MOBILE JOURNALISM Becomes A Reality through MOBILE COMMUNITY ZIMBABWE- by Sharon Sigauke


Mobile Community Zimbabwe is a project that seeks to amplify the voices of ordinary citizens through news production using an application called Story Maker. Thus, citizens will be using mobile devices in gathering and producing news content from their communities. Most news stories that are of significance to ordinary citizens are disregarded by the mainstream media and as such, mobile community reporting becomes important if change is to happen in societies. Therefore, the Mobile Community Zimbabwe Project is unique opportunity that equips people with news production skills even at all levels.

The project is raising people of power who can speak out significant issues from their communities and this is making an impact. Interestingly, the mainstream media is now relying on news content from people who have been trained under such a project. Of significance is the fact that any individual can be trained to become a multi skilled producer of content by simply using a mobile device.

This means that content can be produced and shared on any platform without having to remotely edit anything as is done in the traditional media. At the end of the day, news production is no longer a complicated process as compared to what used to happen in the traditional media. As a result, journalists in the traditional media have no other


option but to obtain the skills which the Mobile Community Zimbabwe Project is imparting. A journalist who only knows how to write for the print media is at a great disadvantage and is most likely to be replaced by someone who is multi tasked. The MCZ project has to date trained more than seventy people who are all from different walks of life including mainstream media journalists, The National University of Science and Technology, Midlands State University and bloggers.

It is important to note that at universities, Journalism and media students were not fully equipped with practical news production skills since there is lack of gadgets to conduct practical work. At the end of the day, graduates were only half baked with theory work without practice. Now, with the advent of MCZ, students and practising journalists are fully trained with practical skills on content production using a mobile phone. What is interesting is that one can walk with their equipment in a pocket instead of carrying those big conventional cameras and microphones. With the Story Maker Application which is usually used in the project, one can produce an audio, video or picture story then edit the content and at the same time be able to share it through any social media platforms.

Being accorded the chance to become a trainee, I acquired a skill that no one can take away from me. I can confidently and successfully produce any story using my mobile device at any given time. The MCZ Project is becoming more popular and effective in assisting people to rise up and make use of their mobile gadgets. As for me, I did not know that a mobile device could transcend the operation of traditional news room equipment. In the traditional news room for example a reporter goes to cover a story with the help of a photographer and there is a lot of gate keeping that takes place depending with editorial policies. However, just a mobile device is powerful and one individual can do the reporting and photography alone instead of carrying big cameras that may attract unnecessary attention

If different organisations could embrace the MCZ Project, then information dissemination will be very easy. I believe Non-Governmental Organisations can significantly transform their operations if communities they deal with could be taught how to produce news stories that are of importance to them. This means that NGOs should embrace the MCZ project and bring it to the communities they work with.
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