By Tinaani Nyabereka- Citizen Journalist
Gweru– Policymakers need to identify and embrace social media platforms as it helps to enable the smooth flow and easy dissemination of news in respective constituencies.
Midlands State University (MSU) senior media lecturer and Citizen Journalism Trainer, Dr Lyton Ncube said citizen journalism engagement with policymakers should be used as a tool to foster development in communities.
The training which was conducted by The Sun Newspaper under its Women in News (WIN) (SIRI) initiative was meant to equip policymakers on citizen journalism and basic media literacy.
“Citizen journalism is a form of journalism where citizens take the initiative to report news or express views about happenings in their communities. It equips citizens to tell their stories through their involvement in the process of news making and eradicating fake news through fact-checking”, said Dr Ncube
Further unpacking on the role of citizens in information dissemination, Ncube said to promote sounding development it was crucial for community leaders to create a narrative that serves their communities better and timeously.
“When disseminating news let’s be timeous because we need to tell stories as they happen. It is wise to work with the 5 Ws and H which stands for What, When, Where, Why, Who, and How as they guide us on how to structure our stories.
“So as we use these facets we need to create a narrative which suits our respective constituencies because we don’t just post anything rather we post responsibly as social media platforms leave footprints.
“Let us embrace platforms which are significant to our wards because we need to understand which platforms best serve the residents we represent. So do a survey and find out which platforms you can use or look for digital teams which can help you to run the platforms so that the flow of information is not disturbed. Also, remember to use platforms which give you a sustainable result at the end of the day, the likes of Facebook, Whatsapp, and Twitter.” added Ncube.
CJAZ Chairperson, Conerlia Selipiwe said citizen journalists were supposed to produce news that is factual and well documented.
“As Citizen Journalists, it is always important for us to produce news which is factual and well documented so that we earn credibility. Let’s not worry much about being written about by professional journalists because as leaders we are always being written on due to the nature of our office.
Given this opportunity let’s also utilize the skills and knowledge we now have to make our work visible.” he added.
Speaking on the concept of fake news, Community Newspapers of Zimbabwe Group Editor in Chief, Willie Mponda urged office bearers to be well vested with media bodies that dealt with complaints.
“When one has a complaint it is always important to know the media bodies which work with journalists for instance the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe(VMCZ) and Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA). They are always around to serve parties who feel their image has been infringed by the media.
It is easy to eradicate fake news because if one is a well-trained Citizen Journalist he/she knows how to balance facts before telling a story,” Mponda added.
Meanwhile Member of Parliament (MP) for Chiwundura Constituency, Livingstone Chimina said the use of social media for development was a key pillar in fostering good governance.
He challenged The Sun and #Women in News to organise more similar programmes for more policymakers as the Citizen Journalists initiative can foster the much-needed development. #Women In News