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MCK introduces field visit media training approaches

The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) will now train journalists through field visits to experience the real application of knowledge learnt during workshops.

During the trips, journalists will be able to get story ideas, interact with sources and be guided on how to conduct interviews that will produce solution stories to influence behavior change in communities.

The Council held its first Field Visit Media Training Approach in Kakamega during a training on Climate Change and Adaptation Reporting for Journalists and Media Practitioners, with a visit to Kakamega Forest.

MCK’s Director of Media Training and Development Victor Bwire said they are keen to improve content mastery for journalists and equip them with knowledge on various aspects.

“You are also our pilot class in terms of how we are changing our training approach as an institution. So let’s see that change, that you had knowledge in class and knowledge in the field, how does this help in our continuous training,” he noted.

He said the Media Council of Kenya will also monitor how Journalists are benefiting from the Field Training approach vis a vis classroom approach.

The Assistant Director for Training and Curriculum at Media Council of Kenya Christine Nguku said the council is enhancing their training for journalists to incorporate a practical aspect in terms of building the capacity of journalists, writers and media practitioners who are doing stories for their media houses.

The Journalists were taken to Kakamega Forest for a short tour where they picked story ideas that they can do in the coming months and broaden their visualisation of different climate change story angles.

“This is a positive way that you can build your capacity as a journalist but apart from that you are learning to do investigative stories, do research, to go to an actual location and collect the information yourself to be able to ask the right questions and to find the right sources or people,” she noted.

The Field training also prepares journalists to write award winning stories, with the skills impacted and the ideas they collect from such field visit training.

“We are looking forward to reading your stories, so that we are able to see and document some of the impact that you are having in your media house, improving the quality of content in your media house and also the quality of stories that you write,” she noted.

She urged trained journalists to think about climate change and food security and how it affects the society as people in Kakamega County and Kenya as a whole and how the stories that they write can change people’s lives, change their behavior and change the media houses.

One of the Media Trainers from the University of Nairobi, Cromwel Busolo said the training model is interesting and was fit for climate change adaptation reporting. “The training could not be complete without this extension to the field because this is where we have actions,” he noted.

He said journalists will now have a thorough understanding of what climate change is, its manifestations, its characteristics and how Kenyans can take actions to respond to the adverse impacts of climate change.

“As we learnt, we looked at mitigation as the first measure. We want to stop this rising greenhouse concentration in the atmosphere and do something to harvest the already existing carbon in the atmosphere and store it in forms which may make that gas unavailable in the atmosphere,” he added.

He said Kakamega Forest presents a unique and peculiar Laboratory to demonstrate that, since it is a conserved forest and not a plantation.

“A forest is a collection of vegetation including trees that are stratified at various levels of the height and with undergrowth comprising various tree or plant species, demonstrating richness of biological diversity from a plant perspective,” he pointed out.

Busolo also said it is clear that journalists had a clear visualisation of conducive habitation for fauna for the animal component within the Kakamega Forest Conservancy as well as the beneficial microorganisms in the soil.

“What this forest is doing and that is why we are strengthening mitigation through a trip, is that it serves as a link between the earth surface and the atmosphere. It is the only way that we can have moisture from the surface getting up into the atmosphere through evaporation from the soil as well as transpiration through the trees,” he explained.

The Forest also presents an environment of rich energy from the sun with high productivity of trees in terms of photosynthesis. “What photosynthesis does is to harvest atmospheric carbon dioxide and store it in plant materials,” he added.

The conserved nature of the forest allows other plant species which are of other value like medicinal plants to thrive. In climate change, conditions are going to be increasingly getting better for some pathogenic organisms to thrive, meaning diseases are going to be in the communities.

“This conservancy is going to provide some therapy for Malaria, therapy for respiratory tract infections which are projected to continue increasing under climate change. So even with the change, we are able to live with it from a health perspective which is adaptation. We are not going to wait for solutions to come from Europe, we have solutions here,” he added.

He also noted that Journalists are change agents as digital journalists, digital content creators and as informers. “Therefore we need to see you more proactive in this climate change arena. The climate change discourse has all the world on board so it is easy to navigate around it,” he pointed out.

By Moses Wekesa

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