By Bakary Ceesay
The Young Journalists’ Association of The Gambia (YJAG) in collaboration with the Gambia College Press Club (GCPC) has on Saturday 30th November 2019, organized a day-long inter-press convergence for press clubs in the greater Banjul area.
The convergence was held at Babylon Basic Cycle School in Lamin where over 50 participants underwent training on news writing and presenting, media law and ethics, reporting on children’s issues and the role of media in a democracy.
The participating schools included Gambia Senior Secondary School, Mayork Upper and Senior Secondary School, Mahad Senior Secondary School, Sheikh Mass Kah Senior Secondary School, Babylon Basic Cycle School, Brusubi Upper and Senior Secondary School, Alieu Badara Senior Secondary School, and the Gambia College press club.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Kebba Jeffang, the president of YJAG, said the convergence is part of his executive agenda for 2019 and hoped that at the end of the training, it would serve it desired purpose.
Jeffang said he is always impressed with what he sees whenever school press clubs invite him, adding that the training was “just a boost” to the already efforts the press clubs are doing in their respective schools.
“We bring you together to discuss issues that are very pertinent and can also build your capacities. It can also create networking among ourselves,” he added.
He discussed the importance of press clubs in schools indicating that it eases the burden of career selection.
“This has always been a problem for many students. It makes sure that those who are motivated to become a journalist would have an opportunity to know the basics in news gathering, presenting and interviewing. By the time they move to the newsrooms, the foundation is already there,” he said.
Sanna Jobarteh, the vice principal of Babylon Upper and Senior Secondary School who hosted the convergence, said the participants career choice on journalism is a monumental display of patriotism.
“…What they (organizers) are telling you (participants) is get a career before leaving school. This is the truth, get a job before leaving high school,” he said.
He urged the participants to grab the opportunity accorded to them.
“I wish I was in your shoes, I would become an active member of the organization, get a job in high school and when I finish, I just get my BSc and life goes on,” he added.
Babucarr F Jammeh, the president of Gambia College Press Club, said they partnered with YJAG because they shared the same action plan in staging a press convergence.
He said the convergence was scheduled to take place a month ago but due to circumstances, it was rescheduled. It was first planned to be a three-day residential program.
Jammeh further said the training is aimed at promoting journalism at the grass-root for the participating students to have a passion for the profession.
“I am urging all of you when you go back to share the knowledge gained,” he said.
Famara Fofana, communication specialist of ChildFund-The Gambia, took the participants through the definition of the child, child protection issues, among others.
Other resource persons include YJAG president Kebba Jeffang, Muhammeh S Bah, assistant editor Foroyaa newspaper; Yankuba Jallow, senior reporter Foroyaa newspaper and Mustapha Ceesay, president of Media Academy for Journalism and Communication student union (MAJaC) and also the news producer at Choice FM.