STUDENTS RADIO AND TELEVISION STATION (SRTS) AT THE MEDIA CHALLENGE ACADEMY
The Students Radio & TV Station (SRTS) is an incubator ground for grooming young journalists and story tellers by equipping them with market skills. SRTS is a new project under the Media Challenge Academy. The Media Challenge Academy/HUB is a media space created with an aim of providing students a platform to get hands on practice through training, mentorship and experiential peer to peer learning. The academy is an accelerator platform that provides value addition supporting the work of universities by enhancing practical learning for media students through hands-on experiential and contextual sessions to supplement their class theories in order to fit the market.
The Academy provides a practical wholesome experience targeting the mind, body and soul aiming at producing an all-round market fitting journalist. Our vision for the HUB is a space that can be used for training, presentation, brainstorming, production and peer to peer skill and experience sharing in a community of media creativity. In this space, students will not only access practical training but will also develop a bond to foster a greater sense of professional and community pride geared to building the next generation of journalists.
We want to acquire a community radio and TV station which will be student driven and student run. With a radio and TV studio on air we will be able to train, offer internship, employ students as they start but at the same time prepare them for the job market.
This will be the first licensed student-run-digital broadcasting television in the country. Students can learn camerawork, directing, producing, writing and so much more. The station will have advisors who will work as station mentors to lead on station programming (facilitated by students), business marketing, content development, projects and how to support other small university training studios.
HOW THE STUDENT RADIO AND TV STATION WORKS?
The Students Radio and TV station will work as an incubation space providing budding journalists and story tellers the same experience the they would need to break in the industry. Student stations in the UK and US are a breeding ground for mentoring young journalists. Most of the famous journalists on CNN and BBC trace their success back to their school stations, a concept that does not exist in Uganda or East Africa. Our idea is the missing link for students to get toehold into the world of work. The station will function like a normal commercial radio/tv station but will provide priority to student talent development from all universities interested in pursuing media as a profession even if such students do not study journalism. This will attract talent at all levels from production, writing, presenting to general management. It will also help to nurture writers for TV through an incubator writing program. This is how the radio and tv station will work;
- Learning and working: Students will have a chance to be engaged in a process of learning by doing where they will work on real content that will go on air.
- Internship for students: We shall offer internship and apprenticeship opportunities to students in a fast paced professional environment
- Employment opportunities for students: The station will also act as a first step for talented individuals by employing them before they join the mainstream job market
- Talent Development: The station will identify and develop the students by giving them a chance to fail as they horn their skills before joining the industry where they can’t make a mistake. We will in turn become a recruitment firm for media houses who need talented individuals.
Currently the Media Academy has;
- Workshop room for up to 20 people
- Radio Studio and Recording studio
- Photography Studio
- TV Presentation and Production studio set
- Administrative Units for the project managers
- High Speed Internet
- Shelving and Lockable Storage for valuable equipment
Our workshops include in their chronological order
- Goal setting for journalists
- Skill assessment exercises
- Radio presentation and production
- TV presentation and production
- Beat reporting: Identifying your niche/beat
- Photography for journalists
- Social media for journalists
- Media entrepreneurship and innovation
- Introducing Solutions journalism
- Career guidance for journalists
According to a 2014 World Bank study, 70% of over 40,000 fresh graduates in Uganda are unable to secure a job because they are unemployable. Another 2014 survey by the Inter-University Council for East Africa states that 63% of youth in Uganda lack employable skills. Most media organizations we have worked with since 2012 have reported that they struggle to find students with relevant and required market skills. There is a huge disconnect between the degree achieved and the market skills due to a rigid theoretical education system that does not respond to the needs of the 21st century market. The students we work with attribute this skill disconnect to limited contextual and practical training.
The government of Uganda working with other development partners has introduced various schemes targeting to alleviate poverty among the youth but such programs have recorded limited success due to a number of factors like corruption, failure of recipients to pay back the loans and most importantly limited inclusion of youth in designing the schemes.
Besides the structural obstacles, unemployment continues to be a huge challenge because youth lack access and information about the limited existing opportunities, mentorship and strategic market linkages between youth and employers in the market.
In a scenario where the education curriculum is not about to change, there is need for independent institutions to bridge the gap between the university and the market by skilling the students before they hit the market, creating diverse market linkages, and offering mentorship programs. That is how our idea of a fully-fledged academy with Students Radio and TV station comes in as a game changer to reduce the skills gap
APPROACH TO CHANGE
We are addressing the unemployability challenge by using the 4D theory of change model. We study the market needs or required skills and design a model curriculum for training to empower the students for their first job experience in the market. Students Radio and TV Station is a new pillar our model to help train students a similar environment to where they dream to work.
- Discover the required market skills through research (We study and appreciate the current situation)
- Define and demystify market needs and opportunities available in the market (we imagine and visualize what the ideal situation and how we can create a world we want to see)
- Design and develop a practical model curriculum based on research to address the market needs through equipping trainees with required skills.
- Demonstrate action by engaging students in practical through simulating a real industry experience for the learners based in the needs of the market
The legendary 9Ps act as principles to guide and strengthen our training at the academy.
Proactive Action learning: We promote proactive action learning through offering practical trainings/workshops deliberated out of classroom environments targeting to empower learners with the demanded market skills. Our media workshops are tailor made to the needs of the market and to produce an all-round journalist ready to hit the market.
Positive Mentorship: We believe that for students to understand and excel in the industry, they will need career mentors who have experience and expertise in the market. Our media mentorship program will connect media students to mentors for professional career guidance. We plan to create a structured pairing model where students are able to access media mentors from our database.
Peer to peer learning: Study reveals youth learn best when they interact with their fellow peers. We have been there and we know what we should have done better to make it. We made mistakes and we provide students a chance to learn from our mistakes and not theirs. At the Academy, trainees have a chance to fail and learn from it before they join the job market.
Practice makes perfect and permanent: We believe repetitive action builds confidence and experience of the learner. Using our TV and Radio studio, we provide students with facility to build experience and confidence in studio settings.
Position and placement: We get the learner out of the classroom and give them a typical work placement experience and a role to play or position. We then connect young people to job and internship placements with media companies.
Partnerships: We have worked with media students for the last 4 years as partners. We are creating strategic partnerships with other stakeholders to ensure successful market linkages between youth and formal employers.
Profile Students: We work with students on projects covering feature stories from their communities. We then profile their work on the website and you-tube and we share their work with potential employees. The video below shows the work students have done that they can use as demo while applying for any jobs.
Pure fun: We make learning fun and adventurous. Using participatory action learning, we engage trainees in a fun learning environment where they learn by doing.
- Operationalize and acquire license for a community TV and Radio station to ensure students/graduates get hands on training in a professional environment
- Establish a state of the art ICT Media lab that will become a home for training and preparing youth for job market
- Empower youth with storytelling skills, life skills and journalistic skills turning them into a wholesome product ready to operate in the market
- Establish strategic linkages between students and formal employees to ensure that students are connected for their first experience in the job market
- Improved internship placement opportunities and experience both in quality and quantity for students through ensuring that media companies have internship policies to guide the student experience.
- Create a mentorship program to pair a student (mentee) with a media mentor to establish a structured relationship between the two to enable student penetrate the industry.
We plan to establish Student Radio and TV Station operated and run by students to help prepare them for the job market. The stations will give an opportunity to students to have hands on training in a real professional setting.
Geographical expansion of the academy to cover various regions of the country beyond the capital city where we are based now to ensure rural have access to mentorship and practical training.
We plan to spread the Inter-institutional Media Challenge to other countries in East Africa to expand the network of young people beyond one country
Our idea adopts a hybrid business model where we have a commercial company that acts as fundraising engine for the project that does not make any profits. The business arm of the academy takes on contracts related to the media like event coverage (weddings or conferences), shoot documentaries, rent out equipment and studio space for voicing, shooting ads. These help generate income for the organization even if there is limited funding
The radio and Tv station will run on a business model selling airtime or advert space to clients. The income will be used to run the daily operations of the station.
We are creating strategic partnerships with government, universities and media houses to own the project and support its operations. Currently we work with Ministry of ICT and National Guidance on the Inter-institutional Media Challenge project. We work with NTV Uganda providing support to the media challenge project as well as mentors for the students.
Our vision is to become a talent development centre that feeds the media industry in Uganda with young and fresh talent. We will identify talented and passionate young people whom we shall train and then help them find employment in the industry. In the process we shall become an indirect recruitment firm for the industry and as we talk right now we are being contacted by companies to recommend anchors and reporters
In order to create ownership among students and universities, we plan to create Media Challenge Clubs in universities. These clubs will help engage students actively in the different responsibilities of the Media Challenge Initiative but also help identify student leaders who can help mobilize others.
We also do employ and deploy students in some of the events or documentaries that cover where they get both the skills and the money. This helps the students to earn money as they study or work on projects.
The organization shall also engage in content development for media houses by producing shows and feature stories. Content will help the initiative to generate income for sustainability.
We diversify our programs to ensure that trainees get a wholesome experience from our other supplementary programming beyond the trainings to prepare them for the job market.
MEDIA MENTORSHIP PROGRAM
This is a year-long mentorship program pairing journalism students with professionals in the media industry based on areas of interest to offer students a breakthrough into the industry as well as develop their career network in Uganda. MMP provides a structured setting to develop beneficial one-on-one relationships between media students and media professionals. From the immense experiences of media professionals, we believe that students will find a friend and a guide to introduce them to the real media world in Uganda. Students face challenges of finding proper mentoring networks into the job market and we solve this by providing a launch pad for the next generation journalists and by formalizing their relationship with media professionals and role models.
CAREER GUIDANCE PROGRAM
We understand the role of career guidance in preparing students for life after the university. In this process we expose our trainees to career guidance professionals in the industry who help them understand the secret of breaking into the industry. We then expose the to soft skills like CV writing, excelling in interviews by conducting mock interviews, salary negotiation, managing work politics and rights. We then help them learn how to pitch their ideas to editors, newspapers of potential sponsors.
THE INTER-INSTITUTIONAL MEDIA CHALLENGE (IMC)
IMC is an annual media challenge for Universities/Institutes offering Journalism and Mass Communication as a major course in Uganda. The premise of IMC is to create a platform for aspiring journalists to exhibit their skills and talents but above all to expose their talents to media houses for possible employment opportunities. IMC is hinged on three categories; News anchoring and reporting, essay writing and photography competitions. Based on the concept of replicating a live-TV studio situation, the Media Challenge pits journalism students against each other to produce a news bulletin, which is presented to judges from
THE MEDIA CHALLENGE AWARDS
The Media Challenge Awards are a means of honoring and celebrating individuals and organizations doing exceptional work in the media industry in Uganda. The awards ceremony brings together media students and media practitioners in a night of networking and interaction. The Media Challenge Awards are only open to students studying journalism and on the same night the best students out of the media challenge contest will receive their awards of excellence. The awards run on a theme “mentoring the next generation of journalists”. This is one of the many ways our students get a chance to meet and network with their role models.
WOMEN IN THE MEDIA (WIM)
In a highly male dominated media industry, young girls struggle to find footing in the industry as well as suffering exploitation and harassment. This is due to lack of accessible female mentors who can help young girls navigate the media industry. Through female targeted events, we shall organize WIM conferences to bring female media mentors closer to young females passionate about the media. Through a documentary Millennial Feminists, we shall profile young female media mentors that can be easily accessible to female students.
IMPROVING MEDIA INTERNSHIP PROGRAMS IN MEDIA HOUSES
Internships play a vital role in preparing youth for their first job experience in the market, however most internship programs in the different organisations and companies leave a lot of be desired. Most students confess that they do not get any work experience from their internship as they are not given assignments that develop the required skills. This project targets to mobilise media houses to improve the student’s internship experience by designing empowering programs assignments and providing mentorship opportunities. This will be done through conducting a survey amongst students to identify ways of improving their internship experience and sharing the results with the companies; organizing internship conference and encouraging media houses to develop internship policy to prepare students for the field but also protect them from exploitation. In addition this project will ensure that students get proper induction and training, content of work, ability to work on different projects, interaction with senior management, mentorship, and feedback on performance, social life, and quality of supervision.
The project targets young graduate students who are making their first step into the world of work through trainings, mentorship and connecting the students to potential employees. Our primary target are all students pursuing journalism from any year because we believe that preparation for job market starts the moment one joins university. Even non journalism students who want to benefit from our journalism foundation through confidence building.
We also target young men and women from secondary schools who are passionate about public speaking, presenting and building their confidence before they join universities. Targeting adolescents in their vacation out of secondary school helps to occupy them with constructive activities hence empowering them with life skills which reduce their chances of engaging in risky behaviors.
Women in the Media project prepares young girls with life skills to penetrate and work in the media industry in Uganda. The media industry is a dominated by men who take a large share of job opportunities to the disadvantage of women/girls. We are deliberate and intentional on recruiting female mentors who are good role models to the girls. With this funding we plan to organize Women in the Media Conferences to empower more girls into the industry.
Vulnerable youth: Through the media fellowship program we shall provide scholarship to students who are passionate about pursuing a media career, public speaking and leadership to prepare them for the industry after school.
Media Industry: By equipping students with practical skills required by the industry, we are increasing the employability be making sure the students are ready and prepared to work.