Source: Nala Academy website

By Kemiso Wessie: 
Nala Academy for Media and Journalism Training, a South African-based media training institution, launched on August 30th with corporate training and varied media courses from television to journalism fundamentals.

As a subsidiary of Nala Integrated Media, a company started in 2018, Nala Academy is Black-owned, women-led and backed by some of Africa’s most recognisable names in the media space, including CEO Dudu Qubu and co-founders and directors Katy Katopodis and Penny Peppa. Several of those involved were previously with Eyewitness News in Johannesburg.

The head of training and courseware development at Nala Academy, journalist and trainer Camilla Bath, told AJENda that the academy was born out of a desire to bridge the gap between lessons at journalism institutions, and the needs of the newsroom.

She added that the academy’s immersive training techniques highlights the need to find ways of maintaining the fundamentals of journalism in reporting accurately, sensitively and compellingly, while also using what is available and working within known constraints that exist in African newsrooms.

The academy seeks to help journalists and communicators across Africa tell better stories. “Nala Academy is launching at a time in which journalists, more than ever before, have a critical role to play in restoring public trust both in media and democracy,” said the launch press release on August 30th 2022.

Journalism has changed where anyone who owns a smartphone can report and disseminate news and audiences have a choice about which platforms, sources and when they will consume their news. Journalists are no longer originating the news, “we are now becoming curators, verifiers and amplifiers,” but agents of misinformation and disinformation can abuse this, said Bath.

Bath believes that a challenge facing journalism education is how it can be made “future fit, and future focused,” where a lot of journalism education that is happening is still struggling to modernise. Contemporary journalism across the world requires practitioners to be a bit of everything, “we need to be our own producers, our own reporters, our own film crew, our own social media desk, we need to embrace all aspects of journalism and become truly what I call platform agnostic,” said Bath.

Nala Academy prides itself on its innovative skills-focused training practices created by well-known African journalism practitioners who know what journalists and communications specialists need when they leave the lecture hall or classroom.

“This launch is a chance for us and our team of expert facilitators to inject decades of industry knowledge, experience and passion directly into newsrooms in South Africa and across Africa, while also equipping them with the skills they need to survive and thrive in the digital world,” said Katopodis in the press release.