The Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications has said the media innovations centre, which was commissioned last Friday, is aimed at shaping the future of the media industry in the country.
In an email response on Friday, Prof Lawrence Pintak, the dean of Graduate School of Media and Communications, said the Media Challenge Initiative Media Hub is a regional project that supports innovators and explores new ideas and opportunities to support the mainstream media transition to the next phase.
“This is part of GSMC’s role as a resource for East Africa’s media industry. Media in Uganda, like the rest of the world, are grappling with the twin challenges of digital transformation and the changing audience, which affects the bottom line. All of this has been made even more dramatic by Covid-19,” he said.
Prof Pintak said the project is a partnership with Deutsche Welle Akademie. It is aimed at fostering a community of media innovations through a wide array of short courses for journalists and communicators in civil society and public sector.
They include young reporters pursuing Master’s degree in Digital Journalism, executive MA in Media Leadership and innovation for the top executives of the region’s news and communications organisations.
Miriam Ohlsen, the country representative for Deutsche Welle Akademie, said the project covers Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. She said Aga Khan University will gather information from the innovators, researchers and experts and strengthen the ideas for small and medium sized media houses to remain viable.
Mr Abaas Mpindi, the chief executive officer of Media Challenge Initiative, said they are training the next generation of multimedia journalists studying alongside their university degrees to acquire skills for television, fact checking, data journalism, developing their own blogs, solution-based journalism, radio, online and newspaper and connect them to media houses and media managers for employment.
“The Media Hub is an innovation space for disruptive media innovations such as new ways of telling stories, a home for journalists to address issues affecting journalists and journalism,” he said, adding that this is the space where issues such as clashes between security agencies and journalists can be addressed.
He added that Aga Khan University and Deutsche Welle Akademie Uganda contributed €250,000 (about Shs1.09 billion) towards the project and partners such as the European Union, US Embassy and Germany Cooperation, have joined to support the journalists by funding the different needs in news gathering.
Information and National Guidance minister Judith Nabakooba, who commissioned the centre, described it as a timely intervention, especially with the introduction of a course in fact checking because government is developing guidelines to ensure all media houses verify their stories before publishing.