The five-day workshop – held in partnership with the Friedrich – Ebert- Stiftung (FES) in Windhoek– focused on union strategies for improving communication and recruitment in the digital economy.
18 young journalists and union leaders from The Gambia, Ghana, Botswana, Republic of South Africa, Angola, Uganda and Kenya pledged to strengthen their commitment to winning more young members to the unions, particularly among those working in digital media.
Central to the workshop was developing skills on improving union communication strategies to help unions deliver positive messages about the benefits of unions to younger journalists.
IFJ Deputy General Secretary, Jeremy Dear who opened the meeting urged unions to seize the opportunities to help shape the newsrooms of the future.
He said that the media industry is going through a “revolutionary technological change” which is having an impact on jobs, working conditions, quality, professional ethics and truth, patterns of media ownership and on every aspect of the production and distribution chain of news.
He emphasised that while this technological change has caused a massive loss of journalists’ jobs, most especially in traditional media, the number of journalists working on digital media has soared. But he warned that many of the jobs were precarious, with no contracts, few benefits and are often poorly paid. He said: “If we want to remain relevant we need not to resist the future but to shape it and help young workers come together to improve their working conditions”.
The lead trainer at the workshop, Dr Ibrahima Sane, noted that "the process of change in society is through communication" and hence, all unions and organisations need a strategic communication plan to reach out their audiences. Dr Sane, who was assisted by Lelanie Basson, took the participants through a series of theoretical and practical sessions focusing on communication for behavioural change, steps in developing a communication strategy, implementing the communication plan, tips on social marketing, message development, research, documentation, monitoring and evaluation of the communications plan.