Journalism students from different universities in Kenya are now talking about mobile journalism. This is attributed to the fact that they have realized the power of the pocket sized media hub. The discussion follows a training on mobile journalism dubbed #MentorMeMojo which was done early July at the National Theater. The training which was conducted by journalists and other professionals in the industry was meant to equip participants with skills on how to make good use of the emerging trend.
Most of the participants of that training are recent graduates and finalists who are soon joining the industry. The organizer of the training, The Mentor Me Project, is made up of experienced professionals who have made it their business to connect graduates to internships and job placements as well as conduct trainings on several aspects including the requirements of the job market. The Mentor Me Initiative, http://www.mentorme.co.ke/ which was founded in 2011 is headed by Njeri Kihang’ah Chege, an award-winning communication specialist. Among those who were invited to do the training are Joseph Warungu, an ex- BBC journalist and founder of Top Story, the investigative journalism competition for journalism students, Ebru TV’s Tim Njiru, Reuters’ photographer Thomas Mukoya, Richard Njau of 4updigital, and Joan Pereruan the Group Photography Editor at the Nation Media Group.
A wide range of topics were covered that day ranging from verifying sources of news and photos online, online classes and packaging of stories for the different platforms using mobile devices. Of all these topics, the one on Mobile journalism stood out as it has earned more attention as an emerging trend. A number of the participants of that training have the following to say about it: “The ‘so what’ aspect in news has helped me a lot in news preparation and I learnt a lot about verification of news sources.” Irungu kuria from Egerton University quipped.
“I learnt the importance of carrying my CV always because I’m a job seeker. Also I learnt how to verify sources of photos and stories to confirm their credibility as well as ways of packaging stories for broadcast. With a good mobile phone, one can package a good story and it can be used for broadcast,” added Victoria Simiyu of Maasai Mara University.
Following this training, these students held an online discussion on Twitter under the hashtag #MobileJournalism254. The tag was meant to drive the conversation on the upcoming trend, its advantages and what the future of journalism is going to be like with the use of mobile phones to package stories. The conversation which was started by Marvin Gakunyi from Moi University made it to the trend list on twitter that day and as such he was invited to Ebru TV to talk about the same topic. Marvin maintains that, “at the heart of journalism today is a smartphone. It is a pocket studio that can change how stories are told. In the right hands, it can change the narrative of what bleeds leads.”
As the conversation on mobile journalism continues we remain hopeful that it will revolutionize the practice in a positive manner and look forward to its applicability.