‘Everything was useful’
by Nick Raistrick
At one level the East Africa Cup ( http://www.eacup.org/
) brings together young people to play football.
But there's more to it than that: the annual tournament provides an opportunity for people to learn about leadership, networking, coaching, refereeing, first aid, and now – for the 2010 tournament - media skills.
The World Service Trust team worked on a programme of events which brought together sports journalists and leaders who work for a range of East African community groups using sport for development purposes. The leaders learnt about how to use the media to get their message across - whether it's recruiting new players or communicating complex health messages to journalists without using jargon that people won't understand.
For the journalists there were sessions on sports journalism and reporting, editorial values, pitching and selling stories. Both groups were involved in sessions which included on digital stills photography, interview skills, filming and editing, recording voice pieces.
There were other practical training activities, including ‘The Daily’, a tournament ‘newspaper’ which encouraged teamwork between NGOs and journalists: perhaps surprisingly journalists were as keen to get their copy and pictures ‘published’ here as leaders.
A daily press conference at 730 am each day was organised and hosted by the leaders – this benefited journalists (who got used to asking the kind of focused, challenging questions which can be a rarity at some East African press events where a ‘brown envelope’ culture is still common).
It was also useful for the leaders, who organised guests, prepared the ‘press centre’ and wrote the press release around the daily event.
As well as group activities, there were 1:1 sessions where trainees could formally or informally ‘book’ time with trainers for review of work, practical skills sessions, or to work through pitches and story ideas. This was very popular.
Online outputs include: a team authored-blog , a Flickr account, YouTube channel, tweets written by trainees and trainers, a Facebook account and changes made to the EAC corporate site, which is now being reviewed in advance of the 2010 tournament.
Challenges included providing training for journalists with differing skillsets - from photographers to print journalists to radio broadcasters to TV presenters , providing training to journalists with differing levels of experience, suggesting angles and new ideas which might not be supported by editors, breaking down barriers between the four countries- Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania and timetabling training around the journalists’ existing workload from their employers.
Both formally and informally, feedback has been excellent. All 20 trainees said that training met or exceeded their expectations, often emphatically: this despite a fairly wide range of expectations (ranging from ‘updating websites’, ‘editing photos’, ’writing and editing newsletters’, ‘hosting a press conference’ to ‘sports reporting’).