Sports writers drilled on new age journalism

Renowned Ugandan journalist, Usher Komugisha says it is imperative for newsrooms to implement a digital media strategy in par with today’s evolving technological trends and challenges. The 29-year-old Komugisha on Monday used her vast experience in journalism to drill members from the Sport Writers Association of Botswana (SWABO) during a one day lecture, which focused on the rampant impact of social media on journalism.

Furthermore, the Ugandan writer gave SWABO members formidable traits of elevating their careers by becoming internationally renowned journalists. The former Sports Editor at The New Times and The Rwanda Focus respectively, was in Gaborone courtesy of the Federation of International Basketball Association (FIBA) for the just ended 2017 Zone VI Basketball Africa Club Championship Preliminaries.

Komugisha’s vast experience spans from broadcasting to print media and she is currently doing work for Supersport, Producer of Soccer Africa football magazine, guest writer for Federation of International Basketball Association, British Broadcasting Corporation and The Guardian Sports in United Kingdom. Her rise to stardom saw her cover several international sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup, London Olympics, CHAN and AFCON among many.

Komugisha awarding SWABo President Leatile Mmutle with a certificate

Besides lecturing on social media influence and personal branding, Komugisha also schooled local journos about the basics of football reporting, photography in today’s journalism, how to be a renowned journalist internationally and how to relate with sources without getting too personal and overstepping boundaries. “Personally I never studied journalism. I majored in Economics during my tertiary education but I accidentally stumbled into sport reporting.

I have also done several codes. However, I have recently focused on football and basketball. It has been the dynamics of the changing evolutions of sport that have seen social media take front seat in our reporting and it has changed how things used to work. There are retrenchments because of social media and we have to work extra harder to remain relevant,” said Komugisha.

“Because of social media we now have many pundits online. For Botswana with a population of less than 2.2m people, to have a staggering and estimated over 900 000 subscription on social media is huge – that’s a new market all together. A market that believes all things should remain in their gadgets. Therefore it will be our duty as journalists to find new niches to our reporting. We can’t be seen repeating what was already on social media. This is a tool that can also help brand us individually to the international markets. As a journalist in Uganda I should be able to Google any sporting code I want news on and find any of you’s bylines in the mix,” she concluded.

Botswana television producer Ntebogang Sebetlela was also one of the attendee of a one day lecture.

Meanwhile the president of SWABO, Leatile Mmutle expressed delight on the profound refresher course on members of his association. Furthermore, Mmutle noted that Komugisha will be assisting them in securing mentorship and internship programmes for all members from their international affiliates. “There will be a lot of these courses to keep our members abreast with the pace of modern-day journalism.

We will in the next General Assembly of International Sports Press Association (AIPS) present our documentation to become a member. We can confidently reveal that we are in talks with the executive about our membership and we are already at an advanced stage. We therefore thank Komugisha for spending time with us here at SWABO,”said Mmutle.

The lecture was held on Monday at the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) in Gaborone.After the profound lecture, Komugisha also had a chance to watch an encounter of the country’s elite soccer league, beMOBILE premiership featuring Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs. The one-day training tutorial was organized by SWABO and sponsored by BNOC.

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Moagi Madisa

"Although journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information and also the product of these activities; for me its science - our sorroundings"

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