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U.S. Embassy sponsors multimedia training for UCU journalism students

By Yasiri J. Kasango
Thirty Uganda Christian University (UCU) students in the School of Journalism, Media and Communication have multi-media skills compliments of training sponsored by the United States Embassy in Uganda.  The students were trained for two weeks in February 2022.

Ultimate Multimedia Consult, a journalism and communications organization based in Kampala, conducted the training.

For the first week of the training, the students were taught how to write stories and to incorporate video, audio, photos, text and animation. The second week of the training was reserved for practical exercises, where the students were sent to the field to gather information and generate multimedia stories.

John Semakula, head of undergraduate studies at the UCU School of Journalism, Media and Communication, hands award to Elsie Tukahirwa after the training.
John Semakula, head of undergraduate studies at the UCU School of Journalism, Media and Communication, hands award to Elsie Tukahirwa after the training.

Before applying the skills outside the training room, the students pitched their ideas before a panel comprised of embassy officials, trainers from Ultimate Multimedia Consult and UCU lecturers.

The training comes at a time when the university is focusing its energies on producing all-round multimedia journalism graduates who are able to meet the realities in the current journalism job market.

Stories of Asenath Were, a second-year student, and Steven Kolawole, who is in third year, were considered the best.

“I’m grateful for everything I learnt in the training, and most especially the gadgets I got,” Kolawwole said.

Writers of the best four stories having multimedia components were awarded cash and technology with a directive to use their new equipment to produce products for UCU – namely for the Standard and UCU Partners. The first two – Were and Kolawwole – were given a smartphone, a tripod stand, and sh100,000 (about $28). The third and fourth-best stories were of Elsie Tukahire Kukunda and Irene Best Nyapendi. Kukunda and Nyapendi were awarded sh400,000 (about $113) each.

Asenath Were praised the US Embassy and Ultimate Multimedia Consult.

“I can’t believe that I was able to perform well since my story pitch looked shaky,” she said. “I am speechless.”

Prof. Monica Chibita, Dean of the School of Journalism, Media and Communication, gives award to Aseneth Were, the best female student in multimedia story composition.
Prof. Monica Chibita, Dean of the School of Journalism, Media and Communication, gives an award to Asenath Were, the best female student in multimedia story composition.

To further instill the need for students to acquire modern, real-world skills, in 2021, Uganda Partners, under a mentoring collaborative with students from the UCU School of Journalism, Media and Communication, embarked on a podcasting mentoring project, where students apply classroom learning to script podcast material, conduct interviews and edit audio. The podcast initiative is part of the UCU/Uganda Partners e-lab model initiated in January 2021 and is aligned with the university’s mission to prepare students for both continued learning and the world of work.

U.S. Kampala embassy spokesperson Anthony Kujawa and his deputy, Dorothy Nanyonga, commended Ultimate Multimedia Consult and UCU for spearheading the training of students.

“Multimedia is the future of communication in the world today,” Kujawa said, encouraging students to embrace the model to tell their stories.

At the closing ceremony, the Dean of the School of Journalism, Media and Communication, Prof. Monica Chibita, commended the U.S. Embassy for choosing to partner with UCU in many aspects, including the Save the Mothers’ project and the Fulbright scholarships.

Chibita also thanked Ultimate Multimedia Consults for training UCU staff during the Covid-19 lockdown and encouraged students to keep in mind journalism ethics while telling stories using the multimedia platforms.

Ultimate Multimedia Consult team leader Gerald Businge thanked UCU, and particularly the School of Journalism, Media and Communication, for the opportunity given to him to train students.

Prof.  Elizabeth Balyejusa Kizito, the Director for Research Partnerships and Innovations at UCU, urged the trainees to put into practice the skills that they had acquired.