Recommendations to media houses and journalists
The media need to improve in many aspects, especially in the comprehensiveness of reporting. For example, they should examine issues from different perspectives, or by adding a historical background to stories and improving on reporting about root causes. Balancing stories in terms of providing opposing viewpoints is still lacking.
On the practical side, media houses need to cooperate with the media trainer group that has been formed by the Yearbook Research team. This trainer group will be enlarged and intensively trained again on how to understand the different quality categories and improve in journalistic practice.
Media houses are invited to consult individual performance sheets for each media house to learn about speciﬁc strengths and weaknesses. The trainer group would be useful for media houses seeking to improve their reporting and decisions on where to enhance their performance.
To localise the implementation of the Yearbook results, each media house needs to organise in-house training based on the reporting challenges or gaps identiﬁed in the performance sheet. The training can be organised for editors, and journalists, including correspondents and stringers, based both at their head ofﬁces and at the grassroots.
For such training to be effective, it is recommended that each media house either employ or assign an experienced person within the newsroom to manage and oversee such training. This person will be responsible for the training process, including identifying trainers and preparing training material and schedules.
Due to the prevailing economic challenges, it is recommended that they start thinking of developing new business models to diversify revenue streams.
Recommendations to media support organisations
There are several organisations in the country working to promote the quality of media reporting. These organisations are strongly advised to prepare their media reporting quality programmes in a way that addresses the challenges identiﬁed in this report. These organisations may include the quality indicators used in this study in their programming.
The institutionalisation of these indicators may also help to address reporting challenges. They are also invited to use the media trainer group established under the guidance of the Yearbook researchers to help in their journalism training programmes.
Recommendations to development partners
Development partners are also invited to consult the Yearbook results for their various efforts and interventions meant to improve the media environment in the country. It may also serve as a source of advice on speciﬁc issues partners who work with various media houses seek to improve. The results may also be used to motivate media houses as the Yearbook identiﬁes good performers worth emulating.
As this is the second fully-ﬂedged Yearbook, and as the aim of this initiative is to help enhance the quality of media in the country, it is hereby recommended that development partners should get involved in this initiative either in its current form or in different forms such as supporting a specialised Yearbook focusing on, for example, media report on development issues, ﬁnance and economics, politics etc. These specialized Yearbooks would provide in-depth assessments of particular issues.
Recommendations to the Government
The Media Services Act of 2016 establishes the Media Training Fund whose objectives, inter alia, are to facilitate the training of media professionals. Although the Fund has yet to be constituted, the results presented in this report set a clear baseline upon which the Fund, once constituted, will serve as the desired springboard for the assistance required in fulﬁlling its objectives.
To improve the current atmosphere of self-censorship within newsrooms often attributed to the current political environment, government pressure and sanctions, this report recommends that the two – government and media stakeholders – actively work to resolve the issues, challenges and/or tensions.
Recommendations to training institutions
For the institutions that train future journalists on various levels (colleges and universities), it is recommended that they integrate the Yearbook quality criteria into their curricula. Given the dearth of local and relevant publications and studies on the quality of media reporting in the country, training institutions should consider adding this report to their academic references.