"African Stories" - TV production training
DW Akademie • Professionalization of coverage from an African point of view for journalists, cameramen and cutters
DW Akademie is Germany’s leading organisation for international media development and Deutsche Welle’s center of excellence for education, knowledge transfer and media training. DW Akademie has been active in the development of free and transparent media systems, quality journalism and media expertise since 1965.
Every year, DW Akademie trains worldwide more than 5,000 journalists, citizen journalists, technicians and media managers, and coaches political decision makers, civil society organizations and training institutes.
The majority of DW Akademie's projects are carried out in Africa. The numerous measures are always adapted to the respective media landscape and the requirements of the partners on site.
A particularly comprehensive project for sub-Saharan Africa is "African Stories", which provides professional continuing education for African television journalists. Africa is the subject of a lot of coverage – from outside. For years, African people have bemoaned the negative image of their continent as broadcast by Western media. But how do African journalists perceive their own continent? Which problems and successes do they deem important? Which stories do they tell? "African Stories" is intended to dissipate clichés and to promote alternative media coverage.
The project provides African journalists with an opportunity to illustrate their everyday life from an African point of view. At the same time, the programme participants and involved broadcasting houses are encouraged to develop enthusiasm for the journalistic format of television reporting, which so far hardly figures at all in African television. The DW Akademie trainers teach the African programme participants the basics of journalistic quality and professional reporting. The long-term project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
"African Stories" launched in 2011 with a large-scale activity: in a first phase (2011 – 2012), journalists, cameramen and cutters from 28 countries received training in regional workshops. To this end, DW Akademie closely co-operated with the respective television broadcasting stations of the involved countries. The 90 African programme participants researched and produced a total of 50 professional television reports. Exceptional, authentic, African stories were the result. All reports were put at the disposal of the involved television broadcasting stations in sub-Saharan Africa and, for the most part, broadcast on a global scale by Deutsche Welle.
In the project's second phase (2013 – 2015), the focus is on intensifying knowledge regarding lively and high-quality television reports. For this, the 16 best teams were selected (each consisting of an editor, cameraman and cutter from one of the partnering broadcasting stations). During regional trainings in Uganda, Namibia, Senegal and Cameroon, the training participants intensified their knowledge as regards research, organising film shooting, camera, cutting, storytelling and interview techniques. They subsequently produced their own reports together with editors from Deutsche Welle. The resulting co-productions in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Namibia, Senegal, Guinea, Benin, Mali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Malawi were broadcast both by the African partnering broadcasting stations as well as in the programme of Deutsche Welle.
In this project phase, the main focus is on passing on the acquired knowledge within the respective countries. This is why the training participants learn techniques for passing on their acquired know-how to their colleagues. 36 media professionals from twelve countries take part in these train-the-trainer workshops that are organised in Berlin. Subsequently, the course participants themselves will act as trainers for carrying out workshops on television reports within their respective broadcasting houses, thus ensuring knowledge transfer.
The continuous work with journalists, cameramen and cutters since 2011 has resulted in sustained strengthening of the structures at the involved partnering broadcasting stations in sub-Saharan Africa. In the context of "African Stories", the participants can produce professional television reports and other coverage and independently pass on their acquired knowledge to their colleagues at the involved broadcasting houses. This constitutes an important contribution in the effort to sustainably integrate African points of view into media coverage in sub-Saharan Africa and to professionalise African television journalism.