Annelie Frank spent two weeks as an Expert Mentor on The Rwanda Media Programme in October 2022. She tells us a bit more about what it is like to be a volunteering journalist for Fojo. The Expert Mentorship is a volunteer programme where Swedish journalists (mostly) travel to Rwanda for a reciprocal exchange of expertise with media professionals and students of journalism in Rwanda.
You have just come back from Rwanda where you have worked as an Expert Mentor on Fojo’s Rwanda Media Program for two weeks. What have you been working on there?
I’ve taught fact-checking and all that it entails. It’s involved lectures on the theory of information disorder, terminology, on the recipient of disinformation, the psychology of processing messages and also at lot of practical tools for verification of published digital material. Fact-checking as a journalistic genre is about verifying already published material, but the same methods can of course be used in more traditional journalistic work as well.
Who did you teach?
Mostly professional journalists from the 25 media houses that are part of Fojo’s program in Rwanda, but also teachers on the journalism school and staff from PAX Press, Fojo’s main partner in Rwanda. I also taught students. It’s a privilege to receive direct access to professionals in the Rwandan media industry in this way and to have the opportunity to discuss fact-checking with them. We had a lot of interesting discussions about for example how disinformation often changes to misinformation, the difficulties to sort malinformation from relevant information and the role of journalism in the ongoing information war about Ukraine and Russia.
How has your visit been?
It has been a nice – and busy – time where I also learned a lot from the participants in my trainings. This is my fourth time in Rwanda and I really like it here, I feel so at home and I recognise people and know quite a few by now. For example one of the students I taught the first time I was here, now works in one of the media houses in our program and was attending the training I had for the local media houses.