THE innovative use of social media platforms and practical applications of Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Remote Sensing (RS) are among the skills being taught to journalists at a Nadi workshop.
Managing Strategic Risks to Agriculture and Forestry in the Pacific — Web 2.0 Training for Senior Journalists, an initiative of the Secretariat for the Pacific Communities (SPC) funded by the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS) was designed to build capacities for newsmen and women from Fiji, PNG, Tonga, Samoa and the Solomon Islands.
"We decided on senior journalists because they are the frontline in terms of news and journalism is evolving with various Web 2.0 tools being used to source information, verify tips and interact with wider audiences on a daily basis," said Communications and Training assistant at the SPC and course facilitator Ruci Mafi.
"However, the workshop will not only provide an opportunity for the journalists to learn new skills, it will also allow SPC to learn about how the media apply Web 2.0 tools in their work."
Ms Mafi said many journalists used Web 2.0 in isolation on platforms such as facebook, twitter and You Tube but were unaware of the many uses and tools available to acquire and disseminate information.
Aloysius Lauakai, managing director of New Dawn, a community radio station established in Bougainville in 2009, said Web 2.0 tools allowed him to produce a blog and an SMS broadcast service that spread the gospel of reconciliation in the aftermath of major social unrest and political upheaval in his country a few years ago.
"There was a lot of hurt in the community and I saw the need to send messages of peace and reconciliation and Web 2.0 allowed me set up a blog that not only sent out messages but also gauged community reactions which helped with the reconciliation process," he said.
"We also did a survey and acknowledged the fact that while many people did not own smart phones, laptops or access to a computer, everyone owned mobile phones which made it logical to use this technology to interact with our wider audience."