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and training for mass communication
Extracted from: Osisa - Openspace - The Media: expression and freedom
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Judging by the amount
of activity that we dedicate to media training, Southern Africa
exemplifies a strong belief in the mantra "no train, no gain".
But it's not quite clear if the reality actually matches the theory
of this slogan - whether all this training is delivering the expected
benefits. The problem is that it is a very tricky task to track
just what difference, if any, training makes to improving the media
in the region. And even more, what difference - if any - this in
turn makes to politics, economics and social life in Southern Africa.
Yet, considering the
many resources invested in training as an input to the media, it
would be nice to have some sense of results on the output side.
There's a sneaking suspicion that much energy is going to waste.
This is especially in regard to higher education institutions where
the gap between graduates and the goings-on in the media is such
that the value of tertiary training can come with no guarantees.
For instance, it is not
even clear that many graduates either want to, or will, get jobs
in the media - and if they do, whether conditions are conducive
to them implementing what they have learnt. We assume, and hope,
that there will be a link, and most of us understandably act as
if this were so. But romantic beliefs that training automatically
results in "gain" no longer wash with many of the stakeholders
in the business.
It is indeed complex
to try to establish the connections between training and media trajectory
- and not just in Southern Africa. However, if we want to raise
the "productivity" of teaching and learning efforts, we
do need some notion, beyond anecdote and "feel" of "what's
working" and "what's not". How else can improvements
be made - and measured? In turn, this quest requires a degree of
empirical knowledge of the relationship between people as products
of training, and the performance of the media. The point is that
training is not just about trainer-trainees, but a third party as
well: the media industry. Employers can make or break the impact
and relevance of training.
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