To produce 21st-century multimedia journalists, strong on storytelling and editorial values who are able to use the latest digital tools.
That is one of the main aims of the annual Thomson Foundation summer convergence course.
But it’s also an opportunity to work with colleagues from different regions of the world with different skills and experiences to offer.
The opportunities and challenges were enthusiastically embraced by the 2015 participants from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Egypt, Qatar and Oman.
The flagship five-week course based at the Foundation’s London headquarters is a mixture of masterclasses, workshops and practical training and includes visits to some of the UK’s leading media organisations.
For Taiwo Alimi, a senior correspondent at the Sunday Sport newspaper based in Lagos, Nigeria, the online element was a key draw and he has returned home with a new skills and a determination to improve his newspaper’s online presence.
“We are ranked in the top five newspapers in Nigeria but in online we are not even in the top 10,” he says. “So going back to my place of work I am going to ensure that I use this knowledge so that in the next few months we can be ranked in the top two, or even number one.”
A large proportion of the course was devoted to mobile video journalism which provides an opportunity for people working in the media to gather and produce their own material.
Providing opportunities for the participants to practise the skills needed to become successful mobile journalists is central to the Thomson Foundation summer convergence course.
The course includes a week’s work placement with a leading UK media organisation. In 2015 participants had the opportunity to work at Channel 4 News, the ITN news service, the travel magazine Wanderlust, the Independent newspaper and the Guardian newspaper.
I have learned how to use my phone and edit a piece in a very short time. This is very cool.
The placements offered the course participants an opportunity to try out their enhanced mojo skills by producing video diaries reflecting on their experiences.
Chelsea secured a place on the course after winning Vodacom'sJournalist of the Year award for her coverage on South Africa's "exhausted" junior doctors.
Ali Said Jaboob plans to incorporate his new skills into his role as text editor at the Oman Ministry of Information.
“I have learned how to use my phone and edit a piece in a very short time,” he says “This is very cool.”
Ibrahim Abdellatif is from Al Jazeera’s Arabic network. He is a senior producer working on the production of the daily live TV news bulletins.
He was particularly interested in the sessions devoted to examining creative ways of using visual images on screen.
For him the summer convergence course was a “lifetime opportunity.”
“I have never felt that any of the Thomson trainers were doing a job,” he says “They were doing it in a lovely, personal manner.”
The participants on the 2015 Thomson Foundation summer convergence course were: Boldwill Hungwe who works as a photojournalist for The News Day, The Zimbabwe Independent and its sister paper The Standard. He also works in digital journalism, technology startups in journalism, media management and research; Ibrahim Abdellatif, a senior producer at Al Jazeera Arabic; Taiwo Alimi, a senior correspondent for Sunday Sport, Lagos, Nigeria; Chelsea Geach a news reporter at the Cape Argus, Cape Town, South Africa; Ali Said Jaboob, text editor at Oman Ministry of Information; and Torera Idowu, an online entertainment and lifestyle reporter for the Nation newspaper in Lagos, Nigeria and the 2015 Thomson Foundation mobile journalism competition winner.
A special thanks to our summer convergence course trainers: award-winning journalist, Judy Aslett, radio broadcast journalist and trainer, Derek Ivens, specialist in live production at the BBC, Deborah Kelly, digital trainer, Dan Mason, mobile journalism trainer, Glen Mulcahy, and data journalism expert, Jonathan Stoneman.
For more information about the Thomson Foundation summer courses, contact Hosam El Nagar.
Watch 2015 Thomson Foundation summer course participant, Chelsea Geach, during her placement at The Guardian.
Head of Training and Communications
About: Deborah plays a key part in developing and promoting our training programmes and is our specialist on gender in media. Her recent training projects have centred on digital and mobile journalism.