What makes News?

NEWS!

What does news mean?  Is it a word of mouth? Broadcasting recent or current events?  What is newsworthy in our lives?

A pool of questions that is everlasting. News has been so important lately in the sense that communicating “news” has rendered infinite number of tools. Online news, media, newspapers, social media, networking and even word of mouth are all interconnected factors that affect “news”.

“Communicating news”, is again an important aspect. What are the tools to successfully communicate news? How to make sure that news have reached the targeted audience? In Africa, broadcasting news and reaching the audience is a concern.

There is a fact that in Africa; “Many people prefer to talk not write” (from BBC Africa, Have your say). For researchers this is a serious alarm. Researchers in Africa rely mainly on writing down their thoughts, their researches, and their projects which is not easy at all to have their works exposed.

The workshop’s core topic in day 2 focused mainly on such a significant subject. What would it take to write a “catchy” story in view of the “teller’s perceptive” to be accountable for publishing through an “editors’ eye”.

Nyasha  Musandu, CommsConsult

Nyasha Musandu, CommsConsult

However, it has to be taken into consideration to choose the “right communications tool”, the “targeted audience”, and their locations; “be that rural or urban” and the tool they mainly rely on. Nyasaha Musandu presented “communication landscapes” explaining such concerns and stating facts affecting Africa. Internet usage in Africa is still very limited, in 2010, only 10% of Ghanaians had internet in their homes, while Kenya recorded 5%!

Researchers pitching stories

Researchers pitching stories

Facilitators addressed the issue of “story telling exercise” and what are the factors/common principles that would make the press willing to publish these stories presented. Three of the participants chaired the session as being “editors & media representatives” whereby they discuss their “take on” on each story presented and whether the story is accountable to be published or not. The main aim was to find out how these stories are seen through the editors’ eyes and tellers’ perspective.

Reflections on the workshop brought the event to closure, participants expressed their willingness for more interactions in future workshops. However, they also focused on “what should be done differently” in workshops yet to come. The most surprising statement was their stress on the need for a “social media training” and how would this be allocated for better research deliverance and communications. The GDNet team couldn’t be happier after such a request; we promised to include the social media component to the upcoming GDNet-AERC Policy Workshop scheduled for November 2012.

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