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Veteran US journalist offers training to Gambian colleagues

Sep 24, 2010, 12:15 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

Veteran US journalist Judith Matloff, a professor of journalism at the Columbia University of the United States of America, Tuesday took some 20 Gambian journalists through a rigorous media training to enhance their journalistic quotient in the profession.

Participants were drawn from both the electronic and the print media to attend the one-day but loaded course at the American Corner at the Comium Building on Kairaba Avenue.

Ms Matloff, who was in The Gambia as a guest of the US Embassy, lectured on the role of journalists, professional code of conduct, accessing information, and writing good and insightful articles.

A foreign staff correspondent for 20 years, specialising in reporting conflicts and situations of turmoil, Ms Matloff told local journalists that the ethics and professional code of conduct in journalism are veritable tools for journalists, both national and internally, to abide by.

"These help a lot in the field of journalism as they guide a reporter to know what to," she said.

She also spoke on some aspects of investigative journalism, saying it should also go with the ethics of journalism.

"The use of language in reporting issues is also very fundamental," she added. "Use simple language that your readers can understand and make use of double checking in order to avoid problems. Don't use big words in your stories. Understand what off the record and background is."

She urged her Gambian colleagues to protect their information and sources, adding that facts in any story must be accurate, reliable and correct.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the course, the acting Head of US Diplomatic Mission in The Gambia, Madam Cindy Cregg, reminded the media of the important role they play in the dissemination of information in the society, while urging them to maintain professionalism at all times.

Cindy told journalists to make the best use of the training.