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    Friday, 21 September 2018

    Universities must build media partnerships

    Dr James Tsabora.

    Mirror staffers and correspondents at the workshop three weeks ago: seated from left to right Brighton Munaki, Nkulumani Mlambo, Elizabeth Mashiri, James Tsabora, Ellen Mlambo, Matthew Takaona and Placida Gonese. Standing first row from left.. Trevor Nyagura, Walter Mafeking, Tatenda Chizu, Nonia Sibanda, Siphatisiwe Mathambo, Tariro Machokoto, Miriam Mangwaya, Nyasha Musambasi, Tawanda Homba and Peter Marimi.. Third row from left to right. Sydney Ncube, Innocent Mudzitiri, Simbarashe Mtembo, Tinashe Tirivavi, Morris Bishi, Rashid Saide and Tatenda Museba. Pic by : Tony Phiri


    MASVINGO – In an information age and a world that has become a global village, it is critical for any university or institution of higher learning to forge partnerships with players in the  mainstream media, Dr James Tsabora, the Dean of law at Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University (ZEGU) has said.
    Dr Tsabora on the other hand urged media organisations to review their news values and take universities as important sources of information. He said media organisations and universities must partner each other as there are long term benefits to be enjoyed  from such relationships.
    "Mutually beneficial partnership or relationship between universities and a media house is inevitable and critical. All parties stand to win; there are few opportunities for losers," said Dr Tsabora.
    He said currently universities think of the media when they want to place adverts on enrolment and recruitment of staff and newspapers think of the Universities when there is a scandal or negative stories.
    He said there is much more to benefit when there are mutual and strategic partnerships. These partnerships must be deliberately worked out.
    Addressing Mirror staffers at the company's half year strategic review workshop held at Flamboyant Hotel three weeks ago, Dr Tsabora said Universities are knowledge generation institutions and their activities needed to be covered for the benefit of the market and stake holders.
    He said Zimbabwean universities have doubled in the last two decades and there is more competition for space and relevance.
    He said through coverage of activities at universities, the media can be used in shaping integrity, ranking and reputation of the institution. As a result the media directly affect, positively or adversely student enrolment, he said.
     "The media shape perceptions about university education and these are Government, students, parents and employers' perceptions. The perceptions can be on integrity, ranking and reputation of universities. "Accordingly the media can make or break a university based on the nature of media items being created on the university," said Dr Tsabora.
    Turning to media organisations, he said journalists have concentrated far too much on politics, economics, sports and violence and he said that there is little coverage of universities. He said that just like the universities, media organisations have also increased tremendously over the last two decades and need to look at fresh opportunities.
    He said there were a lot of roles that the media can play on universities including influencing and or shaping university policy framework. The media can bring to the fore knowledge gaps in society and comparative social solutions from other areas. The media can enhance university syllabi, affect knowledge content and determine utility of university education, said Dr Tsabora.
    "Universities can relate with the media in various ways ie covering varsity major events, and activities and there are career development cantered – internships, attachments, employment recruitment," said Dr Tsabora.

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