UNESCO promoted training on business skills for Liberian media
UNESCO has completed the second phase of its media sustainability programme in Liberia, with the training of key media managers in business management and planning. The training, funded by Danida, was conducted from 23 to 27 January 2011 at the Liberia Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), IREX, USAID and SPARK-BSC Monrovia.
The media managers’ training follows the launch, in November 2011, of the monthly Media, Business and Sustainability (MBS) Exchange meetings to foster and promote ties between the business/advertising community and the struggling media outlets in the post-conflict country. A second MBS Exchange meeting, with a focus on “Customer Care”, was also successfully held at the Chamber of Commerce, on January 27, at the close of the managers’ training sessions.
The partnership between UNESCO and the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), which has assigned a Knight International Journalism Fellow to the project, will ensure that seven major media outlets that participated in the training programme will now advance to the third phase of the project, receiving personalized business coaching over the next several months, ending in August 2012. The fourth and last phase, scheduled to begin in May 2012, will be dedicated to the implementation of the business and marketing plans, which includes adjustment of current advertising rates and possible staff re-assignments, as well as monitoring of progress in achieving financial sustainability.
Eleven managers participated in the training, six belonging to three major radio stations: The Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS), Sky FM and The Liberia Women Democracy Radio (LWDR), and five belonging to the newspaper industry: Daily Observer, Inquirer, Public Agenda and Heritage. The certified training, provided by BCS Monrovia, will help media managers design plans for sustainability, using marketing and advertising tools. In addition, the Knight Fellow will review the media outlets' current programming in order to make recommendations on changes in content that parallel the marketing and advertising efforts.
The Fellowship is a key element of UNESCO's recent investment in media development in the Mano River states of West Africa, with Liberia chosen as the pilot case study. The media outlets selected have been identified as having the largest audiences and reach, and/or the greatest potential to become self-sustaining and attract revenue.