Modelling has a long history of serving as a powerful form of showcasing different artistic talents such as cat-walking, dancing and fashion.
But from a journalistic perspective, the rationale behind the introduction of Miss Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ) pageant in the country seems to be more than appreciating and promoting beauty and fashion.
Miss MIJ 2015 was held on Friday at its Blantyre Campus in Chitawira and for most of its students it was just another platform to enjoy and choose their next queen and king. Whereas, the contestants were yearning for the enviable crowns for them to be called Mr or Miss MIJ at the end of the day.
Yet, the most critical part of the pageant was hidden in the way the participants handled themselves throughout the event.
We will not bother to delve into details of the beauty pageant because it lacked the whole essence of competition as few contestants were up for the challenge. You may also not be in the wrong to say that it was a Mr and Miss. MIJ for Blantyre campus because there were no faces from Lilongwe and Mzuzu MIJ campuses to try their luck.
Anyway, as aspiring journalists, Miss MIJ 2015 challenged them to apply their professional attributes ranging from the art of public speaking to critical thinking, and socializing process to dress code.
Journalists must be sharp in the head, always thinking critically and ready to fire constructive questions. Further, they must communicate effectively whether in writing or speaking.
However, majority of them fell short of this test when they were given an opportunity to express themselves and their ambitions. Worse still, the audience, comprising energetic future journalists, did not bother to ask for clarity in some of the contestants’ vague manifestos. Was it unnecessary to ask? I don’t think so.
Journalists must ask, ask and ask until they get a clear answer or understanding on a particular subject. But it becomes dangerous when we train a crop of journalists that do not ask questions.
The question was simple: Why did they think were suitable for the crown of Mr. MIJ 2015? People expected clearly spelt vision and strategies but how some struggled to communicate did injustice to their ambitions as aspiring journalists. This just flashed a red card that “A non-speaking journalist or the one who stumbles on own words has no place in the ideal world of journalism”.
Proper dress code is another critical component of journalism practice. News sources want to meet or being interviewed with journalist who are looking smart and presentable. Hence the male contestants at Miss MIJ 2015 depicted a flamboyant epitome of journalism’s dress code when they competed favourably in the category of office wear.
No one wants to talk to a moody journalist with a gloomy face or pre-occupied mindset. So those cheerful faces and smiles from MIJ students scored a highest mark on personality.
From Kettie to Chifuniro, Tendai to Andrew Chilapondwa and Blandina Chinthenga, the faces of MIJ students were cheerful.
Outgoing persons are in a better position to develop easy rapport with news sources including victims. But scoring MIJ students’ level of social interaction based on Friday’s event could be an exaggerated colour because they were only good at dancing and imbibing among themselves. They created an impression that could fit well in a dancing competition.
Overall, Miss MIJ 2015 presented a platform which challenged its contestants and students to think beyond beauty thereby understanding the vital mental tools of their profession that are rarely taught or discussed in class. The ball is in their hand to shot into the right way. n