By Cuthbert Mukora
Unit L- Thirty-five Chitungwiza residents were recently trained to be Citizen Journalists by Chitungwiza Community Development Network (CCDN) through the Chitownews project at a citizen reporting workshop held at Young Africa Skills Centre (YASC) in Unit L. They are expected to identify newsworthy events taking place in their communities and document them for uploading at the online www.chitownews.com website.
The workshop was aimed at increasing awareness on citizen journalism and to equip local residents with basic skills to capture and report news on their local community.
Citizen Journalism is sometimes referred to as; ‘guerilla’, ‘street’, public’, ‘participatory’ or ‘democratic’ journalism. “Citizen Journalism is where the newsreader becomes the reporter to tell it as it is”, said Mr. Gumisai Nyoni, a veteran journalist who facilitated the training workshop.
“Citizen Journalism has long existed even during the Stone Age period but have developed with time owing to globalization and technological development”, said the CCDN Programs Manager Mr. Admire Mutize yesterday.
The training has not only impacted on the professional skills development of local Chitungwiza residents but has also become the foundation for local community development. It will enable the timely reporting of socio-economic and political developmental issues in Chitungwiza. Timely reporting of cases in the community will trigger urgent action and intervention on matters that affects citizens.
Residents are now empowered to hold the service delivery system accountable for their actions and to act as watchdogs which will go a long way in reducing corruption among the local service providers.
Participants who had the excitement of becoming Citizen Journalists expressed their appreciation on the training workshop and asked CCDN for further engagement to sharpen their skills in the future. CCDN pledged to help its active citizen journalists to acquire accreditation from the Media Commission which will enable them to report developmental issues anywhere in Zimbabwe both for social impact and for personal financial benefits.
Clive Shembe, a participant said, “Apart from financial benefits, you can also benefit from other opportunities. I once benefited from stories which I had written long back. There was a time when I simply sent the link of a story I had written to a professor at an institution outside the country where I needed to enroll. He sent me an admission letter right away without an application.”
Mr. Mutize encouraged participants to continuously use the skills they have acquired so as to improve and become more experienced citizen journalists.
“You have to practice what you have learnt today. The more you use these skills the more you become more experienced and if you do not continuously use these skills you will get back to zero”, said Mr. Mutize yesterday.