AKU’s Media Innovation Center hosts Inaugural Fireside Chat

AKU’s Media Innovation Center hosts Inaugural Fireside Chat

The digital age is redefining media’s role in society – challenging its role as the gatekeeper of news. There is an uncomfortable shift in the media sector and traditional media is slowly adapting to new and innovative ways of storytelling.

“I am not a prophet but with the coming of the fourth Industrial revolution, no one will be spared. Not the media houses, not formal employment. The sad thing is, some countries are still debating whether they should move ahead or not with technology,” says Prof Bitange Ndemo.

Aga Khan University’s Media Innovation Center held its inaugural fireside chat in September on ‘The Nexus of Technology, Media and Storytelling in the Age of Digital Disruption and Economic Uncertainty’. Professor Bitange Ndemo, a renowned communications specialist was the key speaker and has experience in information and communications technology.

Prof Ndemo said the fourth industrial revolution is haunting African countries and spoke on key trends such as artificial intelligence, block chain, big data analysis and internet of things.

“Journalism and innovative media content production will benefit from these four trends,” he said, “journalists and media professionals need to take advantage of these advances to remain competitive, viable and responsive to the needs of the citizens.”

Social media has provided an avenue for quick and easy access to breaking news – but with this comes ‘fake news’. Prof Ndemo called on journalists to conduct background checks and verify facts before reporting stories to the masses.

“Many journalists in Kenya, and Africa, hardly verify news unlike some media houses in the West. This can remove the element of objectivity by propagating stories that are incorrect to favour someone’s agenda. Media should make use of Big Data, explore various sources of verification of statements and conduct evidence based investigative reporting,” he said.

Njoki Chege, Director at AKU’s Media Innovation Center, reiterated the need for a hub that journalists and media professionals can grow their skills.

“As a media Innovation Center, we are looking to provide a safe space for media innovators to innovate and create new and fun ways to share their stories,” she said, “We will do this through various trainings that focus on sharpening and teaching skills to media innovators and also through our Innovators-In-Residence program that is designed to incubate or accelerate media innovation ideas for the region.”

The Fireside Chats are a series of highly interactive talks on media, technology, storytelling and the future of journalism. They will be held on a quarterly basis.

Image caption: Professor Bitange Ndemo during his talk at the Inaugural Fire Side Chat.