Enhancing the quality and quantity of local media’s ability to report on the economy is the main objective of a five-day workshop for media practitioners being held in Apia this week.
Hosted and organised by the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (P.A.C.M.A.S.), the workshop provides an opportunity for local journalists to learn and strengthen their capacity in reporting about business, finance and national budgets.
The workshop is held at the Tanoa Hotel in Apia.
The training is being delivered by Bruce Hill; one of the region’s most experienced Pacific journalists, having worked for both Radio Australia and Radio New Zealand, and he is also the presenter of the ABC Radio Australia’s ‘Pacific Beat’ Program. Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Mr. Hill highlighted the critical role the news media plays in informing the public about the developments in the economy.
“We play an active role in raising civic awareness on public finance and accountability as part of the development process,” he said.
“We are all general journalists. We don’t have economic experts in the field to investigate and report on the economy of a country and the financial budget.
“But we have to be flexible and be able to do our job to the best of our ability so that our audiences and readers are well-informed and are aware of what happens in our communities.” Journalists are the public’s intelligence network, Mr. Hill added.
“We are here to learn and share the different ways in which we know can improve our ability to keep our readers interested and updated with the economy and development of our countries.” “This workshop aims at lifting the quality and quantity of news reporting about the economy, business, finance and the national budget.”
The workshop also looks at educating the journalists about the different skills needed to explain economic jargon and produce accessible and compelling stories for the audience. “That includes background stories that help explain major events such as the government budget. “They will discover where to find data, how to use it and get a chance to hone their interviewing techniques.
They will learn more about the relevance of the private sector to economic development, and the contribution of small businesses.” On Monday, the participants heard a number of fact-filled presentations from the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Samoa and a presentation from the Samoa Chamber of Commerce. Field trips have also been organised as part of the workshop to give the participants the opportunity to put the theories to practice.