The Social Media Workshop for Media Workers held last week at the Ocean Terrace Inn, has been considered as very informative, eye-opening and very comprehensive by the participants and organizers. The workshop lasted for three days where 50 media workers and communicators from both St. Kitts and Nevis were trained on the proper and effective use of social media within journalistic guidelines. Experienced journalists and media trainers Wesley Gibbings from Trinidad and Tobago and Anika Kentish from Antigua and Barbuda were the facilitators.
On day three legal expert Jihan Williams addressed the legal responsibilities governing traditional media compared to social media. Mr. Gibbings said the workshop was a learning experience for both facilitators and participants. He said his presentations focused on the role of journalists and journalism. “What I essentially did was draw attention to the role of journalists and the media generally, essentially in the development process. One of the fundamental question I raised and people paid attention to was what journalism is really for if not for contributing to the development of the countries that we serve and the people we serve,” Gibbings said.
He noted that if this is the focus, journalists will play the role that people expect of them. This will help protect the rights that journalists fight for. “The social media world provides opportunities but also offers to us quite a few challenges that we have the opportunity of engaging and turn into the benefit of the people of the region,” Mr. Gibbings added.
Ms. Anika Kentish said she was pleased with the outcome of the workshop and the fact that the participants remained engaged throughout the three days. “We were very happy first of all with the turnout at this workshop. Not only was it oversubscribed, but we realized that people consistently came every single day. Usually with these workshops, people come on the first day, they leave after lunch and by the end of the workshop you maybe have 50% (in attendance). That really was not the case this time around,” Kentish said. “The participants were engaged from start to finish. They asked a lot of questions. Many of them were open-minded. We had a lot of discussions, debates of different things and all of that is part of the process,” she added.
Meanwhile Dr. Robertine Chaderton from the UWI Open Campus was pleased with the outcome of the workshop. “We were really glad we were able to partner with UNESCO. So many persons were interested and participated. The sessions that I saw, there was a great deal of interaction and the participants seemed to have learned quite a bit and are ready to go out there and make a difference,” Dr. Chaderton said.
As the workshop ended, some of the participants gave their feedback of the three day workshop. One participant, Cherilyn Adolphine said the workshop exceeded her expectations. “It was not over the top of my head,” she said. Another participant, Alecia Daniel-Blake, a freelance journalist and news producer with Sugar City 90.3fm said she leant something new as it relates to intellectual property of producers. “What I learnt that I did not know before was when we were learning about the legal ramifications—the producers ‘property being theirs whether or not you contracted them to do it for you,” Adolphine said.
Proprietor of online media outlet Buckie Got it said the facilitators at the workshop felt like “family.” He said: “I’ve learnt so much. The facilitators felt like family and you could have seen it,” he said. Another participant who works at ZIZ, said he was happy to see so many persons engaged at the workshop to the very end. “I was expecting to come and see like five other people and expecting to see two stay at the very end. It was great and really exciting,” he said.
At the end of the workshop, participants were presented certificates. The workshop was organized by the University of the West Indies Open Campus in St. Kitts, the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean with the financial assistance of the International Programme for the Development of Communication. It was being facilitated with the close collaboration with the St. Kitts Nevis National Commission for UNESCO.