CITE co-hosts regional media conference

The Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE) will this week co-host a regional media conference, Future of Journalism Education in Southern Africa, on Artificial intelligence (AI) and its future in journalism.

The hybrid conference co-hosted by CITE, Namibia Media Trust and MISA Malawi in partnership with DW Akademie will run from 3 October to 5 October 2023.

On October 3 the conference will be held in Windhoek, Namibia, then move to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe on October 4, and conclude in Lilongwe, Malawi on October 5.

AI is rapidly taking over the world of technology, and in journalism, it may assist journalists with duties such as content generation, verification, audience personalisation, tagging, and data mining.

The conference’s theme is “Empowering African AI” to advance the Future of Journalism Education in Southern Africa.

CITE Programmes Manager, Abigirl Khupe, said the annual ‘Future of Journalism Education in Southern Africa Conference’ will provide participants with the opportunity to learn about and reap the benefits of adopting AI-driven technologies in their journalistic work.

“State of the art software and inventions are introduced every day. Our 2023 conference offers a profound opportunity to reflect on the vitality of media, uncover emerging trends in journalism and media, and gain valuable insights from AI experts, esteemed media managers, journalists and journalism mentors,” she said.

CITE already employs AI in its daily operations and has an AI presenter named Alice who has grown popular with predominantly male audiences.

The hybrid conference, according to CITE director Zenzele Ndebele, intends to provide an exchange of hands-on experiences and innovative thinking in setting the road for the future of journalism education in the region.

“Although AI can help journalists in innovating it also poses ethical, credibility and job security challenges for media organisations so all these are issues that we will discuss during the three day conference,” he said.

The conference has an interesting lineup of speakers and topics while both Khupe and Ndebele added that CITE was excited to champion the theme of “Empowering African AI.”

“We will connect in person or online as we explore AI’s impact on journalism, reflect on the vitality of media, uncover emerging trends in journalism. We promise participants that they will learn valuable lessons,” Ndebele said.

In Namibia, the conference will be hosted by the Namibia Media Trust (NMT) while in Malawi, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi Chapter and DW Akademie will play its part.

The conference will feature a variety of speakers who include Kristophina Shilongo – a Tech Policy Researcher/Research ICT Africa, and Senior Tech Policy Fellow at the Mozilla Foundation, Dr Gregory Gondwe – Assistant Professor of Journalism Studies and a 2022-2023 Harvard Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, Institute for Rebooting Social Media, Dr Francis Mdlongwa -senior consultant in media, journalism and business strategies, Suzgo Chitete – MISA Malawi Trainer/ Investigative Journalist for Nation Publications Limited, Teresa Ndanga, Regional Communications and Malawi Partnership Specialist, Global Water Partnership Southern Africa among others media experts and practitioners.

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