Daniel Kalinaki's weblog

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Saving Africa's media one workshop at a time

GRAHAMSTOWN - After a long and ardous flight, in which we were not met, as expected, at Jo'burg or at Port Elizabeth, and in which overzealous cops at PE airport took us in to question why my visa for Mali (Yes, Mali!) did not have a picture attached (what am I supposed to do? Call the Malian embassy and inquire? For Chrissake the SA visa has NO photo!), we eventually got to Rhodes University, Grahamstown for this annual pilgrimage of African ICT journalists.

It is the first one I am attending but it seems like half of Kampala's newsrooms are empty, going by the number of Ugandan hacks I have run into in the three hours I have been here! Robert Kabushenga, the New Vision honcho, is here too, and this morning, I am told, held sway in a discussion on professionalism in the media (Yes!). I tried to dig snippets from 'Robbo' in the bus on the way from lunch (a very insipid affair, that) but we had to part ways just as the discussion turned intellectual (basically, at what point do the interests of media owners, who Robbo represents, diverge from those of the journalists?). It shall certainly be continued, that conversation, over some South African grape juice!

There is a huge sense of deja vu when one attends these things; in the past year alone, I have sat in half a dozen such meetings across the world to discuss the problems in journalism. In some, solutions have been suggested, usually on the last day, but it appears that the zeal to implement is drained away by the flights home. Nothing seems to happen!

Nevertheless, there are some interesting discussions to look forward to; in particular one on Convergence and Print Media at which Phumelele Ntombela-Nzimande (SABC), Matthew Buckland (Mail and Guardian), and Arrie Rossouw (Media 24) will speak, tomorrow morning. Quality and professionalism then returns to the table, this time with a gender dimension before we talk about mobile technology and the future of journalism. Considering the growth of mobile phone access and use in Africa, this is one I certainly want to listen in to.

But now, it is off to find a room with a shower and a quick snooze. The night ahead, after all, is ours for the taking.

Sharp! sharp! (as we say down under...)

3 Comments:

Blogger Dennis Matanda said...

Reading this, I feel like I can do no wrong. You, on the other hand, are hanging out with the enemies of the state, innit?

You and Robbo tried to have an intelligent conversation? No?

10:07 am  
Blogger Daniel Kalinaki said...

Dennis,

Of course I was not hanging out with the enemies of the state. Robbo IS the state! The rest of us do not even make up the numbers (refer to the list of 1,000 top taxpayers...)

Daniel

9:11 pm  
Blogger cb said...

the supposedly intellectual workshorks on media or otherwise in today's africa have gained us practical nothingness. look at the state of media in uganda --i need not reiterate that it's ne plus ultra of boredom. even you daniel, mwenda, obbo and the intellectual few others that we look to because we live under the delusion that they have made a mark, are doing little to nurture young talent because you guys want to be seen as the only avatars of journalistic sophistication. and what do we have? -newspapers you pick and drop like hot metal because they are too superficial. i await to hear what that workshop will say about this

11:10 am  

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