A two-week print media workshop aimed at strengthening the press in Guyana concluded yesterday with a simple certification ceremony at the Theatre Guild, Parade Street, Kingston.
The workshop targeted practicing journalists of the print media and students of the University of Guyana. It was also attended by members of the public and some television journalists.
The workshop which began on July 12 was held under the theme ‘Purpose-driven newspaper and web journalism’ and was facilitated by Alan Miller, Managing Editor of Columbus Dispatch an Ohio paper in the United States. It was sponsored by USAID, the University of Guyana’s Centre for Communication Studies, Ohio University, Higher Education for Development and the American Council on Education.
At the opening of the ceremony two weeks back, Mission Director of USAID Carol Horning, had noted the importance of working with the media- “the antenna for the nation”.
She said her organisation was pleased to support the collaboration. She had also asked for feedback from the participants.
Yesterday, Horning listened to what some of the participants took away from the two week session. “The experience was great for me. It taught me how to apply myself journalistically,” a UG Communications student said.
A journalist from one of the daily newspapers said the workshop was “a learning process” and “a sharing experience” which she will forever cherish.
“Thank you for taking part in the challenge of listening and learning,” Horning said after listening to the participants. She added that USAID will continue to watch the steps and advances of the journalists who were part of the workshop.
The workshop also catered to editors. Their sessions were held on Fridays. Some of the issues addressed in the workshop included developing good writing skills, ethics involved in reporting on vulnerable groups, the newspaper’s role in Guyana, identifying bias and giving voice to the voiceless.
Miller yesterday told the participants that he had seen growth in the two-week session and added that as he leaves for the US today, he will be monitoring the progress of the journalists. “I want to thank all of you so much for the time that you put into our spirited debates, our wonderful conversations and teaching me things like ‘leh we gaff’. I feel blessed… I’ve seen so much growth in two weeks…and we’ve seen immediate results,” Miller said.
The participants were then each presented with a certificate for completing the workshop.
Alan Miller is the holder of a BA and MA Journalism from the Ohio University where he is also a member of the professional advisory board for the EW Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.
The Columbus Dispatch has been named the best newspaper in the state of Ohio by the Associated Press over the past two years and has a daily circulation of 200,000 and 300,000 on Sundays. Miller became managing editor of the paper in 2004.
According to Director of the Centre for Communica-tions Studies (CCS) Paloma Mohamed, the workshop was held as a result of a study which revealed that there was need for proper investigative journalism, objective, unbiased reporting among other issues. The workshop is part of a three-year project with USAID which offers funding and technical support to the CCS.