NGOs, journalists urged to cultivate a symbiotic relationship

Ms. Trudy Kernighan, Canadian High Commissioner in Ghana, on Friday stressed the need for a mutually beneficial relationship between Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and journalists in order to achieve their respective goals.

Ms Kernighan made the call at a day’s workshop for journalists and NGOs on how to better pitch stories to the press and how journalists can use NGOs for story ideas and sources.

It was organised by Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) and the Canadian High Commission on the theme “Bridging the Gap”.

She stated that the media was very powerful and was the most important ally of NGOs and vice versa and thus should cultivate a symbiotic relationship with each other.

“NGOs work directly with the communities while the media disseminate information to the community and relevant policymakers about what happens in the society. Journalists, in order to write accurately, can get statistics and relevant information from the NGOS.”

Ms Jenny Vaughan, overseas coordinator of JHR, said the purpose of the workshop was to ensure that journalists and NGOs understood each other and worked harmoniously together by equipping NGOs to give better stories to the press and journalists, to go beyond using what is written in press releases to researching and doing hard-hitting in-depth stories.

Ms Adisa Lansah, a communications specialist with Plan Ghana, said NGOs could be useful to journalists as sources of relevant information on specific issues, could provide context to a story, staff can serve as resource persons and panellists and could also help connect them to people who had a better understanding of the subject of the story.

“NGOs can be a source of story ideas. We do not want you to just report on an event but to have a feel of what happens on the ground and to write about it.

Ms Lansah added that the media can also act as pressure groups to bring issues such as corruption and human rights abuses to the knowledge of government and educate their audience on them. They can get this information from research done by NGOs.

She cited the lack of proper networking and understanding of each other’s work, NGOs not respecting journalists’ time and journalists demanding money for publishing stories among others, as reasons for the gap between both parties and urged them to see the relationship as a partnership.

Ms Lansah also called on NGOs to put their research findings in context so that journalists working on them could better understand them.

Participants at the workshop brainstormed on how both parties could stay connected, how to write a perfect press release, writing award-winning articles from press releases and how to plan media campaigns.

Source: GNA

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.