As technology continues to transform how people get and share news, journalists and communication specialists were today told to keep up or be left behind.
British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Janet Douglas delivered the warning at the start of a two-day digital media workshop at the British High Commission.
The Change Your Story workshop forms part of Britain’s wider engagement of Commonwealth countries as it prepares to leave the European Union, the UK diplomat indicated.
Pointing out that communication trends had changed dramatically in the past decade and continued to undergo rapid changes, Douglas said it could be “very difficult to keep up”.
Douglas said: “The world of journalism and expressing yourself is hugely different now from what it was even ten years ago.
“You will find that the technologies have leapt forward so quickly.
“Certainly, the way that journalism is done now is something that is completely different from [years ago].
“So the world has changed and as it changes we need, all of us, not just you whose jobs it is to collect and disseminate information and report and comment on events, but us the diplomats in our jobs, we need to be kept abreast at all time with the way the world is communicating.”
Douglas said that otherwise, “we lose our audiences and our access”.
Douglas said with the UK in a “reengagement process” with the Caribbean, it would be reopening high commissions in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, the Bahamas and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
She said: “When the network has been re-established the UK will have the biggest diplomatic network of any country.
“It is a great opportunity for the UK to be engaged without European partners, but it is also a great opportunity for the Caribbean.”
She promised that following the UK’s exit from the EU, there would be tremendous opportunities for “closer trade and political engagement”.
“So we thought that this was a great opportunity as part of our engagement strategy to get a group of you journalists and information specialists together from across the region to talk about how you can harness the new technologies to do your job efficiently and as well as you can,” she said.
Media practitioners from Barbados, Guyana and Dominica were given the opportunity to hone their craft and develop new skills in digital media during the UK-funded workshop delivered by Multimedia Trainer and Mobile Journalism Specialist Dan Mason.
Workshops will also be held in Grenada, St Kitts and Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia.
Reminding the participants that they were advocates for various causes, Mason encouraged them to “look at journalism in different ways, using different tools” while connecting with their audiences.
The workshop was designed to improve the capabilities of participants and encourage a solutions-based approach to journalism. The hands-on sessions were particularly based on creating multimedia content using mobile devices, mobile photography, podcasts and video editing on the go.
Mason said: “What makes this Change Your Story project so different and so exciting is that we are working with journalists across seven countries.
“It is about those journalists collaborating on telling stories for the future that builds capacity both in their own skills and for the region”.
The Change Your Story media training comes a week after officers at the Barbados Defence Force successfully completed a Media Operations course, facilitated by retired Colonel Ronnie McCourt of the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.