The biggest African gathering of investigative journalists will consist of three-days of networking, skills training and discussions from well-renowned guest speakers.

By Nosipho Gumede

The journalism industry is facing headwinds, but that is not enough to deter the profession’s hopefuls who are attending the African Investigative Journalism Conference 2019 (#AIJC19). Every year the conference attracts journalism students from across the continent who work in the student newsroom to produce multimedia content and receive mentoring from professional journalists. 

“My experience has been super, I have met with various people from various countries and I’m learning a lot,”Michael Mhina, a student at the Saint Augustine University of Tanzania said.

Attendee Ruth Atim from the Uganda Refugee Online Network shares her expectations on the first day of the 2019 African Investigative Journalism Conference on October 28.   Photo: Itai Muzondo

Tammy Fray described the conference as being incredibly diverse in terms of the different contexts being highlighted.

“I see the need to collaborate across the African region in order to expose stories. It is also important to bare in mind that we operate as journalists in different contexts, for instance, what you might be allowed to say in one context may be completely suppressed in another,” said Fray currently studying at the University of the Free State.. 

For many first timers, the #AIJC19 is a mind opening experience to assist in improving skills, ideas and stories. it is also an opportunity to network, learn and contribute.

Itai Muzondo from the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe mentioned that, although his experience has been good so far, the sessions were a bit too packed and shifting in-between seminars has been a bit challenging.

Leano Maphorisa from the University of Botswana said she has learnt a lot on her first day. “My first experience has been overwhelming because I learnt a lot in terms of writing and editing. I have also learnt what to filter out, the importance of direct quotations and how to see newsworthiness of a story.” 

The conference continues for the next two days and these first time hopefuls still have a lot more to absorb.