UWI Open Campus To Host UNESCO Sponsored Social Media Workshop For Media Workers

The University of the West Indies Open Campus on St. Kitts will be hosting a three day workshop entitled Training Media Workers in the Effective and Proper Use of Social Media. The workshop will be held on May 14 to 16, 2019 at the Ocean Terrance Inn in Fortlands starting at 9am to 4pm each day. Ms. Cicely Jacobs, Programme Coordinator at the UWI Open Campus in Basseterre said that the purpose of the workshop is to introduce media workers in St. Kitts and Nevis to the effective and proper use of social media and the platforms that exist. “Social media is pervasive, it’s not just news anymore. It is everything,” Jacobs said.

She disclosed that the workshop will be facilitated by two very experienced Caribbean media professionals—Wesley Gibbings from Trinidad and Tobago who is the founding President of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers and Anika Kentish from Antigua and Barbuda. “Mr. Gibbings is in the media profession for the past 25 years and is very well trained in communications and is a trained facilitator. Ms. Kentish is a little younger but with a great amount of experience having worked in media both print and electronic media,” Jacobs said.

Local media professionals have been invited to participate in this workshop and Ms. Jacobs noted that especially young media workers are expected to be in attendance. “First of all we thought (about inviting just) journalists but they are more than journalists now, we have media workers. We are looking particularly at the young ones and we sent out invitations to the media outfits and we are waiting to hear back from them. We will soon be calling them to confirm that they will be sending at least one person. We hope to cater to about 50 persons all together. And at the end of the three days they will be issued a certificate providing that they have attended all three days for the full duration of the day. That certificate of participation will indicate their exposure to new techniques in the effective and proper use of (social media),” Ms. Jacobs explained.

The workshop is being carried out by the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean with the financial assistance of the International Programme for the Development of Communication. It is being facilitated in close collaboration with the St. Kitts Nevis National Commission of UNESCO. Head of the UNESCO Office in St. Kitts and Nevis, Mr. Antonio Maynard disclosed that UNESCO developed a protocol for the proper use of social media, which will be used as the main document for the training. Mr. Maynard stressed that news organizations, based in St. Kitts and Nevis like others must adopt a “mobile-first” model or risk becoming irrelevant. He said they must continuously adapt experiment and anticipate what’s coming next to be able to produce impactful broadcasting. To strengthen his point, he noted that during the passage of Hurricane Irma a radio broadcaster was forced to take the initiative in utilizing the mobile phone to continue broadcasting reports of the hurricane after the broadcasting station was struck by the storm and was unable to operate as normal.

The UNESCO rep pointed out that mass media in St. Kitts and Nevis and even within the entire OECS have become widely pluralistic, as media houses are no longer run solely by the governments in the region. As such there is a need to develop media professionals who will be able to operate efficiently and effectively to get the news to the public both regionally and internationally via broadcasting and/or electronic media.

This workshop is within the framework of UNESCO’s Programme and Budget for 2018-2019, especially the Communication and Information Programme “Promoting Freedom of Expression online and offline, promoting all aspects of the safety of journalists, advancing diversity and participation in media, and supporting independent media.”

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