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Financial and Business News Reporting course: South Africa, my new home for a week

Thomson Reuters Foundation - Mon, 26 Nov 2012 12:13 GMT
Author: Flavia Nalubega
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Stressed up after a long day’s work, I see an email pop in. “Congratulations, you have yourself a trip to South Africa.”

I just turned to my colleague in the office and told him: ‘Finally, I am going to SA.”  This is what I had longed for since the start of the year, to visit the popular city of Johannesburg. And the opportunity was bigger than just mere visiting. It came along with an opportunity to train in finance and governance - an advanced reporting workshop, courtesy of Thomson Reuters Foundation and NORAD.

And the one week long training is a thing that I am gonna carry home: inspirational, entertaining and enriching. Not forgetting that it came with a trip on the Gautrain to Pretoria and Sandton. I enjoyed the trip all the way and posted the snapshots on social media for all my home girls to see just how I took my first ride on an electric train.

But more special to me and the entire group are the different characters we met from different countries whose experiences became a bible for us to go with in our journalism work back home.

Beatrice Baiden, a.k.a. BB, from  eTV Ghana is one interesting charming character who is a go-getter and very outspoken. She decided to lead the group to every destination within SA, from the hotel, to the class room, to the shopping mall… Although from Ghana, she seems to be well conversant with SA. I call her South African wannabe.

As for Julius Sakala from Zambia, I have learnt to do the necessary thing in the given time, courtesy of him. He is always the first to complete his assignments, always in time for the bar, lunch, tea…. But above all, he is a principled journalist who is ace in both print and broadcast and will not settle until he gets his work done, and done well.

And yet another intelligent lady I met is Zeddy Sambu. A writer with Business Daily, a subsidiary of Nation Media Group, Zeddy is articulate and understands business journalism. The few times I interacted with her at the Courtyard hotel bar, I got to learn about her eight-year experience in journalism, which explains her mastery of the game. The tall slender jolly lady will not go unnoticed in her bright red and white wear; these colours make her whole.

Then Samuel Sanya a colleague from Uganda attached to the New Vision has been baptized a new name by BB - Swimmer. He is a fan of water and dashes to the pool every evening. In fact he had forgotten his swim suit at home but used up some of his per-diem to acquire one from Rosebank shopping mall. But this is only after a serious day’s work. Composed in class and very attentive, he will always take on BB and they blow off the roofs in an intellectual debate.

From Mozambique, I have met a talented young man, Aunicio da Silva, who has been for the last one week teaching me Portuguese. With the help of Rui Correia, our co=facilitator and his interpreter, he gelled in well with the rest of the members. We had to bear with the sound of Rui interpreting, just for Aunicio anyway.

And so is the class interesting to interact with, but all these six individuals are brought to shape by David White our program facilitator. This guy knows each and every one of us and has mastered how to deal us. He is just not a trainer but a father. He knows how to grab our attention when we tend to be drawn away during the lectures. Trust me, in the class assignments he gives us he keeps us on our toes, our brains fully at work. These are partly what sharpen our thinking and there is no more you may need after this intensive training.

The second of its kind I am attending within a period of one year, Thomson Reuters Foundation training has done a great deal to my journalism. Since the end to the first training, my stories are hardly edited; they are passed as clean copy, unlike before when we always had verbal fights with my boss over the quality of my work. And I guess with this advanced training I will soon be business editor for the Daily Monitor.

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