By Mike Ssegawa
I have spent the last two nights in Masaka. We are here for a training in digital media with journalists in the greater Masaka sub region under their umbrella organization, the South Buganda Journalists Association (Sobuja).
The association has about 70 members spread allover nine districts including Masaka, Kalangala, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi, Lwengo, Rakai, Sembabule, Mpigi, and Lyatonde.
It’s always a pleasure working with journalists upcountry. Masaka however doesn’t feel upcountry as the town has picked up in the recent years. Buildings are sprouting in every part of the town, and suburbs are growing towards what was inner villages such as Kitengeesa and Lwannunda.
On Thursday, we heard from Stephen Okhutu, a witty presenter, discussing how to make money from opportunities available on the internet. He also made a strong case for journalists to understand business.
I was awed.
Day Two, BenKerry Mawejje, took journalists through managing their own websites. The media front is changing a lot. Traditional media houses are under fire. Today, one strong journalist with right content which meets the needs of readers can take on giant media houses and equally attract advertising revenue that can make them money than any media employer can ever offer them.
This workshop sponsored by Unwanted Witness, a digital rights organization, is unbelievably empowering journalists. Most importantly, upcountry journalists who always receive the crumbs from the media houses they’re attached to.
Time has changed, indeed. And such trainings empowering journalists to come to speed with the world, are handy. An empowered journalist is an empowered citizenry. However, nothing harms this than poor journalists. This has opened them up for exploitation by moneyed ‘sources’ or the powerful, which has compromised the levels of journalism and reduced it to press conference reporting.
Finally, those who tap into opportunities, can grab the chance. The field is open. Let’s do journalism the way we want to.
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