Liberia: Youth Media Action Trains over 50 Cub Reporters

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Monrovia – A pro media development group, Youth Media Action, has trained over 50 cub reporters in basic journalism.

The six weeks of training – dubbed “Vacation Journalism School” – brought together high school students and recent graduates between the ages of 5 – 25 years from Monrovia and its environs.

The Executive Director of Youth Media Action, Varmah Kamara said out of 75 applicants, 60 (43 girls, 17 boys) successfully passed the vetting process and were trained by 15 facilitators in news gathering, interview techniques, news presentation, investigative reporting, photo journalism and sports reporting amongst others.

The students also visited the National Museum and traveled to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County for an exclusive tour of the port facilities and interview with the port manager, Civicus Barsigiah.

“This program has taught us to be outspoken, using photos for storytelling, sports reporting and networking amongst others. We want to thank YMA and LBS for providing us such golden opportunity,” 16 years old Christian Gofieh added.

 “Becoming a journalist is my dream and I’m so glad to have benefited from this six weeks’ journalism program as a startup. I’m grateful to Youth Media Action and their partners for making my dream a reality,” said 11 years old Aminata Kromah, who travelled from Brewerville to Paynesville City.

Mr. Kamara thanked the students for taking advantage of the vacation journalism school, facilitators, the LBS management and Internews Liberia for their continuous support.

Mr. Kamara asserted that the program is aimed at addressing the enormous challenges confronting the Liberian media.

He identified brain drain, capacity gap and gender mainstreaming as serious challenges in the media that need to be tackled.

“Unlike the past, we are experiencing a massive exodus of media professionals today from the mainstream media for greener pastures, while others are taking on the microphone and pen without any formal training. These are challenges that must be treated as an emergency for media reform,” he emphasized.

He also revealed that the organization is seeking support to extend its programs to additional counties across Liberia next year.

Mr. Kamara was speaking at the end of the Vacation Journalism School organized by Youth Media Action in partnership with the Liberia Broadcasting System held over the weekend at the ELBC Compound in Paynesville City.

Also speaking at the closing ceremony attended by participants, parents and other supporters, the Chief of Party at Internews Liberia, Lien Bach welcomed the initiative; emphasizing that media development is critical to national development.

Madam Bach asserted that a vibrant and professional media promotes good governance and enhances development.

“We are pleased that Youth Media Action is contributing and helping to develop a new generation of media professionals,” Ms. Bach said.

“We will continue to work with YMA as we have done in the past years on the Trafficking In Persons (TIPs) and Civic education campaigns for a better society,” she added.

The Deputy Director General of Public Affairs at the Liberia Broadcasting System, Jallah Grayfield, served as keynote speaker and pledged the state radio’s support to the program.

Mr. Grayfield, who started his own career through high school journalism activities, pointed out that most mainstream journalists are recruited from school press clubs, which makes the YMA program so important.

“I am an appointee of President Weah today but we all started reporting from high schools which makes me happy that this could continue for others to take over from us,” he asserted.

He stressed that the management of the Liberia Broadcasting System remains committed and will continue to support Youth Media Action in its endeavor to help reform the Liberia media.

Aside from the Vacation Journalism School, Youth Media Action has been actively involved in media reform and civic education since 2016 by working with high school press clubs through its High School Special radio program and the International Day of the Child broadcasting program which comes in December in building the next generation of Liberian journalists and leaders.

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