By Wairimu Wanjage, Communication & Journalism Intern
I was attached to the Lola Kenya Screen audiovisual media festival, skills-development programme and marketing platform for children and youth in eastern Africa from January 13 to April 11, 2014.
As a Communication and Journalism Intern from Kenya Methodist University, my worked involved writing journalistic articles, reviewing and critiquing films, appreciating arts and creativity, and participating in the monthly Lola Kenya Screen film forum where I had the rare chance to moderate two film discussions and participate in public relation activities.
Lola Kenya Screen, I daresay, molded me into a better journalist. I learned about appreciating art and creativity which I had not come across in my school. I found my guide book—How To Write On 1001 Subjects! by Ogova Ondego—quite invaluable.
Before coming to Lola Kenya Screen I had assumed writing was easy till I was asked to write articles. As I leave after my 12 weeks here, I do not hesitate to say I am more knowledgeable now than I was three months ago.
Though I had always watched movies, I hadn’t realised there was more to a movie than just watching it. For a person to say they have understood a movie one must watch it with a critical eye. A person must be able to outline the themes tackled, be able to point out issues to do with sound, camera, story-line, editing, lighting, casting, acting, dialogue and directing, among many other areas that are tackled in film criticism and appreciation.
I have realised that critiquing a movie is a matter of adding value to it so that others can learn from it.
During my internship period, my supervisor provoked me to think critically. He introduced me to the concept of media and information literacy which I did not consider important since I thought I was already media-literate having been to university. I came to understand that I needed the knowledge so that I could not just understand media content but also critique and participate in its creation. We get to watch, listen and read news through different media and formats, but hardly do we ever think of why certain issues are emphasised over others, or even why certain messages will be repeated several times while others are ignored.
Most people who are not media literate tend to believe every word coming from the mass media, be it a radio, television, social media or the internet. It is common to hear them say, ‘the radio said this and this’.
My internship programme made me to change perception about journalism as being a static and non-changing field. Communication is dynamic and keeps changing; that calls upon communicators to constantly update their knowledge and practice. Discipline, focus, determination and a critical mind are crucial here.
Wairimu Wanjage, a 4th year student of Communication and Journalism from Kenya Methodist University in Nairobi, was on Lola Kenya Screen’s 12-week Internship programme for final year college students. The quarterly programme is offered throughout the year.