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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Participants hail womentorship journalism programme

Story by Vivian Bangamu

The curtain came down on the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Womentorship fellowship programme this Sunday, with the organisers introducing a new component to the workshop, where the participants will pitch a story idea and the top six selected for publications for Harare and Bulawayo newspapers.

The programme manager Fungisai Sithole explains how it will work.

“This year we have expanded the womentorship programme. Normally after the training, the mentors are available to the young women for the next three months. We have added a pitching section where we want them to ‘practicalise’ how to be a multi-media journalist. It does not end with the pitch they will eventually write the stories to show the skills that they have gained. The 12 participants will be monitored and guided on how to write their stories and will be published,” she said.

Fungisai Sithole

Fungisai further said that FNF aims to give the up-and-coming young female journalists a backbone when they enter the newsroom.

“The whole of the womentorship was to try to contribute to building gender friendly newsroom, where female journalists can grow, thrive and assume leadership positions without feeling intimidated and without having to do any sexual favours. The programme is there to just give them and to prepare to make them newsroom-ready through not only theory but the practical side of the newsroom and the profession.”

One of the participants, Tafadzwa Mwanengureni, a recent graduate from Harare Polytechnic said, told the ZBC News, “The Freidrick Naumann Fellowship is superb l can say and it’s helpful to me. I have come to understand that our journalism industry requires more than what we learnt at college. As young journalists, we believe the field is all about traditional reporting, but l have learnt that data journalism is becoming a beat one can focus on and you can easily market yourself in an environment where many young journalists are not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel. Honestly, this programme is so encouraging.”

Part of the workshop included the mentors talking about one of the beasts that is often swept under the carpet for fear of unsettling the status quo – sexual harassment in the newsroom.

Lisa Magodo from Pachikomo FM shared her views on the matter.

“I have understood that sexual harassment can damage one’s mental health at the workplace and at home. What I can do when I am in a situation is to tell someone I trust and to stand firm against it and also naming and shaming the men or women who are doing it. I also learnt that multi-media is the in-thing in the media sector due to the advancement of technology and one has to know every beat as the world of journalism is changing.”

The mentors are seasoned female journalists who were trained on how to be mentors as they make the best guides since they have vast experience in how to navigate the newsroom.

Bulawayo will have its workshop in May where the other six winners will be selected.

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