By Lansana Fofana.
As part of their 2018 mentorship program, the Media Reform Coordinating Group and the Sierra Leone Reporters Union have called on Journalists to be more proactive in reporting on human development issues that have to do with the lives of the people instead of political news.
The mentorship program which was sponsored by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) aimed at empowering journalists to develop story ideas so that they will be able to report issues and events accurately.
Speaking with this year’s participants at the Headquarters of SLAJ on Friday, the Project Director MRCG Winston Scott Manga said that a notice was put our two months ago for journalists to apply with a story idea and for them to be mentored by professionals in various disciplines. He said that the MRCG and SLRU brought up these ideas as a means for journalists to develop interest in reporting on a specialized field.
The President of SLRU, Amadu Lamrana Bah said that there was no rigorous rules or criteria set up for journalists to apply for the mentorship program, but the turnout from journalists was low. He encouraged journalists to take advantage of the program as that will motivate the donor UNDP to sponsor the mentoring of many journalists as the program becomes successful.
The Chairman of MRCG, Francis Sowa said that Sierra Leonean journalists have been writing good stories that were excellently written with the ability of winning international awards. But they have not been submitting those stories for awards. He said that journalists will be able to input ideas learned from the program in their news outlets and help them to overcome the challenges they face on how to approach sources and develop investigative stories.
Delivering a lecture, the Head of Mass Communication Department at Fourah Bay College, Tonya Musa said that the media continue to develop too much interest in political reporting than developmental stories. He said that media education is key in achieving professionalism and the response of media practitioners to any challenges. He called on journalists to adopt the simple approach of reporting where simple dictions and analysis are done in order not to confuse the audience and readers
The Project Manager for UNDP, Hassan Jalloh said that senior management of UNDP have been expressing delight over the success of the mentorship program and they hope to extend more support as the number of participants grow.