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FAAPA identifies manpower gaps, seeks more training for journalists

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The ongoing General Assembly of the Atlantic Federation of African Press Agencies (FAAPA) continued its deliberations on Friday in Rabat with participants identifying manpower incapacity and advocating initiatives to boost service delivery through training of journalists.

The session, which was led by the Vice President of FAAPA, Mrs Oumou Sana, elicited debates among member agencies, with calls for renewed attention to be paid to building the capacity of journalists in multimedia production.

Others called for specialised training in fact checking to tackle fake news as well as capacity building in the area of website management, editorial writing, financial reporting, infographics and digital marketing.

The Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Buki Ponle, called for skills acquisition training that would ensure that journalists also engage in marketing to drive the revenue initiatives of their agencies.

” Journalists are the links between their agencies and other stakeholders, but many largely report their stories and return to their offices while the commercial aspect is left fallow.

” Yet, there is money to be made as we keep telling them. I’m sure that if there is professional training, they will listen and abide by their training,” he said.

Ponle also advised members of FAAPA to engage in partnerships with local and multilateral institutions to build their capacity as well as attract funding.

” I have a piece of advice for my colleagues here; they should try as much as possible to cooperate with relevant stakeholders.

” These are stakeholders like those in the United Nations system, multilateral institutions which could be of assistance.

” We have tried it in the News Agency of Nigeria for more than 20 years and we are benefitting from funding, especially through the United Nations Population Fund.

” Lately, we established the Solutions Journalism Desk in partnership with an international organisation.

” These are areas we can readily tap into to access funding for training,” he said

Owusu Kofi, the head of Ghana News Agency, called for specialised training in health reporting in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also canvassed further training on infographics and website management as well as financial reporting.

Koumba Alexis of AGP, the Gabonese news agency, solicited for training of its personnel in the area of infographics as well as support in building its editorial capacity.

According to Bakumanya Marie of the Congolese news agency, his media outlet would benefit from training programmes in fact checking and photojournalism.

The Secretary General of FAAPA, Mr Mohammed Anis, told the forum that the body currently has many partnership agreements dedicated to training of journalists.

These agreements, he said, were facilitated by the Executive Council of FAAPA and members could access training for their personnel under the initiatives.(NAN)

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