The African Media Initiative (AMI), the continent’s largest umbrella organization of media leaders and media support organizations, is pleased to announce the launch of the first of a series of Reporters Networks specializing in various sectors of the African economy.
Membership in the networks is open to journalists at newspapers, radio and television stations, online publications and bloggers with a verifiable and significant following. Journalists from traditional media will have to be nominated by their editor and candidates will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Reporters Networks are a part of AMI’s Media Services programme and will consist of a series of regional training workshops, monitoring of each network’s output in terms of the quality, depth and volume of stories, access to sector leaders, a continental online community of practice, and annual awards to reward excellence within the networks.
Recruitment will begin soon for the networks on Climate Change, Conservation and the Environment, and for the Telecommunications and ICT sector. These will soon be followed by Business and Finance, Peace and Security, Agriculture, Energy, and the Maritime Economy. Discussions are ongoing with strategic partners in each of these sectors and will determine when training and Network constitution will begin.
Speaking at the AMI headquarters in Nairobi, AMI CEO Eric Chinje said, “we are developing these networks of specialized reporters in order to improve the quality and quantity of development coverage on the continent. It currently stands at a paltry 10 percent, the lowest of any region in the world. I also believe that improved sector coverage will open up new avenues for advertising revenue for media houses. It is a win-win for all concerned.”
The curriculum for training in the various sectors is being developed with support from industry experts and academia and will improve the journalists’ understanding of how the industries work, increase their awareness of key issues and challenges facing the sectors, and enable them to better inform the public about topics that impact the quality of life and the progress of development on the continent.
End-of-year awards for excellence in reporting – the ZIMEO awards – will be one of many incentives to ensure that media plays a lead role in enriching social, economic and political conversations in Africa.