Douala,Cameroon-August 9, 2017- 12:30 PM Local Time(Cameroon News Agency)Journalists in the South West region have received rigorous training by some Media experts on how to work side-by-side Social media which today stands as a great threat to the extinction of traditional Journalism.
The meeting which took place last Saturday August 5, 2017 at Hotel Residence Carlos in Muea was an opportunity for participants to dissect the prevailing situation in the media landscape and propose workable solutions to tackle the social media issue.
Held on the theme, “Traditional Media Face-to-Face Social Media,Extinction of Traditional Journalism Practice?” Journalists unanimously agreed that Social media though playing a good role in the line of duty of Journalists in the traditional media, there is urgent need for users to be alert on facts and findings.
Participants recalled several incidents which has ridiculed a journalist because he or she picked up information from social media and broadcast without verifying, with the recent case being that of former CRTV Director of Information, Adele Mballa.
It was observed that some trained journalists are propagating false information on social media and often times use victimizing languages which could land them in jail.
It is as a result of publication of unverified information, lack of attribution, no quoting, and copy and paste syndrome that journalists were told to always to the above if they must use social media as a news source or hint.
According to Che Eugene Che, Journalism trainer in the University of Buea, if any journalist is in doubt of information, he or she should leave it. He said even in quoting sources, the journalist must treat it with utmost care because a social media source could as well be a fake one. He noted that the idea of scoops can damage the reputation of a journalist if he solely relies on social media.
The journalism trainer who also noted that besides reporting facts, social media is also used for propaganda and often journalists fall in the trap.
The workshop organized by Cameroon News Agency, an online news platform in partnership with National Telegraph Newspaper and Customer Service Cameroon , was also an opportunity to train the over 40 participants both Journalists and student Journalists, on how to receive and give criticisms on social media which are Fight Back, Flight and Evaluation. Speaker of the day, Che Eugene said the evaluation of a critical post is the best way because many people on social media always think that those who criticize them actually hate them.
The journalists were told to avoid personal attacks, be constructive, focus n the future and not the past, choosing their words carefully when giving or receiving criticisms.
Another highlight of the workshop was the economic empowerment preached by Budi Norbert, CEO of Next Digital Ventures who encouraged the Journalists to make use of Value Added Services in boosting their output and revenue. They were told to make good use of followership in all their sites which could be transformed into a market place.
Other guest speakers included Ngwane Hansel, CEO of Hansel Media as well as CRTVs Charles Ebune, Wikipedia Media Personality in Cameroon.
At the end of the workshop which saw awards of certificates, the main organizer Nfor Hanson Nchanji said, “I am an accomplished man today because what has been bordering me has finally had a solution. I have always been advocating for responsible journalism especially with the advent of social media. This was an opportunity to let the journalist working for any traditional media organ to be very careful when dealing with information obtained from social media because any unverified published information can land them in jail. We also urged all Journalists to invade the social media thereby ending publication of unverified information mainly by citizen journalist.
Earlier during the workshop, a minute of silence was observed in honor of two journalists, Eric Motumo of Chronicle Newspaper and Zachary Nkwo, former CRTV sports reporter who were buried last weekend.