Embracing the Future: Uganda Media Week 2023 Explores Public Interest, AI, and the Evolution of Journalism

Set to take place from November 9th, 2023, the 5th Uganda Media Week Conference, hosted by Media Focus on Africa Uganda, promises an illuminating journey into the future of journalism. Under the theme “Public Interest, AI, and the Future of Journalism,” this conference is poised to revolutionize the landscape of media.

The event will convene a gathering of distinguished experts, influential voices, and industry insiders, fostering discussions around crucial topics. Panel discussions will explore the role of effective reporting in strengthening democratic accountability, creating an inclusive internet environment for women in media, deciphering the implications of AI in the realm of journalism, and confronting online gender-based violence.

Uganda Media Week 2023 is not just a conference; it’s an avenue for transformative conversations and knowledge exchange. Brace yourself for engaging dialogues that offer critical insights into the future of media and journalism in Uganda.

For more information please reachout to us via ruth@mediafocusonafrica.org

or Call +256393248341

Training Rural media Outlets and Female Practitioners on Media Viability

With support from DW Akademie, MFA trained representatives from Radio Pacis, Voice Of Karamoja, Mama FM, Voice Of Toro, Speak FM, Elgon FM, Etop Radio, Unity FM and Crooze FM.

Management across the different departments and women in media To deliver three online trainings teaching Media Viability and Innovation to 10 rural media outlets with a special focus on female media practitioners. To promote and increase women’s skills in the use of new media technologies and to reach more audiences. Social media training for 20 participants (journalists, talk-show hosts, marketers and social media managers etc) using social media to grow audiences and increase revenues.The target audience for the project were; community media managers, female media practitioners and female journalists and innovators. The module included a basic needs assessment survey conducted by MFA. In addition, a pre-and post-

survey was conducted for training to understand the knowledge and level of expertise of participants. The pre-survey allowed us to identify the large gaps in understanding Media Viability (MV); lack of knowledge and skills to include digitization; severe lack of gender sensitivity in reporting and lack of women in the overall business structures and culture in and overtly male dominant media landscape. As a result of the outcomes of the survey, it became apparent that the digital transition in Uganda has been a very slow. Small and medium size rural based media houses were struggling to adapt and integrate technology. Furthermore, it clearly identified the huge skills gap and lack of knowledge for media managers and practitioners from top to bottom. The digital disruption on top of Covid 19 impacted radio stations negatively especially financially as well as operations. Stations had to adapt to remote work and work from home but didn’t have the capacity, resources and equipment to facilitate the needs of their staff.

Overall, the topics covered in training were new to the vast majority of participants which created an excitement and hunger to learn new skills and increase their knowledge.

  •  Online sessions were based on human centered designed thinking and prototyping.
  • The basic structure of the training were trainer and trainee centered including PPT and video presentations, print media, Q and A, feedback sessions and practical group work, knowledge sharing and examples of innovation from other media.
  • The online training consisted of eight bi-weekly virtual sessions using Zoom video conferencing.
  • WhatsApp was used as a secondary group communication tool and follow up for trainers, participants and project management. The WhatsApp group is still active at the request of the participants to allow ongoing networkingand have access to trainers. All training was interactive and held synchronously in plenary and small groups for practical work focused on developing strategy and finding solutions. The online training included elements of A-synchronous work that individuals had to complete as offline assignments.

Training also included introduction and use of various free digital collaboration and communication tools such as; Jam board, Menti.com, Padlet, Canva, Google Forms.  Participants were introduced to free audience survey tools such as; Survey Monkey, Type Form, Google Forms and various other forms that include analytical capabilities.

Participants were introduced to various free video editing, audio editing, photo editing and text tools to support them in becoming more effective and efficient in their daily work and support working remotely.

Overview:

The invitation for stations to participate in this series of training was met with a high level of excitement and expectation for learning new skills and creating financial sustainability. The initial online briefing to introduce the training had a total of more than 50 participants in attendance including station managers and departmental managers across the board. The training that was conducted were planned for 20 participants but we ended up with 40 people on day one. Participants stayed consistently throughout the training with an average of 36 participants daily.

Group sessions were highly interactive and engaging and offline work was done with much enthusiasm and zest. All training consisted of 50% women with a high level of participation from female media practitioners in addition to the only women owned radio station manager; a 2nd female station manager in addition to 4 women in senior management positions. The formal and informal feedback from participants were overwhelmingly positive. Participants expressed an eagerness to continue to learn more. The pre-and post- survey decidedly showed most of the topics covered were largely new to them. Participants managed to obtain more than sufficient knowledge,

 

For information and skills to pursue the subjects further and apply them in their daily work. Several of the managers communicated their eagerness to use the tools and models introduced during the course of the training such as audience research, content development, empathy mapping to understand the needs of their audiences through developing personas, the use of a content calendar and the knowledge and ability to adapt their business model using the business model canvas. Furthermore, as training was happening participants started sharing new knowledge and tools to staff at their own radio stations.

Participant Feedback: (comments from each of the eight training sessions)

  1.  From Joshua Imalingat: I came to this training with so many questions about this animal called Media Viabilitybut now things are getting more interesting. Very impressed with the fact that Community engagement is at the core of what we do and that Data is the new currency.
  2.  From Bettie Mujungu: This is really resourceful for our specific programs on the radio and online audiences. I see how much content we have generated on just one person’s story. And usually in our communities there same issues of address.
  3. From Hellen Aguyo Okello: the training was resourceful, linking content to social media and relating this to income generation stood out for me.
  4. From Joshua Imalingat: Well I would only want to thank you for taking us through the steps because I suppose on my side I would said it is the first time am seeing such a thing as taking us through the entire process of organizing a zoom meeting. Often times we have just landed in…boom intro.. expectations and kaboom… we move on. nothing like this. It Hasn’t been a waste of time for time. I will be available for all the sessions.������
  5. From Egonda Emmanuel: wow this is great guidance for online meetings. You really opened up my mind. Am thinking online meetings are the way to go asopposed to F2F meetings. Online meetings however require total concentration. Covid appears to be a blessing in disguise with the way organizations are communicating and meeting. Thanks.

 

  1. From Betty mujungu: the audience engagement, Empathy Map and persona. it's been a really engaging session
  2. From Agnes Etadu: Thank you Eva for this wonderful Training, for me today what stood out is various business models we as a radio station can adopt to generate revenue for the station. But importantly I took a lesson from your quote this morning "Go to the organization with an idea of how to solve their problem" not the other way round
  3. From Emmanuel: If media managers take this presentation serious, we can actually help our organizations to take on their competitors both business wise and improving listenership numbers. Thanks Eva for this presentation.
  4. From Kajumba Gorret: CONTENT DEVELOPMENT IS THE BEST THING BUT NEEDS TIME AS IT IS A PROCESS.
  5. From Dorothy Ainembabazi: I believe that audience research is good to go. I hope companies and radio stations can pick up.
  6. From Aaron Olao: I enjoyed the first session when you delved on content creation before thinking of money.
  7. From Catherine Apalat: The in-depth persona analysis was my Aha moment.
  8. From Kajumba Gorret: importance of engaging audience
  9. “I can see now that Blogging and Vlogging can be done by women and men. Social Media can be used for more than just personal posting.” Dorcas.
  10. “I am dearly impressed by the different tools I can use to generate funds for my media house and individually as well. Thanks team” Emmy Daniel Ojara
  11. “The business model stood out for me today, but i think by putting it into practice things can work out well.” Gloria Lalam
  12. I am so glad that every end of the training day, I have new knowledge added. Joe Wacha
  13. From Joseph Akiiso: With this knowledge, we are more focused and will discuss with senior management based on facts in order to argue our cases.
  14. From Joshua Imalingat: Eva this is great. I think I will never be the same again. with this training and all these tools Iwill be a digital expert soon.

Impact

10 radio stations, 30 radio presenters’ skills and knowledge in producing content on women were strengthened.

UGANDA MEDIA WEEK 2020

The 2020 Media Dialogues lasted a period of 7 days and included open discussions on ‘Scientific General Elections – Key issues for journalists’ followed with training sessions on: ‘Fake news and disinformation in times of elections – Fact Checking and verification’ and ‘Upholding independent journalism in scientific elections – principles of effective elections reporting’ held on Monday 7th September, 2020, in Gulu district. Over 30 participants attended.

 

MS PRESIDENT: SEASON 1

Ms President was an entertaining, educating and thought provoking Reality TV show that sough to portray to a national audience the capacity and ability of women to lead effectively. Through a series of tasks and challenges, contestants (all female) displayed their leadership capacity and ability on National TV. The series showcased intelligent and articulate women who are “Presidential” with the aim of increasing the chances of women in Kenya taking up leadership positions.

26 episodes of the Ms President TV show were produced and aired attracting average weekly viewership of 3.5 million. Episode 25 (the Presidential debate) attracted the highest viewership of 5,246,000 million and episode 26 (the finale) attracted the second highest viewership of 4,077, 000 million.

The President of Kenya H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta endorsed the programme. It also recorded commendation / endorsement from among other top government officials, Chief Administrative Secretary in the ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Hon Ababu Namwamba who participated in episode 22 of the show. Others were Supreme Court Judge Hon Justice Njoki Ndungu, Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service and Gender Hon Racheal Shebesh, the then Principal Secretary in charge of Gender at the ministry of Public Service and Gender Hon Safina Kwekwe, various Governors including the Governors of Nairobi and Garissa and several Members of the National Assembly and Senate plus other stellar leaders in the country.

The Ms President TV show attracted wide media coverage locally and internationally. There are at least 122 articles, news stories, features and OPEDs on Ms President on newspaper, TV and online platforms of leading local and international news organizations. Most of the coverage was balanced, fair and objective and did not perpetuate gender stereotypes often characterizing media coverage of women. Some good examples can be read below;

TV show proves women’s desire to vie for Presidency- Joan Thatiah Saturday Nation 10th August 2019

Of Ms President and the demand for emancipation- Prof Austin Bukenya Saturday Nation 17th August 2019

African Women are redefining leadership- Stephen Ndegwa People Daily August 8th 2019

The Ms President TV show was nominated under the best TV documentary/TV show/TV reality category of the 9th Edition of the Kalasha International Film and TV awards 2019.

All episodes of the TV show can be watched here.

UGANDA MEDIA ROUND-TABLES

Round table discussion that will discuss issues about safety for journalists’ online, offline and at their workplaces and find ways of addressing the existing challenges. This is part of an ongoing project to ensure that clear mechanisms are put in place for safety for journalist especially female journalists across the country.

 

 What are the Media Roundtables about?

Media roundtables are open discussions about safety for female journalists between media managers, editors, reporters and security officials.Conducted by Media Focus on Africa in partnership with UMWA, media roundtables are intended to identify key issues about safety and come up with practical solutions that can be implemented immediately to minimize threats that female journalists are exposed to as they go about with their professional duties. With information generated from the media round tables, UMWA and Media Focus on Africa Uganda will support state officials, other actors and media to promote safety for female journalists in Uganda

Context

While safety for all journalists is an issue of concern, UNESCO has recently reported a rise in deaths of female journalists while on duty. Locally female journalists attest to various challenges that put them at risk online and offline including cyber bullying, hacking, sexual harassment and brutality by security organs. Therefore there is need for a concerted effort to engage different stakeholders to identify the key issues and agree on workable solutions to address them. Results from a situation analysis on the safety for female journalists done by UMWA in partnership with Media Focus on Africa will form a basis for this discussion as we seek to find a realistic solution to the safety challenges that are uniquely faced by women journalists.

 

What next?

More awareness about the issues and commitment to address them for example  in-house policy to ensure female journalists work in a favourable and secure environment.

 

ONE MINUTE PROJECT -WESTNILE

The One-minute aimed at empowering youths in refugee settlements as well as their counterparts in the host communities  with skills and knowledge in film production, media and communication.  The skills will  prepare refugee youths and  youths in host communities to be able to tell their own stories and stand out  beyond the narratives that are often presented in the media.

To enable this move, the youths were given resources to help with their learning and also produce their own films. These included Ipads configured with video editing software. With these, the youths can record and edit video and audio footage. These Ipads, among other resources, will be left available to the youths even after the project is over, such that they can carry on producing films to express themselves and tell their stories to the world.

Project One-minute is funded by Creative-Force-Swedish Institute, a Swedish agency engaging other countries in information, culture, public life among others, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency working on behalf of the Swedish parliament and government to reduce poverty in the world. Project One-minute is facilitated by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

HATE SPEECH ‘INOCULATION’

In early 2012 Susan Benesch (human rights scholar, genocide prevention fellow at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University) began working with Media Focus on Africa (MFA) to develop a media intervention that would promote peacebuilding and “inoculation” against inciting speech. For this purpose, they teamed up with the cast and crew of a Kenyan television comedy drama series, Vioja Mahakamani on KBC TV.

MFA presented the idea of using the popular series Vioja as a vehicle for these messages. The cast and producers of the show, who see the program as a way to not only entertain but also educate Kenyans, agreed to take part in the intervention. MFA and Benesch spent two days training the cast of Vioja on the subjects of hateful and offensive speech, inciting speech, and dangerous Speech.

The premise was that exposing audiences to information about incitement to violence will help inoculate them against it. In other words, by showing audiences 1) the political incentives for leaders that engage in inciting speech, 2) how speakers manipulate audiences in order to incite violence, 3) the consequences for individuals engaging in inciting speech or in violence, and 4) how love and forgiveness can serve as countermeasures to hateful and dangerous speech, the audience members will become more skeptical when they hear dangerous speech, more aware of the harm it can do, and more willing to accept personal responsibility for actions arising from inciting speech.

The purpose of this training was that they could use that information in two distinct ways:

1.To create and write the four episodes that constituted the intervention, with lessons about dangerous speech and incitement embedded in the narrative; and

2. To use their own popularity and influence to become agents of change, by spreading this knowledge beyond the context of the television show.

MFA and Benesch left it to the cast to determine how to incorporate the messages into the episodes’ storylines. This was in large part to ensure that the program felt natural to the audience and not something that had been imposed artificially and awkwardly by an outsider.

The 4 episodes are among the most watched Vioja Mahakamani episodes on Youtube. Watch Here. Another episode can be watched here.

CROSS-GENERATIONAL DIALOGUES

Before the 2012 elections in Kenya, MFA and Search For Common Grounds (SFCG) organised a series of inter-generational (youth-elderly) and inter-ethnic dialogue sessions in 16 locations across the country. The social dynamics in most African cultures work in a way that the elders decide while the youth implement. But having empowered the youth in the past years, we found it necessary to include the elders in the dialogue sessions and in the process get them to support the youth as they take more direct decision making roles in the communities., more so pertaining to the upcoming elections.

THE TEAM: SEASON 1, 2 AND 3

In response to the post-election violence in Kenya in December 2007, Search for Common Ground (SFCG) and Media Focus on Africa (MFA) developed and produced a TV and radio drama, The Team – an episodic series which asks a central question: can Kenyans find ways to put the past behind them in order to have a better future?

It aired on Citizen Television and KBC and ranked in the country’s top-ten. An average of 2,775,000 viewers watched the show every week.  The Team received an award for Best Film in the ‘Human Security’ category on the ‘We the People’ Film Festival in London.

The series presents a microcosm of Kenyan society in which members of a fictional football team, who come from different ethnic groups and social classes, are challenged to overcome their fears and biases so that they can see one another as individuals not as members of “the other.” The central metaphor for the players – and for Kenya – is: If they do not cooperate, they will not score goals, and they will lose. The series sends a strong message that the sins of the past cannot be rectified by retributive violence today.

Season 1: WATCH

Season 2: WATCH

Season 3: WATCH

Apart from the series , a large outreach program was organised in places most affected by the PEV, a DVD with viewer guide, a theme song, and  a website were created.

FIST TO FIVE FOR CHANGE

MFA produced a television talk show on Citizen TV titled ‘Fist to Five for Change’ in response to the PEV and the National Accord that led to the secession of violence in 2008.  19 TV shows of “Fist to Five for Change” were aired reaching more than 2 million people per episode. The television shows were supported by 48 Mobile Cinema screenings in locations mostly affected by the violence and combined with 48 workshops in the same locations which brought together community leaders, police, civil society as well as victims and perpetrators to engage in dialogues sessions with a similar structure/process as the talk shows. The locations were Mathare and Kibera in Nairobi, Naivasha, Nakuru and Eldoret in the Rift Valley Province, Mumias and Kisumu in Western Kenya and Mombasa at the coast.

Participants shared their experiences during the PEV while discussing the root causes of the post election conflict in an effort to find a way forward. During the talk show and the community dialogues sessions, it was emphasized that political reforms were key to solving deep seated root causes of ethnic mistrust and violence.

Watch Fist to Five here. 

Listen to radio broadcasts here.

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Updates from Uganda & Kenya

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Media Focus on Africa
Media Focus on Africa4 months ago
On this day, a year ago, we proudly announced Angel Mbuthia as the winner of Ms President. A true embodiment of leadership, grace, and resilience. Her journey continues to inspire us all.

#MsPresident
Media Focus on Africa
Media Focus on Africa4 months ago
Curious to learn about the tangible impact of our #MsPresident program? Dive into the numbers, stories, and lessons learned in our comprehensive new report. Be inspired by the change driven by women leaders!

https://mediafocusonafrica.org/annual-reports/
Media Focus on Africa
Media Focus on Africa4 months ago
Insights From the Recently Concluded Community Dialogues: Over the past few months, a series of impactful community dialogues took place in various counties across Kenya including, Homabay, Kisii, Kericho, Samburu, Embu, Kajiado, and Wajir. Read on below.

https://mediafocusonafrica.org/?news=empowering-communities-insights-from-the-recently-concluded-community-dialogues

#MsPresident

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Media Focus on Africa Uganda
Media Focus on Africa Uganda4 weeks ago
In 2020, our social media campaign against #GBV took a powerful stance. We also ran talk shows on radio stations. Our aim was to confront the rising cases during the lockdown, making a tangible impact. The impact goes beyond airwaves, sparking change on the ground.
Media Focus on Africa Uganda
Media Focus on Africa Uganda4 weeks ago
In conflict-prone Rwenzori, We influenced change and made a difference by fostering peace and reconciliation. The Fireplace focused on empowering local media practitioners with skills in scriptwriting, video, and audio production. Together, we are using the power of radio to bring communities together, echoing the tradition of the 'Fire Place' as a symbol of conflict resolution.
Our initiative in the Rwenzori region went beyond media training; it's about empowering communities through radio drama. 'The Fire Place' radio series, inspired by the region's cultural practices, aimed to reignite the tradition of resolving conflicts around the fireplace. Through the airwaves, we're fostering dialogue, understanding, and unity.

Read more:👉 👉 https://bit.ly/FirePlaceHakyoto

📻💬 #RadioImpact #PeaceInRwenzori #MediaForUnity #MediaMattersUG
Media Focus on Africa Uganda
Media Focus on Africa Uganda1 month ago
Our collaboration with radio stations in every region has empowered communities through informed discussions, amplifying diverse perspectives and fostering dialogue on key media issues. Our impact extends beyond broadcasting, influencing communities and shaping narratives🇺🇬 🇺🇬
Media Focus on Africa Uganda
Media Focus on Africa Uganda1 month ago
...Many in the news industry found 2023 to be a confusing and even challenging year, in which new AI functionality seemed to appear weekly, speculation was rife and clarity about what it all meant was hard to find...
🔗 Reuters

Read more: 👉 👉
Media Focus on Africa Uganda
Media Focus on Africa Uganda1 month ago
Talking Journalism: Over the years we have found that creating platforms for candid discussions about journalism contributes to strengthening the media landscape in the Country. Through the Uganda Media Week Conference and Dialogues thought provoking discussions have contributed to great networks, collaborations, innovations and unique approaches to uphold quality and independence in Uganda.
Media Focus on Africa Uganda
Media Focus on Africa Uganda1 month ago
📰Our Media Week 2023 report captures the essence of our discussions, innovative ideas, and collaborative efforts to shape the future of media.
👉https://bit.ly/MediaWeek2023Report

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