Educating student journalists

The Finnish Ambassador, Her Excellency Anne Solaranta, (middle right in the front row) with the students and lecturers from Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique and Namibia who attended Journalism for Change programme, presented by academics from Finland. (Photographed by Jenny Sitole)

A Finnish university institution, The Centre for International Mobility, in conjunction with the Finnish Embassy in Windhoek, these past two weeks took 135 journalism students from four SADC countries and from Finland on an intensive instruction course to teach the students elevated standards of journalism.

The Centre for International Mobility had their annual Journalism for Change engagement, networking and learning conference which is a platform for student journalists from Finland and African countries to polish their skills they have acquired at university, and to learn how to improve the standard of journalism within their own countries.
The Journalism for Change programme brings together students from various cultures to expose them to the way journalism is taught and practised across boundaries. The network has offered a unique chance for Finnish and African lecturers and students in journalism that have never met before, to engage in journalism training and the media at large.
“The goal of the network is to educate young journalists to meet complex social problems in their profession and to make students alert to spot contradictory phenomena in their societies and to fight for democracy, cultural and the understanding of human rights. Special attention is given to elements requiring change in the society in which the student is operating. These elements range from socio-cultural policies to phenomena like urbanization, gender equality and climate change” said Ollamalja Kivikuro, the Journalism for Change Director.
The exchange programme has received an overwhelming response with about 135 journalism students and 35 journalism professors participating in the intensive two-week open learning training course.
Third year student at the University of Mozambique, Chifwanti Zulu said “Being interactive with journalists which are working in the industry was educational and I have learned a lot about the media, government relationships, and ethics in journalism in Namibia. And I feel that building contacts is also a vital journalistic tool for the future.”
The programme has been running for 11 consecutive years and have successfully groomed journalists that hold significant posts in Zambia, Tanzania and Namibia’s media today. “Several former programme participants have continued to Master’s degree level though it demands considerable financial and professional investment” said Kivikuro.
This year’s programme focused on Media Accountability, Ethics and Journalism Law.