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AFRO-NETS> Summary report - three day training workshop on 'Working with the Media'

  • Subject: AFRO-NETS> Summary report - three day training workshop on 'Working with the Media'
  • From: Akin Jimoh <devcoms@yahoo.com>
  • Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001 18:18:08 -0400 (EDT)

Summary report - three day training workshop on 'Working with the Media'

A Strategic Communication Workshop for Ngos' Organised by The Media
Resource and Advocacy Centre (MRAC)

11-13 July 2001
Lagos Nigeria


The Media Resource and Advocacy Centre (MRAC), a media and advocacy
NGO dedicated to public understanding and participation in science
and development organised a three day workshop aimed at providing in-
sight into strategies in health promotion, advocacy and general pub-
licity for development programmes and projects. The training workshop
from July 11 to 13 was part of the Centre's continuing education se-
ries and was based on the MacArthur Foundation funded study on Repro-
ductive Health Reporting in the Nigerian Media (1986-1996). Twenty-
one NGO participants, from all parts of Nigeria, and Zimbabwe, took
part in the training.

The workshop objectives were to
* educate NGOs on how to develop a strategic communication plan for
their organisation.
* develop programmes on how to collaborate with journalists and han-
dle media backlash and crisis in their area of focus
* develop high quality materials, fact sheet, press release among
others for use by journalists
* use traditional media channels to promote programmmes and projects.

Professionals in the media, the health sector and donor communities,
were invited to the opening ceremony. Some of those present include
Dr Wole Atoyebi Consultant Surgeon- Lagos University Teaching Hospi-
tal (LUTH) and member of the Board of Trustees, Mrs. Remi Oyo, Presi-
dent Nigeria Guild of Editors, Bureau Chief of Pan African News
Agency, and member Board of Advisors of MRAC, and Mr. Bola Kusemiju,
Country Director Johns Hopkins University Centre for Population Pro-
gramme (JHU/CCP).

Dr Wole Atoyebi, who declared the workshop open said the purpose of
establishing the center, which started operation in 1999, was to ad-
dress the needs identified in the baseline study -- Communication
Strategies for Reproductive Health Promotion in the Nigerian Media --
carried out by the center. MRAC is one of the operational strategies
to promote health and reproductive health journalism in Nigeria. The
Centre provides reproductive health data bank, access to reproductive
health experts, help interpret demographic and vital health statis-
tics, and offer other services that improve information flow to jour-
nalists and the general public.

Mr. Akinlabi Jimoh, the Program Director, who has reported the sci-
ence and health beat for over a decade in his address observed that
reporters from big cities hardly covers development issues that are
rural based as expected. Some activities of NGOs in the rural areas
are not covered and also their stories or information are not compre-
hensive enough. Addressing these issues was one of the reasons the
workshop was organised. He went further to present the workshop goals
and objectives to the participants. He also highlighted past activi-
ties of MRAC on a number of national programs and projects as:

Mrs. Remi Oyo gave the keynote address, advised participants to rec-
ognized that "the media is an integral part of development. It stands
ready to collaborate on behalf of the people with any worthy cause
and believed that the work being done by international and national
NGOs are worthy of support. The Nigerian media stands ready, as al-
ways, to provide that support." She gave the following tips that NGOs
* Know their goals and how it affect the public;
* Be concerned about the public and its perceptions of their work;
* Know the media (she suggested they subscribe to media World and Me-
dia Review in Nigeria and similar publications elsewhere for informa-
tion and trends in the sector);
* Hire a media relations personnel (preferably with media experi-
* Know what you want to say and how to say it;
* Be proactive (Don't wait until you have an event before you seek
media presence).


* Doyin Mahmoud, Editorial Board Member and Training Editor Guardian
Newspapers, Lagos Nigeria. Member Board of Advisers Development Com-
munications (Devcoms); PRESENTATION -- Getting the Message out ú
* Bola Kusemiju, Country Director, Johns Hopkins University Center
for Communication Programs Nigeria. PRESENTATION -- Communication,
the Mass Media and Partnership for Development;
* Segun Adeyemi, West Africa Bureau Chief, Pan African News Agency
(PANA); PRESETATION -- Power of Partnerships and Networking for com-
* Ibiba Don-Pedro, African Journalist of the Year 2000; Features Cor-
respondent Guardian Newspapers PRESENTATION -- Earning Good Media
Coverage I;
* Kayode Ogunbunmi, Special Correspondent Guardian Newspapers Nige-
ria; Columbia University School of Journalism New York, USA.
PRESENTATION -- Earning Good Media Coverage I
* Timeyin Uwemojamore, Lead Associate; Assistant Housing and Environ-
ment Editor, The Guardian. PRESENTATION -- Earning Good Media Cover-
age I
* Diran Onifade, Kight Fellow (MIT) 2001-2, Correspondent Nigerian
Television Authority (NTA) Lagos. Member Devcoms Media Network.
PRESENTATION -- Earning Good Media Coverage II
* Akinlabi Jimoh, Science Journalism Fellow (MIT), Bell Fellow (Har-
vard), and Science/Health Correspondent Guardian Newspapers:
PRESENTATIONS -- Reproductive Health Communication and the media;
Communication Strategies in Navigating the News Media; Communication
Strategies in Navigating the News Media; Writing a Press Release. ú
* Tayo Olokode, Strategic Planning, LTC Advertising Lagos; Project
Coordinator DEVCOMS/MRAC. PRESENTATION -- Utilizing Paid Advertising
and Public Service Announcements.
* Iwalola Akin-Jimoh (Mrs.), Executive Secretary, Youth Empowerment
Foundation; PRESENTATION -- Case Study: AIDS Hotline - From concept
to implementation
* There were also activities like Group Work (The Problem with the
Media/Journalists), Practical (Television Interview and presentation)
among others.

This workshop was unique in all ramifications being first of its kind
in helping NGOs to know the best method and strategy of working with
the media for development. NGOs have been facing some difficulties in
working with the media and some had really tried to confront the
problem and ensure adequate coverage of their programme but such ef-
forts were unproductive.

To justify the significance of the workshop, the responses received
from NGOs to participate in the workshop were overwhelming and very
encouraging. The announcement received feedback from within and out-
side the country for participation. The workshop organizers went
through some difficulties in compiling the final list of participants
for the workshop because of limited space for participants and some
have to be sent rejection letter promising them that they would be
invited for subsequent workshop. It is interesting to note here that
even business organization that is not health focus also applied. The
23 NGOs that finally participated in the workshop were very happy and
it really worth their while at the end of the workshop. This was dem-
onstrated in their feedback and final evaluation of the 3-day work-
shop. The Calibre of NGOs and representatives sent really proved
their thirst for the workshop. There was a representative from Zim-
babwe, while NGOs from Northern Nigeria, Middle Belt, Eastern Nigeria
and Lagos State formed the bulk of participants.

The Who is Who in the media invited for the workshop as facilitators
was very impressive. Participants outside Lagos and Nigeria requested
for replication of this workshop in their state and country respec-
tively. The participants were provided with adequate workshop materi-
als. All the papers and topics delivered were made available to the
participants. The several group works held in the course of the work-
shop made the workshop participatory and interesting. Provision was
made for photographs and video coverage for proper documentation of
the workshop. Certificates were also given to participants.

Participants overall rating of the workshop was 80%. All of them as-
serted that they would recommend the workshop to someone else and
their reasons for these were;
1. The workshop bridges loopholes in communicating with the media ;
2. They gained a lot on how to relate with the media and earning good
media coverage ;
3. It was really an eye opener to the nitty gritty of the media
4. The workshop increases knowledge, job performance and personal ca-
pacity building ;
5. It was a forum for networking and exposes participants to why and
how to get media support.

The participants also said the workshop met their expectations and
that all the sessions were necessary. They however suggested more in-
depth coverage of the following in future trainings
a. Advocacy skills
b. How photo journalists operate
c. Documentation, packaging and video recording
d. Developing IEC materials
e. Television presentation
f. Behavioural change communication.

The participants asserted that they would be ready to pay for similar
workshops and would recommend the training to other NGOs. Partici-
pants were also asked in the final evaluation form to enumerate any
other information they would want to share with MRAC [the organizer
of the workshop], the following were their responses:
a. Endeavour to have workshop like this organized for journalists
(especially on HIV/AIDS and other reproductive health issues) in
other parts of Nigeria.
b. The training workshop should be residential and stretched for
about 2 weeks.
c. Use the information and skills to organize similar training in
Southern African Region.
d. More of this workshop should be organized for NGOs to enhance
their performance.
e. Follow up is necessary and MRAC should get feedback from partici-
pants and work on it for future trainings.
f. Training of this nature should be replicated in other parts of Ni-


Akin Jimoh

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