Technology has made it possible for people from different geographical locations across the globe to interact with each other on a single platform to share ideas, information and educative training as though they were sitting together in a traditional classroom. This is the initiative that ICM came up with when they engaged two resource personnel from the University of Bournemouth UK, namely Dr Philip Wilkinson and Dr Dan Hogan to deliver a lecture on Digital Journalism. This lecture took place on Friday the 22nd October, 2021 at 1:45pm UK time via zoom to some Centres and their students in Ghana.
Four Centres in Ghana attended the lecture, including, Central Pre-University and Professional studies, Doxa Open University, Royal Media College and Archer’s Media Institute all in Accra, Ghana. In all approximately 30 students with 4 Centre coordinators took part in the lecture. Doxa Open University presented 20 students; Central Pre-University presented 6; Archer’s media 2 students and Royal media 2 students.
Mr Hogan, an experienced journalist and a lecturer in the field began by taking the students through the history of journalism from a million years ago where primitive tools have been used to create and gather information, carried them and shared to the understanding of people to the present day digital technology. Mr Hogan elaborated on the various stages and age of technological development handed down from generation to generation since the world was created, from the development of a primitive portable handy tool to the age of portable mobile phone. Mr Hogan talked about the evolution of journalism and the various technological tools that have transformed the face of journalism in recent years. The internet and the digital channels as well as social media channels have aided tremendously in the development of journalism across the globe.
Dr Wilkinson took over from Mr Hogan and lectured on content writing. Dr Wilkinson talked about what people put on the internet, digital channels as well as social media platform and the effects that it has on the target audience. Dr Wilkinson stated that creating original and effective content for various medium must ensure that the information is objective, accurate, fair and transparent. Good contents in a website are the paths to gain more traffic and that content writing is one of the most effective and easiest methods to keep the website informative and updated; improves website ranking and attracts search engines. Dr Wilkinson concluded by saying that, before students start to write content for their website, they must know their target audience; keep their content simple; use images with appropriate colours to attract attention; use short sentences; use active voice; their message must be clear to the audience; and request feedback from the readers.
Students were given a chance to ask question on the topic delivered by Mr Hogan and Dr Wilkinson, important questions were raised and were answered in turns by both Mr Hogan and Dr Wilkinson. Frederica from Doxa Open University asked a question on whether digital technology has done more harm than good to our society. The question she asked was based on the fact that, in traditional print methods you could easily identify the media house that printed defamatory information or otherwise to the general public but with he digital platform, it is not easy to sometime identify those who put such information on the internet.
Ben from Archer’s media asked similar question on the anonymity of those who leave insulting and unwelcome feedback and comments on contents without leaving traces of who they are.
Aziz from Doxa Open University also asked a question on the understanding of the psychology of the target audience. He believes that studying the psychology of the target audience determines the structure and composition of the content you put on the website.
All their questions were addressed by Mr Hogan and Dr Wilkinson and Mr Hogan went ahead to obtain Frederica and Aziz emails to further send them detail response of their questions since the time for the lecture was due.
Feedback on Technology
The Zoom meeting link and all login information was used by the four Centres to login and they successfully participated in the lecture from the beginning to the end. When I contacted them on the quality of the sound of the technology used, the Centres and students said it was clear enough to hear with attentive ears. Some students said they struggled a little to follow the lecture not because of the quality of sound but sometimes the accents of the lecturers. However this is not a major problem for most of the students.
Doxa Open University connected the Zoom to bigger screen in a classroom where their students were seated and participated in the lecture while other Centre sent the link to the students to login individually. The other Centres appreciated the show of technology by Doxa Open University and admitted that they were not ahead of their game so going forward if there is such an exercise, they will set up better for their students.
General feedback of the Lecture on digital journalism
Both Mr Hogan and Dr Wilkinson demonstrated their experience as excellent lecturers, journalists and subject experts in the field of digital journalism. Mr Hogan showed his passion for journalism through his energetic and insightful introduction to the lecture explaining the evolution of journalism from the Stone Age to present day. Dr Wilkinson expressed his passion for journalism and extensive knowledge on content writing in a clear and relaxed manner. Both Mr Hogan and Dr Wilkinson created an environment where students felt comfortable to ask interesting and important questions. The lecture was enjoyed by all parties who attended; both the Centre Coordinators and Learners are appreciative of this initiative by ICM and Bournemouth University and left feeling inspired by the content and the detail of information presented by Mr Hogan and Dr Wilkinson.
Feedback from Mr Hogan and Dr Wilkinson
“Both Phil and I were impressed by the excellence of the questions of the students and staff. These showed an accute awareness for the challenges facing journalists in the digital age. The questions were also wide-ranging, covering technology, psychology, and ethics.” Mr Hogan