By AJENda correspondent 

In the dynamic landscape of migration and mobility, the role of media is pivotal in shaping narratives and fostering informed discussions. Recognising this, the “Communicating Migration and Mobility – E-Learning Programs and Newsroom Applications for Sub-Saharan Africa” (CoMMPASS) project has emerged as a transformative initiative. Funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+, this three-year course spans 2023 to 2026, uniting a consortium of six African partners and two European institutions.

                                                                                                                                                          Damian Zaleski via Unsplash

CoMMPASS strives to address the challenges of migration reporting while nurturing the development of an African narrative on this critical issue. The project aims to create an innovative e-learning tool to enhance media coverage on migration, providing training for journalism students and practitioners. The focus is on research-based reporting, using reliable data sources, upholding ethical journalism, proficient audience communication, and fostering collaborative journalism whenever possible.

The consortium includes universities in Uganda, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Germany, and Portugal. Notably, Makerere University, Uganda Christian University, Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences, University of Livingstonia, Université Joseph-Ki-Zerbo, and Université Thomas-Sankara are the core partners. Technical University Dortmund in Germany leads the project, with the University of Lisbon in Portugal as the other European partner. The collaboration seeks to encourage regional cooperation and South-South alliances among journalism educators in sub-Saharan Africa.

CoMMPASS addresses the gap in newsrooms across sub-Saharan Africa, where root causes of migration often go unexplored. By focusing on capacity building in higher journalism education, the project aims to positively impact partner institutions, media industries, and societies at large. It aspires to elevate the quality of information, public discourse, and media literacy concerning migration in countries of origin.

The cornerstone of CoMMPASS is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) tailored for journalism educational institutions and newsrooms in sub-Saharan Africa. The MOOC covers migration and mobility, offering a cross-cultural perspective that extends beyond SSA to Europe, the MENA region, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific. It emphasizes a scientifically grounded and practice-oriented model, linking academic journalism education with journalism practice.

The small private online course (SPOC), comprised of 14 modules, is designed for post-graduate journalism students and practising journalists. It offers flexibility for both conventional university learning and short courses. The curriculum spans various aspects of journalistic analysis, research, presentation, editorial marketing, and ethical considerations in migration coverage. Specific modules guide journalists in generating story ideas, pitching stories to editors, and leveraging social media for wider reach.

The SPOC welcomes post-graduate students of journalism and practising journalists. Applicants should possess an undergraduate degree in journalism, media studies, or a related field, or be currently enrolled in an undergraduate journalism program.

CoMMPASS represents a collaborative effort to empower journalists and reshape the narrative around migration, contributing to more informed, ethical, and comprehensive journalism in sub-Saharan Africa.