BLOOMBERG says it expects The Mast to avail reporters for the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa training scheduled for September this year in Lusaka.
Meanwhile, Mast newspapers chief executive officer Likezo Kayongo says the newspaper wants to see to it that its reporters are one of the best in economic reporting.
Bloomberg country coordinator Andrew Phiri, along with Sally Chiwama – the country marketing coordinator – visited offices of The Mast newspaper in Lusaka’s Ibex Hill yesterday.
Phiri explained that Mike Bloomberg, the owner of Bloomberg, was behind the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa.
He highlighted how the initiative started.
“Bloomberg were looking for reporters in Africa that would help them gather news and be able to feed them. The main objective is basically to train journalists and policy-makers from various institutions on how to interpret, analyse financial data, and be able to make very good stories. They should be able to make good stories that people are able to digest and understand what is going on in the economy. So, that’s how they came up with this programme,” Phiri explained.
“Right now we are in phase two. Phase one had three countries – South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. So, Zambia is in the next phase, which is called phase two.”
He added that phase two would have delegates from Zambia, Ghana and Tanzania.
Phiri noted that intake one for Zambian and Ghanaian trainees started last year and ended last month in Lusaka.
“Tanzania is just joining and that will be their intake one. They will join in September this year when we start intake two,” Phiri said.
“The programme is carried out with a consortium of universities. Here in Zambia we are working with UniLus (University of Lusaka) who are providing the business side of it and UNZA. The certificate will be accredited to a consortium of universities.”
Phiri also indicated that it would be “an amazing thing” to have, on the same certificate, the University of Lusaka, the University of Zambia and the Bloomberg logo.
“We expect quite a good number of journalists from The Mast. I do not come from the journalism fraternity but I know the importance of reporting on figures and interpreting these figures,” said Phiri.
Kayongo said: “we are excited with all this. Reporting on economic issues has been a problem and if we have something like that, I can’t see The Mast not attending.”
“We want to be on top of things; we want to make sure that our reporters are one of the best in economic issues on the reporting aspect of it,” said Kayongo.
“We’ll look at the whole thing…. We are members for World Association for Newspapers, International Press Institute and locally we are also members of Zambia Institute of Marketing. We try to be everywhere in order to learn more and more.”
Meanwhile, Mast managing editor Larry Moonze said The Mast is keen on having multi-skilled journalists.
“We are still a small newspaper; we’ll be three years old in November this year. But what we are trying to do to our reporters is to try to do what you would call cross-pollination. Instead of a reporter concentrating on sport, for instance, we also encourage them to do something on politics, business,” noted Moonze.
“This is why we welcome the Bloomberg initiative.”