WC and Africa: telling it like it is

2010-06-24 00:00

AN organisation based in Pietermaritzburg that aims to enable African media professionals to reach international markets, Africa Media Online, has taken on 128 journalists from 34 African countries to cover the impact that the 2010 Fifa World Cup is having on African life.

The “Twenty Ten” project is funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery and is a partnership between World Press Photo, FreeVoice, Africa Media Online and lokaalmondiaal, a Dutch television network.

The initiative began in May last year when over 500 online applications from working journalists around the continent were received by the organisation’s international panel, who selected the best 128 to begin work on the project.

The selected journalists, whom the project refers to as the “All Stars”, attended training workshops in Ghana, Zambia, Nigeria, Egypt, Burkina Faso and South Africa in the months leading up to the World Cup. The group is made up of radio, text, photo and multimedia journalists who are all currently producing World Cup-related material and having it distributed by Africa Media Online to around 30 international resellers.

The best 18 journalists were determined as the “Dream Team” after the completion of the training exercises and they were all given the opportunity to cover the World Cup from SA. They are based mainly in Johannesburg, but have travelled all over the country to cover the event and the social and economic impact it is having on the country and the continent.

The other 110 journalists are based in their own countries and are being commissioned to provide coverage of what effect the tournament is having in their countries.

The managing director of Africa Media Online, David Larsen, says the project has provided a great opportunity for Africa to present itself to the rest of the world. “The 2010 World Cup is a time when the eyes of the whole world are on South Africa and Africa,” he said.

“The project as a whole empowers Africans to tell Africa’s story, instead of relying on international media representatives to do it.

“This has done a lot for the confidence of the journalists as they are producing material that is being internationally recognised and they are honing their skills and taking them to a level that will benefit their careers,”

Once the World Cup is over, African Media Online will be running its African photo entrepreneur programme, which begins in November.

This will provide another opportunity for many media workers who have excelled at the “Twenty Ten” project and encourage the emergence of new African journalistic talent.

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