Archive | August 2014

Digital Journalists Challenged By Changes – Prof. Takahashi

Google Glass Explorer and YouTube-certified Instructor, Prof. Corey Takahashi says the future of digital media is unimaginable, like a wide open world. Resource person at the workshop on the use of ICT tools in Journalism, organised by the American Embassy, the journalist and multimedia producer traced the evolution of digital media encouraging journalists to have an open mind about the type of media content they want to produce in future. Takahashi who founded and edited a Music magazine, Blaze, edited Vibe, a National Award winning magazine for General Excellence and worked for Entertainment Weekly, Newsday and New York Public Radio, drilled participants on how to construct a makeshift radio studio, simple radio production skills, in podcast and sound cloud especially layers of sound liken to a cake. In an Interview with The Post’s Leocadia Bongben, the magazine style story teller in text, radio and video, with special interest in technology and emerging media, the multimedia teacher at the Syracuse University who pitched and helped launch the first Newhouse Tablet Competition, a digital editorial contest modeled on the Silicon Valley-style hackathons, Takahashi, says it is exciting to have pioneers in Cameroon to lead the change in digital media.

What is the future of the new media?
The future is anything and something we haven’t imagined before, it is a wide open world and the core thing about social media is that anyone could be involved, because it is not even the cost of entry for making a website.

Do you think the old media is threatened and are journalists embracing the new media or vice versa?
I think the old traditional media is important, I think it is adapting and to adjust to the new media is going to be difficult going forward as more people consume media on different devices behind just print and broadcast.

What was the focus of the workshop on using ICT tools in Journalism?
I taught participants to keep an open mind to the type of media content they may want to produce in future, this may include the podcast or different types of audio production that spill from radio, it could be a video or photo of a number of different media forms.

Cameroon is not yet familiar with some digital forms of media, do you thing we can cope with the fast growing digital world?

The people attending this workshop are the pioneers, so what is exciting is that they get to lead the change.

What has been particular about the evolution of social media?
There are samples we showed, the newspaper, then the laptop, the smart phone and then the google glass. I think this is a pretty clear illustration visually of the stage media is evolving. Not everybody is at the stage of the google glass and not everybody is at the newspaper stage. It depends on what type of media consumer and where you are comfortable on the spectrum of media. Some people consume all of the media forms, which is fine too.

What are the challenges for journalists in the digital world?
The challenge is to keep up with how quickly things are changing, maybe smart phones are popular or websites and they may change in a couple of years but the biggest challenge for digital journalists is to be adaptable to what comes next.

Interviewed by Leocadia Bongben

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Contraceptive Use Can Save 4000 Lives, Study Finds

By Leocadia Bongben

Contraceptive use promotes health, saves lives and cost a study on “Costs and benefits of investing services in Cameroon”, conducted by the Institute of Demographic Research, IFORD, Cameroon and the Guttmacher Research Institute, USA, had found.

Prof. Gervais Bennguisse, study coordinator, presented the findings to the press in the presence of the Director of the Guttermacher Institute, Dr. Akinrinola Bankole on July 29 in Yaounde.

The study posits that if women’s needs on contraceptives are met, there would be 373,000 fewer unwanted pregnancies each year, a decrease of 76 percent. Besides, unplanned births, abortions and miscarriages would be reduced and 1300 fewer women would die.

This, against the backdrop that Cameroon has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, as an estimated 782 women die from pregnancy or delivery-related causes per 100,000 live births.

Consequently, 6,000 women die every year many who had not wished to be pregnant in the first place.

Lack of access to quality family planning services expose women to unwanted pregnancies and risks of childbirth without adequate care.

Meeting women’s needs for modern contraception is seen to be central in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, MDG- improving maternal health, reducing child mortality and can combating HIV/AIDS.

But, the study indicates that the current contraceptive use in Cameroon is inadequate, with only 37 percent of the 2.3 million women of the reproductive age using modern contraception methods.

Women in the northern region are more at risk as a result of cultural values that limit access to contraceptives while the low income women are at risk of unwanted pregnancies.

Among the reasons for the none use of contraceptives are, concerns about side effects, the cost of family planning and lack of adequate trained health care personnel among other.

In this vein, in 2013, there were an estimated 490,000 unwanted pregnancies, 80 percent of them not using contraceptives and 175,000 of the unintended pregnancies ended in abortions.

The study indicates that investing in family planning can save money. In 2013, government spent FCFA 6.87 billion and it would cost FCFA 12 billion to fulfill half the unmet need for contraception. But the expenditure for reproductive health represents only 1.1 percent of the health budget.

Government is urged to increase investment in reproductive health to attain the goal of doubling contraceptives prevalence by 2020. Also, to achieve significant reduction in maternal and infant mortality, government needs to invest in health care and service delivery infrastructure.

The study was equally presented to government, international organisations and heads of diplomatic missions to Cameroon.

Bankole on the occasion expressed satisfaction on the collaboration between IFORD and the Guttmacher Institute and promised to step up research in other areas related to reproductive health.