OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

Students Radio and Television Station (SRTS) at the Media Challenge Academy

The Students Radio & TV station is an incubator ground for grooming young journalists and story tellers by equipping them with market skills

Photo of Mpindi Abaas

Written by

EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

The Students Radio and TV station will work as an incubator ground for budding journalists and story tellers. 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 their 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.

The Challenge
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. SRTS is a game changer that will fill the disparity between graduate skills and what the market wants.

WHO BENEFITS?

The project targets young graduate students who are making their first step into the world of work through training, mentorship and connecting the students to potential employees. SRTS will provide internship, training, employment opportunities and act as a recruitment ground for the mainstream media companies. This will be the only space where students will learn by doing while at work as they develop the required skills by the market.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU

The Media Challenge Initiative is a youth driven non-profit building the next generation of journalists in Africa through mentorship, training and experiential peer to peer learning. We are registered under the laws of Uganda and have been working with young people since 2012 when we were students.

WHERE WILL YOUR IDEA BE IMPLEMENTED?

  • Uganda

EXPERIENCE IN IMPLEMENTATION COUNTRY(IES)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

EXPERTISE IN SECTOR

  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for over a year

HOW HAS YOUR IDEA CHANGED BECAUSE OF BENEFICIARY FEEDBACK?

Mode of Training: The concept of practical training in a real professional environment like on radio and tv is a dynamic issue that requires so much preparation. Most of the beneficiaries were threatened by the idea of being on air as part of their training which never happens in a real media training. Interns are never allowed to be on air. They helped us think through in arranging separate training studios to groom trainees before they finally go on air.
Focus on all areas of Journalism: Our focus has been broadcast (radio and TV), the beneficiaries proposed the need to look at others fields of journalism apart from broadcasting. Our idea thus will incorporate new ways to train writers and bloggers.
We also go an idea to roll out a pilot media mentorship program of pairing 30-40 students with media personalities for career guidance and connections to help them share experiences. This is manageable and easy track and monitor.
After the feedback, we realised that we will need to create partnerships with media companies so that we can sign MOUs that allow them to scout direct and prioritise trainees from our facility. This will ensure beneficiaries have trust in us.

HOW IS YOUR IDEA UNIQUE?

Our idea is unique because it is beneficiary driven. It is a student for student or a youth for youth project. It provides variety of platforms for students including;
Learning and working: at SRTS trainees can LEARN AND EARN. We will provide internship, training as well mentorship. The idea targets to create wholesome fitting market product with all the necessary market required skills.
Our idea is unique because it is need-based established from our own experiences as struggling students as well experiences of other students that we have worked with. The feedback we get from students is that there is need for a different space to empower the students with practical skills hence the media academy. We are passionate and committed to this dream. Nothing keeps us moving like the passion to see us create the change that we want to be or see. Professionally, we have a team that has experience in tv and radio production with some members with over four years working on radio and TV. We have active mentors in the industry who will support the implementation of this idea and we have buy in from the beneficiary in this case university journalism students.

WHY DO YOU THINK THAT THE PROBLEM YOUR IDEA SOLVES FOR HAS NOT BEEN SOLVED?

The numbers of young people who are unemployable increases every year as over 40,000 graduates are churned out of the universities in Uganda. The students we receive at the academy come when they are very unprepared for the job market and we are able to train and prepare them for the industry. Our media partners where we connect students for internship have also informed us that the students they receive do not have the required schools. It should also be noted that there a lot of initiaves geared towards skilling youth, however most are generic with "one-size-fits-all approach. We have discovered our niche and we are targeting to build the next generation of journalists and story tellers.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS IDEA?

One core unanswered question is acquiring the radio and tv lincense to be on air so that we are able operate as a commercial station helping us to make income for sustainability. Question that we need to navigate is what is the process involved in acquiring the license and as a student focused station we are the first of it's kind in the country, how do we fit into the bigger market alongside other stations. We have to figure ways to work with all stations as a breeding ground so that we are not viewed as a competition for advertisers or even the space in the market.

IS THIS IDEA NEW FOR YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION?

This is a new idea for our organisation. It is not entirely new because we do have a radio and TV training studios that are not at the broadcasting standards. We currently offer practical in a make-shift studio where we basically simulate a real radio and tv newsroom scenario. The idea of acquiring broadcasting equipment and community license will enable us operate a fully fledged station that provides students a chance to train as in a professional work environment that is equivalent to mainstream media stations. Right now students are demotivated by the fact that with our arrangement they don't get a chance to have their work aired live for masses to consume. We have tried posting their reports on You-Tube but it does not have the same impact as mainstream considering the limited internet accessibility for people to stream videos. SRTS will be a huge boost to our media academy enabling us to train and expose students as they practice in a professional environment.

WHO WILL IMPLEMENT THIS IDEA?

This project is going to be implemented by the Media Challenge Initiative. We have a team of 13 staff, with 6 staff working full time and the rest working part time reporting to the office 4 times a week. Above meet in this clip our team talking about their experience and how passionate about this project.

STUDENTS RADIO AND TELEVISION STATION (SRTS) AT THE MEDIA CHALLENGE ACADEMY

Through our Speaker Series program, our trainees get to profile media personalities as well share experiences with them. Our idea of Students Radio and TV Station will formalize this arrangement to a real broadcasing setting

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. 


SRTS will prepare students for field by formalising our existing facility into a state of the art broadcasting centre of excellence and mentorship

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


THE CHALLENGE

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
We have understood that the biggest cause of unemployment among the youth is lack of relevant skills and poor preparation for the job market. We recreate spaces that engage students engage them to learn as they do. In this picture we have a panel session going on where one student is interviewing the guest, while other students are on cameras and other directors of the day

LEGENDARY 9Ps

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. 

We promote action learning by simulating real work scenarios and assigning our trainees with different tasks. In this photo one of our trainees Iryn is interviews Emmanuel Epenu a news anchor and producer from Urban TV

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.

We make sure our trainees have access to local mentors that they are not able to see on everyday basis. In this photo, our trainee Marion interviews NBS's news anchor Joyce Bagala. This gives the learner confidence, a demo of her work is recorded and she makes a connection with  a mentor

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.  

We believe youth learn better when they learn from fellow youth

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.  

Experience is not the number years one has spent on earth, it can also mean how frequent one is committed to something. We realise that students confidence raises as they interact with cameras, lights and interviews

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.  

We place students in spaces where they are challenged to deliver, make mistakes, and learn from them

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.

We treat our trainees as partners and as fellow youth our commitment is to see them succeed

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.

We then profile the students on our website for visibility but also to keep a family connection amongst the people that go through the academy

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.

We celebrate each others wins and have fun because learning must be fun for trainees to enjoy it

PROJECT TARGETS

  • 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. 


GROWTH PLAN

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


SUSTAINABILITY PLAN

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.  

SUPPORTING PROGRAMS

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

This is the annual Inter-institutional Media Challenge at the Conference Centre Office of the President where we have mass viewing of all the productions done by students

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.

Our female trainees have access to female mentors from the media industry who inspire them. In this picture NBS's news anchor Doreen Komuhangi (seated 2nd from right) with our trainees after she was involved in panel session

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.

WHO BENEFITS?

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.

We target young graduates who are unemployable

 MEDIA CHALLENGE INITIATIVE WEBSITE 

 MEDIA CHALLENGE FACEBOOK 

TWITTER 

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE CHANNEL

InterNews Journalist Adam Bemma facilitating a session on story telling at the academy
Trainees in a group brainstorming session on how to identify story ideas and pitching
Joel came in with the a dream to be a radio presenter and after his one month interaction with our facilitators he had got a job on one of the local radio stations
Allen Mukiza one of the trainees at the academy gets hands on camera handling training from our TV Manager Santos Mutebi
Two of our trainees in our radio studio at the academy
Allen is very passionate about news anchoring
Immaculate is very passionate about camera work and dreams of becoming a producer
Angella going through basic camera work training




SHARE ONE SENTENCE ABOUT THE IMPACT YOU WOULD LIKE THIS PROJECT TO HAVE FIVE YEARS FROM NOW, AND ONE QUESTION YOU NEED TO ANSWER TO GET THERE.

In five years, over 4000 youth equipped with solutions based journalism and prepared with skills to make possible and successful their first step into the industry through training, mentorship, experiential peer to peer learning, with intent to create empowered and informed communities.

How can we create spaces that can prepare youth with the required 21 century market skills with an object of empowering to become designers of solutions to the challenges of their communities?

MY ORGANIZATION'S OPERATING BUDGET FOR 2015 WAS:

  • We didn't have an operating budget

MY INTENDED BENEFICIARIES ARE:

  • Within 50 km of where our team does most of its work
  • Within 100 km of where our team does most of its work

HOW LONG HAVE YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES BEEN WORKING ON THIS PILOT PROJECT TOGETHER?

  • Between 6 months and a year

WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN JOINING AMPLIFY'S PORTFOLIO OF INNOVATORS?

We believe in solutions journalism with a firm conviction that it's nolonger enough for journalists to just report about the challenges of our times. If we want to forge solutions, journalists must be stationed at the forefront of thesolutions dialogue as participants and not just reporters. We believe that Amplify is mobilising creative minds or innovators to forge solutions to the challenges of our times. We want to be part of that history not as reporters but participants providing solutions

15 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Nancy Wagi
Team

https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/youth-empowerment-challenge/impact/the-kenya-sign-language-club/comments#!c-cc875f7e66b8a9e2bffdb13a363c4b14

View all comments