Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Training Ghanaians Journalists for the Information Society

Training Workshop
26th to 28th h April 2006
Busy Internet, Accra-Ghana
Theme: Training Ghanaians Journalists for the Information Society


Ghana is a country on a path towards accelerated development. The State through the government has identified Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as an important component for the attainment of accelerated growth. The ICT for Accelerated Development (ICT4AD) Policy document, which is the guiding framework for the implementation of ICTs in Ghana, therefore clearly articulates the vision of improving the quality of life of the people of Ghana and the modernisation of the economy through the use of ICTs. The main strategy for achieving this vision is to transform Ghana into an information and knowledge driven ICT literate nation1.

This noble vision however requires that all sectors of the Ghanaian society be trained in the use and benefits of ICTs for their individual lives. Journalists as the ‘fourth estate of government’ therefore require special attention and more intensive training in the use and benefits of ICTs for their work and national development. They also more importantly as gatekeepers of society and watchdogs of government need to understand policy issues surrounding ICTs both at the global as well as at the regional and national level.

Unfortunately not a lot of attention has been focused on building the capacity of Ghanaian journalists in this very important new and emerging sector of the Ghanaian economy. The result is that there is very low use of new media technologies by the media and also poor reporting of ICTs in general.. In a report published by United Nations Commission for (UNECA)2, it was found that there is an inherent weakness in ICTs reporting which is characterized by verbatim reporting, with little attempt made at interpretation, critique or analysis. Furthermore the study shows there is lack access and use of ICT tools in the newsroom as well.

The same report observed that Ghanaian editors even though they considered ICT issues to be important, did not have the in-house competence to report adequately on developments.

Also Journalism around the world today has moved from the use of simple desktop applications such as MS Word to the WWW3 and its amazing opportunities. Internet research is an integral part of journalism today; new technologies such as blogging and podcasting are also catching on in the media world. Yet online journalism is still in its embryonic stages in Ghana. Most media houses do not have up to date online presence and those that do have, are not using universal online journalism styles and ethics.

There is therefore a need for a major transformation of the Ghanaian journalists in his/her training and attitude towards using new media technology. In this direction, PenPlusBytes in conjunction with French Embassy in Ghana is organizing a three day workshop for the media.

This workshop therefore seeks to address two key challenges:

1. The ability to use new media technology to improve the quality of journalism in Ghana

2. The ability of journalists to understand and report on ICT policy issues in Ghana

To provide knowledge sharing platform for the media to understand key issues in the Information Society.
Understand and review New Media and its impact in the newsroom
Provide an opportunity for the media players to develop new practical skills in using specific ICTs tools in the newsroom.
To equip Ghanaian journalists to challenge ICT policy implementation process in Ghana


This workshop will be delivered using a combination of presentations, group discussions, brainstorming, course work and practical work. Emphasis will be on covering the key issues and debates raging in the ICT sector in Ghana, Africa and world and providing specific online skills to journalists in order for them to research, generate, manage and publish content online. Well-known experts and invited resource persons will deliver the sessions. A course manual will be designed by Penplusbytes to facilitate the workshop. This manual will cover all the issues to be discussed at the workshop and will act as a reference material to journalists in the course of their work.


Course Programme
Day One – 26th April Wednesday 2006
Opening Ceremony for all participants:

- Welcome remarks

- Purpose of seminar

- Keynote addresses – French Ambassador to Ghana

- Self-Introduction and expectations by participants

Session One: Implications of information society developments

Serves to introduce the course and updates participants with latest trends and development in key areas such as ICTs, Internet Governance, National ICTs Policy, Information Society, digital divide, the Internet, media and ICTs Convergence. Special focus shall be placed on Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) by examining threats and challenges facing ICTs in context of development.

Session Two: Introduction to ICT Journalism

This session introduces the concepts and theories of the ICTs Journalism, how ICTs are changing the face of Journalism and how Journalists can map out strategies to cope with exigencies of ICT journalism. The session concludes with a look at various ICTs tool such as internet, wiki, content management system, weblogs, podcasting, newsroom work flow systems, intranet are put in practical use in newsroom.

Session Three: Knowledge Management for the Media:

For any newsroom to use tools such as ICTs effectively, it must put in place an effective knowledge management system. In order to produce better stories, the newsroom must build a knowledge management system designed to reduce costs and increase access to shared information thus enhancing its output. This session serves to introduce the concepts of knowledge management with the objective of ensuring all team members in the newsroom are connected in a way that would enable them categorise, retained and share knowledge.

DAY TWO – 27th Thursday April 2006

Session Four - Re-cap of Day 1 (clarification of concepts)

Session Five: Online Journalism

Online Journalism can be defined as the reporting and publishing content mostly through online means basically the internet. During this session we shall take a look the history of online journalism, types of online journalisms, online journalism in practice and the future of online journalism.

Session Six: Practical

Group Work, Discussion & Group Presentation

DAY THREE- 28th Friday April 2006

Session Seven: Re-cap of Day 1 (clarification of concepts)

Session Eight: Online Journalism –blogs and Content Management Systems (CMS)

This session builds on Online Journalism with particular focus on how participants can design blogs and how CMS can help in regular website updating.

Session Nine: Practical - Online Research using the Internet

This session serves to give the participants an opportunity to use the Internet in researching stories and publishing online.

Session Ten -Closing Session

- Workshop evaluation and report

Are you interested in this course?
send mail to info AT penplusbytes.net (replace AT with @)


1The Ghana ICT4AD Policy, 2003. Strategy ‘A’ under broad objectives for achieving the ICT4AD missions.
2African Media and ICT4D:Documentary Evidence. A Baseline Study on the State of Media Reporting on ICT and Information Society Issues in Africa. UNECA&OSIWA 2003
3MSWORD for Microsoft Word application and WWW for the World Wide Web

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