The Aga Khan University will establish a media excellence centre in a bid to strengthen ethical media practices next year.
The announcement of the Graduate School of Media and Communications in East Africa was made at the opening of Nation Media Group’s celebrations to mark its golden jubilee on March 18.
His Highness the Aga Khan, Chancellor of Aga Khan University made the announcement at the opening ceremony of the inaugural Pan Africa Media Conference in Nairobi.
“The School will be driven, above all, by an absolute commitment to quality,” he told the delegates, adding that the School will also create a “forum on Media Future, which will be a place for conducting and disseminating cutting edge research that will help shape public communication in the decades ahead.”
The Aga Khan observed that journalists must increasingly understand the substantive, sophisticated dimensions of the fields on which they report, adding that a new generation of African media entrepreneurs could well be borne from programmes which blend economic and media disciplines.
Based in Nairobi, Kenya, the school will work closely, not only with the Nation Media Group but also with other local, continental and international media organisations.
The School shall aspire to attract a vibrant, intellectual community, anchored by a core of committed media professionals, educators, and scholars of diverse backgrounds and expertise.
This will be supplemented by visiting, adjunct and exchange faculty members.
Initially, its core faculty will be required to possess excellence in journalistic practice, media ethics, law and social responsibility and media management. Other requirements will be media, global and societal issues and new media and technology.
Additionally, the school will cultivate and maintain a dynamic adjunct and visiting faculty cohort through partnerships with academic institutions across Africa and globally, drawing on the diverse array of international and regional media professionals based in Nairobi.
The Aga Khan University anticipates a formal launch of the School in 2011, although some pre-opening activities – such as faculty development and African pedagogical content development initiatives will begin this year.
NMG’s success is underpinned by quality content, independent reporting, investment in professional development, and state-of-the-art technology.
Among others, the School will have several components ranging from a Masters Degree programme, serving university graduates as well as media owners, managers, and mid-career journalists; continuing education classes designed to enhance media skills and nurture media values and a special programme in media management.
The initiative will be one of the first in the developing world devoted to enhancing more robust media institutions.
In the long term, the Graduate School of Media and Communication will ally itself with another new project of the Aga Khan University, a Faculty of Arts and Sciences, to be created in the coming years in Arusha, Tanzania.