A deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr. Seth Terkper, has called for the continuous training of journalists to make it attractive to highly educated professionals from diverse disciplines to help tell the African story better to the rest of the world.
The deputy minister said specialization in journalism as well as the encouragement of other professionals to join the inky fraternity would further raise the standard in the media and help them put the spotlight on relevant progress and other positive stories about the country and Africa as a whole, rather than leaving it for foreign journalists to tell it for the continent.
“I can see improvements in skills and quality of journalists in the media landscape in Ghana. Entrepreneurs and civil society should all help to institutionalize media houses that are dedicated to reporting positive business news and progress in the Ghanaian economy so as to create a balance of the often negative image portrayed about Africa,” Mr. Terkper said in a keynote address at the launch of a three-day training workshop for business and financial journalists in Accra.
The workshop, facilitated by the Thomson Media Foundation and anchored by the School of Communication Studies, University of Ghana, will bring some 64 journalists and economists together in hands-on exchange of ideas and knowledge in Ghana and Kenya on how to deepen financial and economic reporting, particularly making use of economic research findings.
The programme, dubbed “Africa Means Business,” will feature a two-part training of journalists and economists on how to tell compelling stories using research findings so that the media can play a part in getting research findings into public discourse.
The deputy finance and economic planning minister said news about Africa was often inaccurate, cynical and reported out of context, thus the need for arming the continent’s own journalists to tell the stories and help portray a positive balance.
Mr. Terkper, therefore, charged media houses to run their outfits as businesses to build or improve their credibility and attract other professionals, saying “media houses cannot afford to be unprofessional.
He also welcomed the training opportunity for the journalists and lauded the work of journalism groupings such as the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) for the immense contributions they had made and continue to make in the socio-economic development of the country.
The President of IFEJ, who answered the questions: “Does Africa mean Business; Are we getting the message across?” said financial journalism in Africa was still weak and pointed out that apart from South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and to some extent Ghana, no serious work was being done in the area of financial journalism.
He, therefore, called for effective collaboration between financial journalists and economists, researchers and statisticians to develop the subject area.
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