Date: Saturday, 23 March 2019
Participants of the four-day training were journalists working in Eritrea’s Ministry of Information, and Communicaton Specialists working with various United Nations (UN) agencies in Eritrea. The trainers were Joseph Nyanoti from Kenya and Jimmy Adriko from Uganda. The two are former journalists with East Africa’s leading media houses, who have extensive experience in digital photography training through hands-on coaching and in the academia.
The training was opened by the Head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Eritrea, Mr Soufiane Adjali, who is also the Chair of UN Communication Group (UNCG). Mr Adjali noted that photography was a powerful tool in modern journalism and advised the participants to take the course seriously as a way of strengthening their skills in the increasingly challenging world of journalism.
Participants were taught how to use cameras to take photographs under different lighting conditions and contexts. They were also taught the rules of composition as a guiding principle to taking communicative photographs. Participants were divided into groups and given various assignments to take photographs on the streets of Asmara after which they shared the photographs in plenary, with feedback and guidance from the trainers.
Other skills taught were developing and executing a photo story, and editing photographs using Adobe Photoshop. Participants were also taught how to use mobile phones to take journalistic photographs, edit and transmit them to various news platforms.They were also taught how to maintain digital photography hardware and software as a critical skill for a photojournalist. The training concluded with a discussion on the legal and ethical principles that guide the work of photojournalits.
The training was highly interactive and participants’ enthusiasm to learning was demonstrated by the way they continuously consulted the trainers during the sessions and breaktimes.
Awarding certificates to particiants at the closing ceremony, the UN Resident Cordinator in Eritrea, Ms Susan Ngongi congratulated the participants for successfully completing the course, and urged them to practice the skills they had learnt in order to improve on their communication work. She further urged them to use the new skills to tell the Eritrean story. Commenting on the training, many particiants expressed satisfaction with the training, with a number of them saying they were confident to use digital cameras in photojournalism.
“I can now confidently use the aperture-priority and shutter-priority modes to take sharp photos,” said one participant working with a UN agency. She added that before the training she was not confident to use her new DSLR camera. Although participants were unanimous that the training had made a big contribution to their photojournalism skills a number of them felt that the course needed more time.