Women in Media Development Initiative (WIMDI) has advised female journalists in the country to upgrade their skills with modern tools of journalism so as not to be left behind in the practice of the profession.
The Director of WEMDI and Station Manager, Hot FM 98.3, Rita Eghujovbo, made the call at a one-day training of female journalists in Abuja with the theme: “Mainstreaming Gender in Media Reportage and Digital Messaging”, as part of activities to mark the International Women’s Day (IWD), with the theme: “DigitalALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”.
The training focused on strategies that will help make gender issues more critical in reportage, presentation and digital platforms.
She said: “We decided to do this to mark international women’s day which is every 8th of March and the theme this year has to do with cyberspace and digitalization and we in the media definitely need to upgrade and keep upgrading ourselves as far as social media is a concern, as far as tech is a concern so that we will do what we are doing better.
“Before now transcribing an interview used to be a herculean task but these days you can do voice-to-text. It takes knowledge to save time but do you have that knowledge? Are you sharing that knowledge with other people in the media space? As a woman who works in the media, when you see a report do you ask, how does this affect women? Do we ask hard questions? Do we intentionally interview women to hear their points of view on an issue? Do women know how to take advantage of the media?
“A woman might know how to do the job but the men are the ones in the media taking the glory.
Men in politics understand this game but women in the media have to expose women in politics in their media.
“Women in the media must mentor others because is not enough for you to know, share the knowledge and your mentees will in turn share it with others and before you know what is happening, it will spread.
“Women in the media must not lack behind, upgrade when it comes to tech know what is trending. We are our sisters’ keepers, not competitors.”
On her part, Assistant Director, Voice of Nigeria, Rafat Salami, said the training gives women in the media an opportunity to learn about technology that can enhance their work output.
She said: “The world has gone technological and this year’s theme is to celebrate young women who are into technology, who are using technology to advance humanity. But it recognizes that women are behind, there’s a huge gap in the uptake of technology by women. And when we narrow it down to the media, even the samples we took on the hall with about 55 people, we see that technologically women are behind.
“When we asked about those in charge of technology in our places of work, they are mostly men. Who are those who cover technology beats, they are also men. So, it means that if we do not up our skills technologically, the world is going to leave us behind.
“Technology skill has nothing to do with gender, it’s interest and training. So as women, we must open our hearts to new technology knowing that it will help us do our jobs better and be better journalists.”
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She said on avenues available for women to explore: “There are a lot of journalism training institutes and schools, whose curricula are outdated because the journalism we knew five years ago is not the journalism of today.
“The curriculum has to reflect the changes to multimedia journalism where one person today can be a videographer, photographer, reporter etc. Before now, you could go with a team to cover an assignment but now one person can do everything because you have all the software, and programmes on your smartphone or laptop and you can edit them yourself.
“So women journalists if you want to remain relevant, you must improve on your technology know-how, your understanding of digital and social media space.”
On what was responsible for the low rate of women in the managerial cadre in the media, she said: “In my view, if you don’t have the required training you won’t get it. You have to grow on the job and make yourself available for those training.
“With technology, a female journalist can juggle her job and still keep her family happy. With technology, the job can be done faster and delivered more efficient.
“Women should have their eyes on the goal. The goal is to ask yourself, five years from today, where do you want to be and prepare towards it by getting the necessary certifications and training.”
Earlier, the founder of WEMDI, Omolara Olademiji, on her part, noted that the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections further set the female gender back as many women lost in their comeback bids. This aside the increased rate of violence against women and other issues.
She said participants were at the end of the training expected to be more proficient in amplifying gender issues, and at the same time usher in storytelling that influences and inspires on a global scale.