A training needs assessment by the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) has identified a large need for training among the country's media practitioners, writes Dennis Itumbi.

According to a report on the MCT website, the study showed that all cadres in the media, ranging from media managers to reporters and   presenters, need  refresher, upgrading  and issue-based knowledge and skills  enhancement to perform their duties properly. The study was conducted by veteran journalist and media trainer, Gervas Moshiro, assisted by another media trainer, Jack Meena .

The two presented a draft report of their findings to the Executive Secretary of the MCT, Kajubi Mukajanga, recently.

The assessment found that 98 per cent of working journalists need training in professional  skills and in various thematic areas ranging from social, political  to economic  subjects.

While the study  showed  media managers need training on  human resource management, business management, marketing, ICT, advertising and leadership, editors and  producers require sharpening in communication  skills, editing, headline writing, electronic  programme production and editing.

For  sub-editors, the study shows , they need training in subbing, communication skills, headline writing, newspaper editing and layout and programme formats and ICT skills and senior reporters need advance training on communication , reporting , writing skills, investigative skills, news analysis, techniques for follow up stories, critical thinking, interviewing  techniques and exposure.

Refresher training  in reporting  and writing skills , techniques  of getting the story right and investigative skills, is what reporters and  presenters need, according to the study.

Other areas of concern include; presentation and interviewing skills, photo-taking, editing and caption writing.
Expressing their views and recommendations on journalism training institutions in the country, media practitioners pointed out in the study that the institutions should combine academic rigour with intensive practical work and that they should achieve a fine balance between education and training.

The services of experienced journalists should be utilized by the training institutions.

Despite acknowledging the roles  in training mentorship of  training managers in media houses , the  study also dwelt  on the need for  establishing an in-service training institute for journalists in the country.

Speaking about the draft report , MCT chief  Mukajanga, said: “We are now entering a new chapter that would probably revolutionise mid-career journalists where the beneficiaries say what they need  to be trained in,” he said.

The draft report  is now subject  for discussion by all stakeholders -  media managers, the trainers and senior journalists at  a meeting to be convened by  MCT.

According to Pili Mtambalike, MCT’s Programme Officer, the views of stakeholders on the draft report would be  accommodated  in the final report of the study.

Major media houses in country participated in the study which lasted  over a month.