The Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission has advised journalists to take advantage of print media to tackle the ‘fake news’ phenomenon driven by social media. Mr. George Sarpong was speaking at the launch of Wisconsin News, a campus and community newspaper produced by Communications students at Wisconsin.
Mr. Sarpong said that far from being an obsolete medium, print offered the opportunity for journalists to explain the ‘how’, the ‘why’ and the ‘what next’ of stories that broke on social media.
The NMC Executive Secretary added: “As more and more of these kinds of distortions continue on social media, readers would turn to printed text to confirm authenticity. This is what media experts call the power of legitimation.
“Social media has not yet rivaled the newspaper’s capacity for analysis. Wisconsin could provide niche content in your community in a manner that would make your newspaper and your reporters the reference point for all big stories in this community. I see a lot of hope for you.”
Officially launching Wisconsin News, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Obeng Mireku commended the School of Communication Studies for providing an “experiential learning tool” through which students could apply “the abstract theories, principles and norms of modern journalism they are exposed to in the classroom”.
Prof. Mireku added: “Wisconsin has become a trailblazer in this enterprise of a purely student-driven community newspaper and soon other institutions may want to follow.”
The Vice Chancellor added that the newspaper served as a training ground to prepare students to be champions of the constitutional right to free speech and media freedom as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, Article 21 (1) (a).
For his part, Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere, the Head of Department, School of Communication Studies, said it was imperative for students to combine theory with practice in order to hone skills that would make them competitive in the market.
The newspaper was produced under the guidance of Print Journalism lecturer, Mr. Kofi Yeboah.
Wisconsin News is on sale for GHc 1 at the Main Campus in North Legon and at selected newspaper vending outlets. Complimentary copies are also distributed to various groups and businesses in the community.