Twenty journalists representing two Mano River countries recently completed a two-day intensive crisis and cross border reporting workshop in the Sierra Leone border town of Gendema.
The training, which was held under the theme “crisis and cross border reporting” was organized by the Embassy of the United States in Freetown and brought together 10 journalists from Liberia and 10 from Sierra Leone.
During the workshop, journalists examined reporting during a crisis; challenges in a cross border context, reporting and the benefits/headaches of social media cross border initiative and the role of journalists in sharing responsibility to solve regional issues.
Crisis reporting with specific emphasis on the regional Ebola outbreak which is raging in Sierra Leone and Guinea was intensely discussed. The journalists learned new skills on how to report in case of reoccurrence of the epidemic.
Ethical issues in respect of the utilitarian (practical) approach, fairness, common good in line with the International Federation of Journalists which calls for respect for the truth and the right of journalists to know the facts of the origin of a situation before reporting were also highlighted.
Reporters from six Liberian media institutions, including Daily Observer, ELBC, Power FM/TV, Inquirer, FrontPage Africa, Radio Bomi and a local station from Cape Mount attended while four media institutions including Radio Wanjei, the Sierra Leone
Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), Global Times Newspaper, New Storm Newspaper as well as several freelance journalists represented Sierra Leone.
The training was facilitated by scores of professors, including the former Sierra Leone Information Minister Dr. Julius Spencer, Mr. Stephen Douglas (a media consultant) and a representative from the Mano River Union (MRU).
Public Affairs Officer of the US Embassy in Freetown, Ms. Hollyn Green, expressed satisfaction with the journalists’ active participation in the program.