KAMPALA – Ugandan media owners and managers have been tasked to go back to the drawing board if they are to put up with the ever-advancing technology and benefit from their trade.
The advice is contained in a keynote address delivered by Eva Georgia, an international trainer/consultant in sustainability also a marketing specialist at a breakfast meeting under the theme “Media Viability: Upholding quality journalism, staying financially afloat” put together by Media Focus Africa.
The media owners, managers and stakeholders at the meeting agreed that the future of journalism depends a lot on media houses accepting to work together as opposed to operating in perceived isolation.
“Go back… all the way to your vision, mission and goals. It needs strategic planning and visioning to incorporate new technologies in your business plans and to use technology to achieve your goals,” Ms Georgia said.
Adding; “It needs a collective approach and teamwork where marketing, production, programming and news can all plan together.”
Ms Georgia challenged the media heads to find a place to marry traditional media with new technologies to create value.
“I remember as a young child I was a book worm since primary school. I couldn’t wait to run home after school to listen to radio serials based on the books I read. Those well-produced radio dramas were much like TV soaps today. Fast forward more than 40 years later and after moving back home to SA from the US to my surprise I found DVDs of those very radio serials that I still watch today. Content that inspires, that binds us together as a nation, as a family as communities as the globe. Stories that influence us from one generation to the next; the memories we share that stimulate us,” she narrated.
“I share this because I want to ask in this challenging time of fake news making headlines and information being available immediately, what are you doing differently as a journalist or a media institution to ensure your audiences know your news and information is trustworthy,” Ms Georgia.
A panel of five including Pius Mutekaani Katunzi, Managing Director at The Observer Media, Dr. Innocent Nahabwe of Galaxy FM, Maurice Mugisha Deputy Managing Director at UBC and Dr. Emily Maractho utene, a lecturer of Journalism at Mukono University then discussed the way forward.
Among the issues raised, the remuneration of journalists, the lack of patience especially among the young people and the increasing lack of interest of the females to take on challenging roles in journalism were central.
Mr. Katunzi said many females would rather stay in the background and work safe, something he says is difficult to make sense of.
Mr. Mugisha said the issue of remuneration is real and noted that no amount of “preaching passion will make a person who has received a better cheque stay at a media house just for the sake of passion.”
Dr. called on media houses to do more mentoring of interns and to create a more peaceful environment for them to be encouraged to stay on after training.