One hundred VOA-trained citizen journalists will fan out across the Democratic Republic of Congo in the coming weeks in a pioneering social media project that will enhance news coverage of the November presidential election and provide a grassroots forum for key issues facing the country.
The citizen journalists, who are being trained by VOA project coordinators working throughout the French-speaking country, will use inexpensive mobile phones to post photos, videos and stories directly to special Facebook and Twitter pages set up for the project.
The Chief of VOA’s French to Africa Service, Idrissa S. Dia, says the contributions of the citizen journalists, which are already being posted on the social media sites, will supplement the work of professional reporters to create a vibrant news-gathering and news-sharing community.
Dia says, “These reports and observations from around Congo’s 11 provinces will create a true national conversation about topics that matter most to people, their families and their country, including the electoral campaign, the presidential election on November 28 and the issue of gender violence.”
In addition to providing training and technical assistance to the citizen journalists, VOA’s French to Africa Service will provide professional and editorial guidance and curate the social media sites. The “100 Citizen Journalists” project is a partnership between VOA and the U.S. State Department, which funded the program.
VOA French to Africa can be heard on AM and FM affiliate stations around the Democratic Republic of Congo, on shortwave and on the Internet.