May 15, 2009, 7:32 AM
The annual forum brought together members of the press club and many other interested students.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Nfamara Jawneh President of the Young Journalists Association of The Gambia (YJAG) who was the guest speaker, commended the press club for the initiative.
"It's fundamental that as soon-to-be journalists you know what it really takes to become a journalist at this stage of your schooling," he said.
In his presentation, Mr. Jawneh told the students that the most significant skill they need if they want to be successful at anything, is to have passion. "You need to be thinking, 'I want to be the best' and be prepared to take all the necessary steps to get there," he noted.
In terms of specific skills, he advised the participants that they will need to be articulated, confident and be good at working to strict deadlines.
"You're all young I believe, but if you're sure this is what you want to do then there's no reason why you can't take some groundwork steps now.
"If you want to succeed you'll definitely need to be headstrong. Always be thinking "what do I need to do to achieve my goals?
"As you're undertaking these steps, stop to analyse what you are doing. Be critical - always be thinking "how can I do this better?" he added.
Journalism, he said, is about reporting on what's happening now or will happen in future.
On responsible journalism, he emphasized that journalists need not be biased, but to write and report what they see... not exaggerating or leaving out details.
Commenting on conflict of interests, he advised that they must realize that the active involvement in politics or the affiliation with a political organization casts doubt on the reputation of the independent journalist.
"Refuse privileges, monetary remuneration, gifts that are incompatible with professional independence and lead to the loss of trust," says YJAG leader.
According to him, journalism like any other profession is guided by principles and standards that can be referred to as 'Code of Conduct'. He added that all those joining the profession must abide by and that and they should strive to adhere to it.
A journalist, he added, should at all times uphold and defend the principles of media freedom, the right of freedom of expression and the right of the public to be informed.
"Journalists must strive to ensure that information disseminated is honestly conveyed, accurate and fair and does her/his utmost to correct harmful inaccuracies," he said.
He further expressed that journalists must also strive to protect the identity of their sources who supply information in confidence and material gathered in the course their work.
"A journalist shall not accept, directly or indirectly, payments or rewards (bribe) of other persons to promote, direct, affect or to publish information or opinions of any kind," said Jawneh.
"As aspiring journalists, it's very crucial to note that truth is the life blood of a journalist and shall never be compromised at all times for the sake of your credibility," he added.
In conclusion, he gave a brief history of the Young Journalists Association of The Gambia.
According to him, YJAG was founded in September 2007 by few concerned young journalists in the country, who realized the need to form a formidable organization that would champion the cause of journalists particularly the young.
Other speakers include, Mr.Musa Sheriff, Editor the Voice newspaper who made similar remarks.