Ten Rwandan journalists, two from broadcast and eight from the print media were selected to go for a one-week internship with some of UK’s top media houses.
The selections came after a team sent by News International interviewed 16 journalists fronted by the various media houses in the country.
The internship arrangement came as a result of the meeting between President Paul Kagame and the Chief Executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks, who expressed interest in offering training opportunities to Rwandan journalists.
In an interview with Michael Binyon the leader writer with The Times news paper and one of the members of the team that interviewed and selected candidates, said the task of selecting who to go was hard because all journalists were good.
“We couldn’t take all of them, so we had to undertake the hard task of selecting who to go since they were all good,”
“We wanted a group of young enthusiastic journalists, open minded and with a creative energy to go out there and benefit from the exposure of how journalism is done in established media houses and we are sure we got them,” said Binyon.
He added that although a week is little considering the learning expectations journalists could be having, it will at least serve to open the beneficiary’s view about the world and how news is collected and written in a different environment.
A seasoned Journalist with 37 years of experience also noted that News International chose Rwandan journalists for this opportunity partly because it is a country with “a tragic past but with tremendous positive efforts to overcome and move on.”
“We saw that contributing to building media here was prudent,” he said.
On whether this arrangement will continue even after this trip, Binyon said that this is going to be like an experiment to see how feasible the arrangement is since its going to be the first time.
He said that they will make sure they follow up on how the internship will benefit the beneficiaries after returning.
Ignatius Kabagambe, the Director General at the Ministry of Information, expressed gratitude on behalf of the government for the opportunity granted to the country’s media practitioners.
“We are very grateful for this opportunity, it means a lot to our media industry, especially since it gives the journalists exposure to the wider world of news and a hands-on experience with some of the best media houses in the world,” he observed.
Nelson Gatsimbazi, a journalist with Umusingi one of the local news papers, who was among those selected for the internship, noted that among other benefits he expects to get skills on how to develop and manage his paper’s website in a more reader friendly and modern way.
“I am looking forward to learning from those world class media houses on how to improve my paper’s website since it’s also online,” he said.
Six of the selected came from The New Times, one from Rwanda News Agency, and others from Rwandan Focus and Rwanda Radio.
News International is a UK subsidiary of News Corporation that is owned by world media tycoon, Rupert Murdoch, owner of The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times and News of the world, among others.