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December 15, 2022

REPORT: Women, Journalists and Media Entrepreneurs: Global Challenges and Solutions Workshop, the ACRP at the African Women in Media (AWiM) Conference, 8-9 December 2022, Fes, Morocco

The Africa-China Reporting Project (the Project or ACRP), based at the Wits Centre for Journalism at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, supported and presented a Workshop in the sixth annual African Women in Media (AWiM) Conference, held in Fes, Morocco, 8-9 December 2022. This year, the AWiM Conference held the theme UNITED IN ACTION, where speakers and attendees engaged in discussions for recommendations and solutions to critical issues confronted by women in the workplace, and in the practice of journalism, and the business and education of the media.

The Africa-China Reporting Project's Workshop within the AWiM Conference was titled Women, Journalists and Media Entrepreneurs: Global Challenges and Solutions. The Workshop was held both in-person and via Zoom for online attendees, and featured reports and presentations from journalists and media owners in South Africa, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Zambia.

The Project has since its establishment in 2009, continued to contribute towards the improving of the quality of reporting on African and Africa-China issues. This is accorded with the provision of facilitation and capacity building opportunities to journalists, media owners, and academia in the form of reporting grants, skills training tools, resources and workshops, forums and conferences, publications and other resources.

The Africa-China Reporting Project amplifies Africa’s perspectives to enhance its development and within engagements with global players.  The role of women in media, and gendered perspectives remain as key areas to which the Project maintains support. Previously in 2019, the Project supported six African journalists who attended and participated in the Journalists of the Africa-China Reporting Project at the African Women in Media (AWiM) Conference in Kenya, 25-27 July 2019,

Women, Journalists and Media Entrepreneurs: Global Challenges and Solutions Workshop, 9 December 2022, Fes, Morocco

The Africa-China Reporting Project Workshop explored the nature of global challenges confronted by women, journalists and media entrepreneurs, and the solutions and recommendations thereto.

Within the growing global influence of technology on the media landscape and to journalism practice; the influence of online and social media platforms, influencers, bloggers, freelancers, the use of 'bots' and artificial intelligence (AI) applications such as the new Chat GPT, journalism and media is faced with many opportunities, however alongside these opportunities and global developments are countering challenges, which draw upon the already existing challenges in the media, in business, practice and teaching, which have recently also been exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic.  Several research and publications point to the declining quality of media and the role of journalists in society, and this Workshop sought out some actionable solutions and recommendations.

See below, the ACRP Workshop programme and images:

The panelists and audience unpacked the global challenges, and local experiences within media business entrepreneurship and journalism practice, and at the end provide working solutions and/or recommendations to the global challenges, within their local and national experiences, expertise and knowledge of South Africa, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Zambia.. The Workshop presented three themes to which the speakers provided knowledge and expertise, namely;

  • Journalistic practice: From the Newsroom to the Public
    • This theme explored the practical experiences of journalists, the challenges and opportunities thereto, from the newsroom through the field and to the audience. The speakers engaged on the relationship and responsibility of and between journalists and editors, the state and civil society. The role of journalism and the media as a fourth estate. The concerns of journalists, including safety and security issues, state surveillance, limited freedoms of expression, hindered press freedoms; limited funding and low salaries; the emergence of online media; opportunities and challenges, the impact of online media on the quality of journalism and dissemination of information; and the significance and future of legacy media.
  • The Business of Journalism and the Media; What does the future hold?
    • This theme explored the current business models of journalism and media and how they are operating. The speakers presented challenges and missing opportunities and gaps in the business models of media, and explored what the future holds. The role of women as business owners and gender biases in the business of media and journalism were also presented. Speakers also explored journalism ideas for innovation and entrepreneurship within the global challenges; how technology and social media platforms affect the business of media; and the sustainability of media platforms.
  • The Impact of Journalism Education
    • This theme explored examples of how journalism is taught and how it is practiced, presenting the challenges and opportunities. The impact of social and digital media platforms on the quality, teaching and profession of journalism; and the future of journalism education, through the emerging trends within journalism scholars were presented, along with solutions and recommendations within the local and national expertise of the speakers.

The Workshop Panelists included:

  • Annonciata Byukusenge, Chief Editor at Rwanda News 24, Rwanda
  • Melody Chikono, Projects Editor at Alpha Media Holdings, Zimbabwe
  • Paula Fray, Founder of Frayintermedia and CEO of Fray College, South Africa
  • Sophie Mokoena, Senior Foreign Editor, at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), South Africa
  • Tsedale Lemma, Publisher at Addis Standard Publications, Ethiopia
  • Moderator: Bongiwe Tutu, Project Coordinator, Africa-China Reporting Project, South Africa

The Audience Roundtable Discussion

Following the speaker presentations, the audience members gathered in smaller groups and discussed the main question, to which actionable recommendations and solutions were explored. The main question was What is the Future for Journalists, Media Business Owners and Journalism & Media Education? The discussion of the main question was broken down under the sub questions below:

What is the Future for Journalists, Media Business Owners and Journalism & Media Education?

In what ways has technology enhanced your role as a journalist and/or media owner/media educator? What challenges has technology brought to your role as a journalist/media owner/media educator, in your audience reception?  What innovative ways can journalists, media owners and media educators ensure technology enhances its future?


African Union Agenda 2063 Awards

The AWIM conference also presented the Pitch Zone; an opportunity for journalists to pitch reporting proposals and ideas which underpin the values of the African Union Agenda 2063. One of the ACRP panelists; journalist Melody Chikono received the Promoting the Rights of Children in Africa Award of USD 3000, to investigate the key measures to tackling child sexual abuse, within the context of poverty driven religious groups in Zimbabwe, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Morocco.

Previously during the AWIM 2019 Conference, two journalists who were part of the ACRP panel, received awards to the story proposals they submitted during the Pitch Zone. Christabel Ligami received the Free Trade Migration Award supported by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the AU (African Union), to investigate opportunities for women traders/entrepreneurs across borders in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Mary Mwendwa received the Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020 Award also supported by GIZ and the AU, to investigate the socio-economic motives to women joining violent extremist groups in Kenya.

See below, the full AWiM Conference programme:


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