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To Think I Almost Missed #RCCE2020

To think I almost missed this training! 

 I heard about AWiM’s RCCE programme through a forwarded WhatsApp message in one of the groups I am in. The lady who forwarded it wrote: “guys jaribuni translated as “guys try your luck.” I applied for the training immediately, then I also forwarded the link to a friend to try her luck. I am on a maternity leave, and both electric and internet services at my place had been interrupted for almost a week. When the services got back, I checked on my mails. Guess what! My application to AWiM training had been successful! Though I had already missed the deadline to confirm my attendance by two days, I sent in my story pitch anyway. 

 Just in Time 

The RCCE online courses could not have come at a better time. It took my mind off the depressing Covid-19 news of lives being lost and people losing jobs. My husband was one of those who had lost their job. 

Since graduating from university in 2016, I have not returned to any formal study, so this course for me played a refresher course role wiping away academic cobwebs. The timed quizzes after every module made sure I stayed focused, eager to get as close to full marks as possible. Eager to get my certificate of completion, and increase my chances of getting my dream job. 

All six courses on the programme have been useful in sharpening my online skills and etiquette. The live sessions, which I was not used to before, got easier after each one. The live sessions were a great addition to the pre-recorded content, allowing us ask follow up questions to the trainers. 

Importantly, the course has been a revelation to various things I used to take lightly in my line of duty. I have learnt the importance of being sensitive to my physical and online security, the need for sensitivity towards news sources and the public, and the important of adhering to ethical and responsible reporting. 

 ‘Balanced Health and Science Journalism’ is one of the six courses, and proof that health reporting can easily be done. Some journalists fear science journalism and that’s why health reporting run the risk of being misreported due to fear of scientific terms and interpretation. 

 The trainer, Esther Nakkazi, simplified her presentation indicating that science reporting can also be done in a way that the public can easily understand and relate with. Nakkazi advises that reporters first need to identify with the main terminologies in the area of reporting and look out for the meaning so as not to misreport. During this phase, different health professionals need to be consulted to give actual meaning and simplify the scientific terms to enable accurate presentation of the report to the public.  

 It is interesting to learn that if reporting a controversy in science one can still apply journalistic norm of being neutral in reporting. You have to interview all the parties involved in the story and being careful not to stigmatise anyone in the story. 

Exemplary health and science reporting is achievable; journalists need to wear a positive attitude to focus on systematic research with no shortcuts. 

 The RCCE programme has been amazing and applicable in real life. Courses like Safety for Journalists, Automated Journalism, Identifying Gendered Angles just but a few of the well-researched knowledge on the programme. I am proud and feel honoured to have been in the first cohort to experience AWiM’s online training programmes. 

Agnes Oloo

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C.E.O & Co-founder, AWiM

Dr Yemisi Akinbobola is an award-winning journalist, academic, consultant and co-founder of African Women in Media (AWiM). AWiM’s vision is that one-day African women will have equal access to representation in media. Joint winner of the CNN African Journalist Award 2016 (Sports Reporting), Yemisi ran her news website IQ4News between 2010-14.
Yemisi holds a PhD in Media and Cultural Studies from Birmingham City University, where she is a Senior Lecturer. She has published scholarly research on women’s rights, African feminism, and journalism and digital public spheres. She was Editorial Consultant for the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 commemorative book titled “She Stands for Peace: 20 Years, 20 Journeys”, and currently hosts the book’s podcast.
She speaks regularly on issues relating to gender and media. In 2021 she was recognized as one of 100 Most Influential African Women.