Media Training for Journalists Living with HIV by kimumwepaul


									          PANOS EASTERN AFRICA

  Proceedings of a 3 days training workshop for
Journalists and Women Living with HIV&AIDS in
           Basic Communications Skills

           9th to 11th November 2009

        Blue Pearl Hotel and Apartments

           Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

                November 2009
Table of Contents


Welcome Remarks………………………………………………………………2

Opening Remarks……………………………………………………………….3

Workshop Objectives……………………………………………………...........4

Workshop Expectations…………………………………………………...........4

Brief from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania on HIV&AIDS status……………5

Disclosure and Communication…………………………………………..........7

Introduction to Journalism and Communication……………………….........8

Writing for Radio, Print and Internet………………………………………...11

Getting published………………………………………………………….........12

Working with Networks and Partnership building………………………..…14

Trip to Media House……………………………………………………………15

Way forward/Next steps……………………………………………………..…15

Closing Ceremony………………………………………………………………16

Participants List………………………………………………………………...17

Panos Eastern Africa, together with the Panos Global AIDS Program is running a project on to
facilitate a safe place for journalists living with HIV&AIDS in high prevalence settings in Africa
to network with each other and articulate their issues openly.

The project also seeks to build the capacity of interested individuals living with HIV&AIDS to
enable them to write and produce in-depth and investigative features on HIV&AIDS from the
perspective of the vulnerable communities.

Panos has therefore helped to establish a regional network of journalists living with HIV&AIDS
(JLWHA) in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

Panos, together with the network of journalists living with HIV&AIDS in Tanzania organized a
three days training workshop for people living with HIV&AIDS on basic communication skills.
The participants, 11 women and 3 men were from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, and were
introduced to the basic of communication, news values, working with the media and turning
testimonies into news stories.

Welcome remarks
The acting coordinator of the NJLWHA in Tanzania, Mr. Zephania Musendo welcomed the
participants to the workshop and the foreigners to Tanzania and told them to feel at home. He
said that the Tanzania NJLWHA was happy to be working with Panos to build the skills of
people and journalists living with HIV&AIDS to become better communicators especially on
issues of HIV&AIDS.

He wished the participants a nice stay in Tanzania and fruitful workshop

Opening Remarks
Mr. Paul Kimumwe, the Regional Coordinator of the Health Communications Programme at
Panos Eastern Africa thanked Mr. Musendo for having mobilized the participants and also

thanked the participants for having accepted the invitations to come and be part of the initiatives
to improve HIV&AIDS communication by people living with HIV&AIDS, especially the
women and journalists.

He said that Panos is a regional organisation working in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia,
Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. It is part of a global network of Panos Institutes, located in
Africa, Europe, Asia, Caribbean, and America.

He said that the project on the NJLWHA is run under the Health Communications Programme,
and is geared towards strengthening the networking and empower journalists and women living
with HIV&AIDS to communicate their concerns and perspectives.

Workshop Objectives
Mr. Kimumwe said that the objective for the workshop was to build the capacity of interested
individuals living with HIV&AIDS to enable them write features, introduce them to the concepts
of news as defined by the media houses and help them understand the media better as key allies
and partners.

Workshop Expectations
   Interact with the journalists and learn how to make us (PLWHA) proud

   Form strong network to fight AIDS

   Get way forward on how to reach the grassroots

   Get value added on how to engage with the media – how to get our messages across as
    opposed to negative publicity

   Methodologies, approaches to get journalists of Tanzania Living with HIV to disclose and
    engage the media

   Understand the HIV&AIDS categorizations

Brief Updates from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania on the state

Uganda – David Musengeri1
He said that in Uganda, stigma had reduced compared to how it was 25 years ago, although men
are still avoiding to go for counseling and HIV testing. The prevalence is now at 6.4% at the
moment, with more risky groups now being the married.

He added that poverty was still hindering adherence to ARVs, and indirectly responsible for the
increase in HIV infections especially among the young as many of them end up dropping out of
schools and engage in sexual activities.

The sharing of testimonies by PLWHA on positive living helped to inspire people to come out
and disclose and start seeking treatment.

As far as the media is concerned, he said that the media in Uganda has been vibrant in covering
HIV&AIDS, but of recent, the story is seen by some journalists as being “tired”, since more
often than not, there is “nothing new” to report about HIV&AIDS”. The journalists are now just
waiting for a “cure”.

Musengeri said that there is still the problem of access to treatment especially in the rural areas,
where ARVs are in short supply, and other health facilities also inadequate, yet the demand is

 Mr. Mesengeri is a pioneer member and Assistant Coordinator of the Network of Journalists Living with HIV from

Kenya – Evelynn Simaloy2 and Asunta Wagura3
Simaloy said that it is not very easy for journalists to disclose their HIV status, especially those
who are living with the virus, as stigma and social discrimination is still very high in Kenya. As a
person, she said she has used her testimony to inspire other PLWHA not to give up on their lives,
and tried to talk to them about working with the media to tell their stories as well..

In Kenya, Simaloy said that there is still major ignorance about the issues around HIV&AIDS
despite the massive awareness campaign and information flow.

And HIV&AIDS is still driven by so many issues that are rampant in the Sub-Saharan Africa,
such as poverty, wife inheritance, and other poor cultural practices.

Asunta Wagura
Asunta added that in Kenya, there are still lots of issues around stigma and HIV&AIDS
communication. She said that HIV&AIDS is still perceived as a disease for “them and not for
us”, and this has affected many PLWHA to come out, disclose their status and seek treatment.

She said that the media is still too biased in its coverage of HIV&AIDS, focusing mainly in
urban areas, yet the rural populations are also facing challenges.

She said that it is high time “we” engaged the media at all levels, from the journalists, editors and
media owners.

Tanzania – Zephania Musendo4
Musendo said that stigma is very high and eating in the communities and the media has failed to
live up to its expectations of massive positive coverage of HIV&AIDS. He said that there is no
much seriousness on the part of the media to engage in HIV&AIDS response.

    Ms. Simaloy is a pioneer member and Coordinator of the Network of Journalists Living with HIV from Kenya
    Ms. Asunta is the Executive Director of the Kenya Network of Women with AIDS in Kenya.
    Mr. Musendo is a pioneer member and Coordinator of the Network of Journalists Living with HIV in Tanzania

He noted that he has failed to get more journalists living with HIV&AIDS to join the network,
and he attributed this to the too much stigma around HIV&AIDS.

On the whole, he said that in Tanzania, the men are still not cooperating, leaving the women to
seek treatment alone. Couple testing is still so remote. Musendo said that the media need to make
the HIV&AIDS story as interesting as possible and more readable to the public as well as

The Need for Disclosure and Communication – By Asunta
This was a very interactive sessions, since most of the participants had already disclosed their
status, and living positively.

Asunta however said that disclosure was the most critical period for a PLWHA. She said that
before telling anyone else about your status, it was very important to accept the result, and
disclose to yourself that, “I am now living with HIV”. Things become much easier once you
have accepted. But as long as you are in denial, it doesn’t matter how many other people know
that you are living with HIV.

In terms of communication, participants shared that it was very important who you disclose to
and how much information you have to give out. They noted that with children, it is very
important to start engaging them on the subject early enough and explain to them why you have
to swallow the medicine daily, and if the child has HIV, why she has to swallow the medicine

They said that different people start with different levels of disclosure. If your employer is
supportive, you start there, but if he/she is not, then you might need to consider the timing.

Mr. Musengeri shared his experience where he was terminated from his work, once he had
stayed away from work for some time and it was discovered that he had HIV.

Asunta said that it therefore important to weigh out what you want to say and to whom.

Introduction to Journalism and Communication – By Deo

Working with the Media
Mr. Mfugale told the participants that if we are to work with the media, it is very important to
have an understanding of how the media functions and how the journalists look at issues like

He said that for most journalists, they don’t have the skills to write a good story especially on
sensitive issues like HIV&AIDS, with many of them working as freelancers, lowly paid and not
well facilitated to do researched story.

We want publicity but we forget to focus on the impact / aftermath. Therefore, know what you
want say and the target audience – what do they want to hear from you? Communicate with the
right people – make sure you give the right info to the right person e.g. the editor and not a
freelance journalist.

Show that you value the story by following up with the editor.

Build good relationships with the media. Be friendly even outside business, socially.

Use third parties to support your story for the purpose of ensuring that the story is published.

Call for meeting with media and interact with purpose of befriending or helping them to
understand from a PLWHAs point of view. If you find a mistake in a report/story, just approach
the editor for correction and it will be corrected.

It is very important to work with the media in a friendly fashion rather than a hostile fashion
because, it is media that ‘began’ the mess of AIDS misinformation, and they are the best to use
to clean up the mess.

    Mr. Mfugale is a Media Trainer and Consultant based in Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania

Journalists (maybe) do not come out about their status because they lack company policies for
PLWHA hence they fear the loss of their jobs.

It was proposed that PLWHA hold a 1 day workshop with media and forward the UN policy on
terminologies to be used when referring to PLWHA for media purposes.

News and the Media
   What is News?

   The following were identified as things that can be perceived as being news.

   Events that take place, such as elections

   New things, building of a hospital

   Something that will interest people to hear

   Announcement of event

   New information can also be news

Mr. Mfugale however emphasized that for anything to become or be defined as news, there must
be three things; the event or information about the event, a medium through which this
information is passed on or communicated and lastly, the public or audience to hear the
information. Without anyone of these, then there is no news.

What makes a story news worthy?
The story or information must be new .e.g. ‘HIV KILLS’ is not news but ‘HIV TODAY KILLS

The story should have something that draws attention or raises interest of public.

The story should focus on the people and NOT on things.

The story must be factual and true.

The story must be unusual – a popular example give to journalism students is that when a dog
bites a man, that’s not news, but when a man bites a dog, then that becomes news.

Prominence, news that a honorable minister has HIV will be more news worthy that if it was just
an ordinary person

The impact of the news or a happening makes it more news worthy – shortage of ARVs, which
will lead to more death of PLWHA.

Sources of news

   Information centers

   Organizations

   Hospitals

   Archives

   Libraries

   Internet

   Newspapers, radio, tv, entertainment spots, market place

   Publications

   You can link stories to water, health, education, agriculture e.t.c.

Difference between hard news and features
News is straight to the point

Feature breaks the story down in steps before reaching the point.

Always remember, the reader, listener, viewer, HAS NO TIME. The story therefore has to keep
them interested.

Writing for Radio, Print and Internet

General Principles
Mr. Mfugale told participants that when writing, either for radio, the internet or print, there are
some general principles, apart from the ones above such as; factual story, accurate, fairness,
objectivity, etc.

He said that the flow of the story should take the inverted pyramid style, with the most important
issues dealt with first then the less important.

He said that the story should have three main sections; the introduction – which introduces the
story; the body text, which gives details about the story; and then the conclusion.

He said that Introductions should be short and simple to enable understanding. They should be
able to arouse the interest of the reader and compel him/her to read on.

The middle section is the body which entails further details related to introduction. This should
explain in the detail and should able to answer the questions that the reader could have raised
from the introduction.

The Last / bottom section is the end/conclusion that summarises the whole story.

Other principles include;
The use of light /simple words and short sentences

In news, it is important to deliver the information straight to the point

Language must be simple.

Do not be ambiguous i.e. do not beat round the bush. Keep it straight and accurate.

Numbers and figures should be simple and factual ( do not give so many figures to describe a

Keep the facts straight. Do not alter info/story. Do not put words into someone’s mouth.

Getting Published
Mr. Mfugale introduced participants to opportunities of getting into the media. He said that apart
from inviting journalists to write about you or your organisation, one can issues a press release,
write a letter to the editor, write an opinion piece, etc.

Press Release
He said that the press release must contain information that is useful to the journalist or editor to
write out a story for publication.

   The press release must be as short as 1 page.

   Use simple language and short sentences or paragraphs.

   You should be clear right from the start. Avoid ambiguity.

   End with reference contacts for further info on the release/story.

   Press release MUST be on a letter head and must have a byline.

Letter to the Editor;
   This is NOT news.

   A respond to a story or issue that was published

   It is written to set the record straight.

   It should be straight to the point

   Use simple/clear language that can be understood by everyone. Not vocabulary.

   Produce evidence or write something factual. Have reference. Do not insinuate or assume.

   It must be brief and clear. For print, it should be a maximum of 250 words.

   Quote day and time in the case of a story being referred to.

   Have timely reaction to a story i.e. do not wait too long before you respond to an issue /story.
    Be within time.

   Provide full contacts in the end. This is for the purpose of response expected.

Preparing for an Interview
Mr. Mfugale told participants that the best way to get into the media is to organize an interview
with the journalist so that you discuss with him/her all the issues you want published.

He said that granting an interview opportunity to a journalist has the effect of educating the
journalist and interesting him/her in what you or your organisation does.

It is however very important how you prepare for the interview as it can make or break your
relationship with the journalist if you provide useful information, or labled as a waste of time by
the end of the interview.

Interviews normally take a one to one session as opposed to press conferences, where there are
so many journalists asking, sometimes un related questions to the issues at hand.

Working with Networks and Partnership Building
By Lydia Rwechungura6 and Joan Chamungu7:

Networks are formed to share knowledge and experiences. The two people noted that in the HIV
response, networking and partnerships are the best ways to go as no HIV&AIDS requires a
concerted efforts and no one organisation has the resources to do everything.

For networks to work however, it is important that there is commitment from all the network
members, who must be sharing a common vision for the network.

They said that networks can be at different levels, starting with individuals, organisations, and
then networks of networks. They also said that if the terms of references and expectations from
the network members are not very clear, this can lead conflict of interests.

It must therefore be defined, who does what, and what is the mandate of the secretariat of the
network, and what are the members supposed to do.

For purposes of the Network of Journalists Living with HIV, it was advised that the network gets
registered with the Tanzania authorities as a civil society organisation and then with the National
Council for People Living with HIV&AIDS in Tanzania, which is the umbrella body for all
PLWHA networks in Tanzania.

Participants advised Mr. Musendo, the Tanzania focal person for the JLWHA to try and work
with the Association of Journalists Against AIDS in Tanzania to interest members of AJAAT
living with HIV to join the network.

Musendo was however advised to be careful who he brings on board as many might end up
destroying the network especially if they don’t understand the core values of the network.

Participants pledged to help Musendo and they will be his first partners in engaging the media as
active participants in responding to HIV.

    Lydia Rwechungura works for Features Group International – TZ office
    Joan Chamungu is the President of the Tanzania Network of Women Living with HIV

Field Trip to Habari News Corporation
As part of training and media engagement, participants were taken on a field trip to Habari News
Corporation to meet and have a dialogue with the editors on how to work together. One of the
participants, Mr. Musendo works at this media house as an editor.

This was a fruitful dialogue, as the participants were informed that HNC has an HIV workplace
policy for her workers, and have regular training on issues of HIV&AIDS coverage.

Participants asked the editors, why HIV stories get distorted and full of stigma? In response, the
editors said that some of the journalists who write about HIV&AIDS do not have the relevant
skills and knowledge about the subject and are therefore bound to make errors especially in
terms of sensitivities.

The editors requested the participants, especially those working with big organisations to
organize some training where the journalist can be informed of the latest information about
HIV&AIDS, and the language to use in reporting.

The editors said that they are committed to fighting HIV&AIDS and pledged to work together
with all those working in the HIV&AIDS response.

Way forward/Next steps
As a way forward, participants advised Mr. Musendo, the coordinator of the Tanzania NJLWHA
to get organized and registered with the authorities as a CSO, and thereafter register with the
National Council for PLWHA in Tanzania.

Participants said that they will be working more with the media especially organising medic
clinics to train the journalists on sensitive HIV&AIDS reporting.

Organize more regional workshops for members to keep sharing news ideas and working

Organize stakeholder dialogues with policy makers, donors, religious leaders

Continued sharing of information through emails, reports, text messages, inviting each other for
meetings and workshops

Closing Ceremony
The function was presided over by Mr. Paul Kimumwe, the Regional Coordinator of the Health
Communications Programme at Panos Eastern Africa.

Mr. Kimumwe thanked the facilitator, Mr. Deo Mfugale, for the job well done in facilitating for
the three days, thanked Mr. Musendo for having mobilized the participants and finally, he
thanked the participants for turning up and for their patience through the entire workshop.

He said that the workshop was very informative and had given Panos some new ideas to think
about in terms of media support to respond to HIV&AIDS.

He said that it was refreshing to hear the commitment from the participant to respond to
HIV&AIDS. He said that as a young network, the NJLWHA needed all the support it could get
from the other network members, especially the expertise in recruitment of members, resource
mobilisation, fundraising, and self sustaining.

He wished all the participants a safe journey back home, and said that we should continue the
spirit of networking.

List of Participants

No      Name                Organisation                               Telephone       Email

1       Sammy Musunga       National Council of PLWHA - TZ             +25578681054

2       Evelynn Simaloy     Network of JLWHA/Pamoja FM - Kenya         +254723202089

3       Renalda Josephat    Network of Women Living with AIDS - TZ     +255719311804

4       Lydia Rwechungura   Feaures Group International – TZ           +255652130077

5       Zephania Musendo    HNC/Network of JLWHA – TZ                  +255719517533

6       Asunta Wagura       Kenya Network of Women with AIDS - Kenya   +254722677122

7       David Musengeri     Network of JLWHA - Uganda                  +256775314935

8       Joan Chamungu       Tanzania Network of Women with HIV&AIDS    +255755761905

9       Salome Kaiza        Tanzania Network of Women with HIV&AIDS    +255754908017

10      Sekela Kanyali      Tanzania Network of Women with HIV&AIDS    +255753720364

11      Neema Duma          Network of Positive Women - Tanzania       +255756909185

12      Mpendwa Abinery     International Community of Women LWHA      +255787360075
13      Agnes Christopher   Tanzania Network of PLWHA                     +255754446074


1       Deo Mfugale         Journalists Environmental Association of TZ   +255754275170

2       Paul Kimumwe        Panos Eastern Africa                          +256712666933


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