their peers in their newsrooms. For the trainer, this is very encouraging.

Everyone also chose to write in English, though they were given the option to do it in Kiswahili as well. Still, the working language of the majority is Kiswahili.

But of course problems are also there. In the afternoon the network was again too slow for us to do what we wanted. The days are also long and intensive. We have our tea breaks and lunch in another room nearby, so during the day we are not really going out from the venue at all.

The main issue of the day was to go through practically all journalistic websites in Tanzania and also some other useful sites and portals. There’s now about 20 news sites online. The developments in Tanzania are very fast. I remember that two years ago when I started a similar training for journalism students and staff at Tumaini University in Iringa, there was only two or three journalistic websites and was the only one functioning well and regularly updated.

Now some Tanzanian websites are using video clips, some others have a very reader-friendly design, and some just seem to know quite well what they want from their sites. We made some comparisons with Kenyan Daily Nation, Monitor from Uganda, the South African Mail & Guardian, and visited some international news sites from BBC and Reuters to Al-Jazeera and IPS News. I also showed the news portal where you can read the latest stories from some 125 African news sites. This was news for everyone.

No comments: