Veteran female journos train fellow scribes on newsroom survival strategies

By Edith Mugabe

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) held its second Womentership programme of the year in Harare, with 30 participants from all over the country.

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation Journalism Womentorship fellowship program hosts two events each year; the fellowship has been in operation for three years, and this is the fourth year it has been organized for young female journalists in Zimbabwe.

The Womentorship programme is intended to help female journalists learn how to navigate the newsroom through assistance and mentorship from experienced senior female journalists.

Victoria Ruzvidzo, editor of The Sunday Mail, Faith Zaba editor of The Independent, Annie Mpalume, Grace Ruvimbo Chirenje, Martha Mamombe, and Fungisai Sithole, programs manager for the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, were among the trainers.

“To any woman out there, you can be whatever you want, regardless of what society thinks of you. I know a lot of people assume journalism or the media sector is for women who don’t want to settle down, but that is not the case; it is simply society’s perception of us.” said Chirenje.

Zimbabwe Independent Editor, Faith Zaba and FNF programs manager, Fungisai Sithole at the training program.

Ruzvidzo said, breaking news in conflict zones is a very difficult task, but in order to succeed and establish a reputation for yourself as a female journalist, you must be brave and fearless.

 “Do the best that you can to break the glass ceiling in the industry and you have to endure whatever you face whilst in your career and above all work hard”.

Zaba went on to say that while perseverance is necessary for female journalists to shatter the glass ceiling, no story is worth sacrificing one’s life for.

Broadcaster Mamombe focused on promoting oneself and corporate etiquette. According to her, in order to safeguard both one’s own and the organization’s brands, female journalists need to show respect for the establishments they work for.

 “No one will take you seriously if you do not behave well at work and dress the way you want to be addressed,” Mamombe stated.

She emphasized that networking is crucial for aspiring female journalists. She advised the female journalists chosen for the Womentorship fellowship program to join journalism associations such as the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, and the Media Institute of Southern Africa.

 These associations provide mentorship and guidance to aspiring journalists, as well as career opportunities to help launch one’s career.

Fungisai Sithole, the program manager for the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, praised the participants for their commitment to the initiative.

 “I’m very happy that ever since we started this program we haven’t had a vibrant and energetic group like this, I’m grateful for your dedication during the three days you were here, you left other schedules to be here to learn.” said Sithole.

Atrishiya Gondo, a participant, praised the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for launching this program for aspiring young female journalists and expressed her joy at being a part of it.

Participants pose for a group photo after the training program.

 “I’m so honoured to be part of the 2024 FNF Womentorship Journalism program. It’s been an enlightening experience, learning from experts like Faith Zaba, Annie Mpalume , Victoria Ruzvidzo and Grace Chirenje, on how to thrive in the media industry ,”said Gondo

The Womentorship program covered a wide range of subjects related to the media sector, such as the advantages of networking for aspiring young female journalists as well as reporting in crisis zones, business and financial reporting, human rights reporting, political reporting, and investigative reporting.

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