Friday, March 19, 2010

Gambia College Press Club Trains Members With YJAG Support

NEWS BANJUL THE GAMBIA(MB)-The Gambia College Press Club (GCPC) with support from the Young Journalists Association of the Gambia (YJAG) held a day’s training session on basic journalism for GCPC members on Friday 12 March 2010 at the Brikama campus.
The GCPC contacted YJAG to assist in what the club president called the need “to recruit students in the press and build their capacity through training”, in order to better enhance their day-to-day work as the college press corp.
According to GCPC president Ebrima Bah, the press club was formed by students from the four schools of the Gambia College to complement the efforts of the College Students Union and the administration. Press club members write articles and opinion pieces relating to student’s culture and academic progress and publishing these on the college notice board and annual magazine.
“We want to upgrade our members to a standard that will facilitate the publication of a regular monthly magazine or weekly newsletter to be circulated within the college and other educational institutions in the country”, he said.
Mr. Bah, who is also a freelance journalist, told the participants that the training session was open to all students, including none members of the press club, as it was designed to help them to know what is news or how news occurs with respect to the events and incidents that are taking place within their environment on a daily basis.
He also said that the students could practice journalism even if they are in other professions such as teaching, nursing, public health work and agriculture.
The forum was formally declared opened by Lamin Jarju, an English language lecturer and the resident tutor of the Gambia College. Mr. Jarju described the gathering as important, noting that “anyone who ventures to provide vital information to the public, that is confined within the limits of the laws, is doing a vital job for the people”.
He advised the practicing members of the college press club not to get involved in anything that could lead to any form of chaos or create misunderstanding among the people they are serving. “You should be able to live and let live”; “your freedom must not infringe my freedom”, he advised.
Mr. Jarju who admitted that he does always criticize journalists use of language in the newspapers, but also noted the special work of the media which is different from other professions. In recognition of the vital role played by the media, the English lecturer said society should be able to live with the journalists, because without “the media the world will be in a deadlock”.
Assan Sallah president of YJAG led the delegation of resource persons sent by the association to the college. In his presentation, Mr. Sallah said despite the dangerous and life threatening ordeals narrated by people in the media, “this should not discourage you”, so long as journalism remains a noble profession. If it comes to risks, he said, no one can escape risks. Journalists, he said, are guided by codes of ethics in addition to the laws of the land.
YJAG is committed to breaking down the negative portrayal of the media, and is for fostering unity and mutual understanding among young journalists.
His presentation was on “Introduction to Journalism and Ethics”.

Mr. Sallah, who is an editor with the Daily Observer newspaper, spoke of facilitating the recruitment of young people into the media, and of complementing the efforts of the Gambia Press Union in promoting press freedom in the country. He called on GCPC members to join his association as individual members, just as the college press club is already an affiliated member.
Another speaker at the forum, Mamadou Edrisa Njie, a senior staff reporter at the Gambia News and Report Weekly Newsmagazine made a presentation on Writing Skills and Interview Techniques. He presented “the inverted pyramid” technique in news writing, and on booking and conducting a successful interview, which he said members of the college press club should be able to use immediately in their daily work. Mr. Njie is an executive member of YJAG.
Aminata Sanneh the first vice president of YJAG also made a presentation on the techniques news writing.

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