Zimbabwe's journalists need reorientation through refresher courses, workshops and exchange programmes in an effort to rebuild the media, judges at a recent edition of the National Journalistic and Media Awards (NJAMA) said, writes Jennifer Dube in The Zimbabwe Standard.


Comprising media academics and practitioners, the team of seven judges said the quality of a number of stories submitted for the competition was quite disturbing.

"We are fully aware that journalists can no longer survive on their salaries," the judges said in a report. "Unfortunately, this has forced most journalists to contribute their best stories to online publications as a way of raising extra income for survival. . . The situation has resulted in a marked decline in concentration, interest and enthusiasm by the journalists, thus compromising on the quality of stories the media in Zimbabwe is receiving."

They said among others, newsrooms tended to concentrate on political developments towards the build up to the historic 2008 elections, resulting in very little or poor coverage in other equally important areas.

They said the recommendation to revamp the media was in line with the theme of NJAMA 2008 — National Healing and Supporting Democracy in Zimbabwe The Role The Media Can Play.

The judges said they were concerned about the relatively low number of entries, particularly from the electronic media and community newspapers, resulting in a high number of categories without winners.

In the 31 electronic media categories, judges said they received about 20 entries and managed to find 14 winners, leaving 17 categories without takers.

"The situation was even more worrisome at the ZBC, the sole broadcaster (and) we understand this was due to a variety of challenges," they said. "Judges are aware that some bulletins are not recorded for archival purposes due to a shortage of resources such as tapes and machines."

Click here to read the full report, posted on allafrica.com.