MONROVIA -Internews Liberia through its Liberia Media Development program is training twenty (20) Journalists from across Liberia’s fifteen Counties to report on elections stories. These 20 Fellows with support from Internews will report three election articles each along with their assigned mentors.
The project seeks to strengthen the media capacity as well as empower journalists to effectively monitor the December 2020 elections and referendum, and produce fact-based objective reports that resonate with the electorate to promote free, free and transparent elections.
It is also intended to teach specialized skills to promote conflict-sensitive reporting, enabling journalists to recognize early signs of conflict and the importance of truth-telling on conflict and improve journalists’ political and electoral literacy in a Liberian context while promoting the people, processes, parties and places (4p) concept.
Remarking at the six days specialized elections reporting training, Internews Chief of Party, Lien Bach cautioned Journalists to promote free, fair, and credible content relative to the December 8, 2020 senatorial, referendum and by-elections.
According to Bach, ‘flagship’ activity of the election reporting is a significant component of the LMD-USAID funded program.
The LMD-USAID training organized by Internews-Liberia brought together reporters from across the fifteen sub-political division of Liberia began on October 26 and it is expected to end on October 31.
Participants of the training are both broadcast and print media workers that were recruited early August by Internews through a fellowship that was applied for.
Madam Bach said the six days training will have reporter trained on how to report on elections professionally and accurately on the electoral process.
She said the training would strengthen the capacity of Liberian journalists and empower them with the necessary skills and knowledge to promote fact-based, objective, and impactful reporting on the upcoming elections.
Jefferson Massah, Internews deputy chief of party, disclosed that the LMD-USAID program will also organize 19 senatorial debates and 19 community media forums and engage with first-time voters adding that participating reporters will report on those debates as part of the requirement of the fellowship.
He said it is the goal of the fellowship to see reporters that will be assigned to various mentors produce on the elections extensively with high-quality news stories adding that, “we will also work with them to utilize new media to tell stories.”
Massah informed participants that Internews has also hired three institutions, including the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building, the Female Journalists Association, and the Publishers Association of Liberia, to manage the fellowship and serve as assigned mentors.
“At the end of the training,” Massah disclosed “the fellows will be assigned to mentors to guide them through the production of high-quality stories. Internews’ international media advisors will also do a final review of the articles before publication. Local Voices, an online news outlet, will publish all articles, as well as the fellows’ own media institutions.”
The training also provided hackathon training for journalists educating them about the usage of mobile applications for field journalistic reporting during elections.
The hackathon training also sharpen the skills of the participants about the use of digital media during the electoral processes.