By AJENda correspondent

The African Journalism Educators’ Network (Ajen) is planning to take significant further steps, with a meeting planned in Kigali, Rwanda, in late August and a draft constitution under discussion. The Kigali meeting will take place on August 28, under the theme “Teaching new African journalisms”, and will take place immediately before the conference of the East African Communications Association (Eaca). A draft programme will soon be made available, with a packed day of discussions on issues that include artificial intelligence, teaching journalism in conflict zones, campus media, expectations from industry players and others.

  Vidar Nordli-Mathisen via Unsplash

Both the Ajen and the Eaca events are being hosted by the University of Rwanda. The theme of the Eaca event is “Media, communication and social justice”. Meanwhile, Ajen has begun the process of setting up a formal structure, in the form of a
membership association.

According to a draft constitution being discussed, Ajen will aim to strengthen “the teaching and study of journalism and related fields in Africa” through fostering discussion and the exchange of information, and developing joint projects and collaborations. In addition, the network intends to boost the standing of African journalism, its teaching and research in the international community of journalism teaching and scholarship.

The draft constitution makes provision for membership by individuals as well as institutions active in the field.

Dr Franz Krüger, co-ordinator of Ajen’s steering committee, said Ajen had grown strongly and it had become clear that the informal structure used so far was no longer sufficient. At the same time, he noted that the administration would be kept as light as possible. “Too many previous initiatives have failed because they set up with infrastructure that needed funding. When the funding ended, the initiative died,” he said.

A key discussion for the network will be what projects it can undertake to benefit members.