About 200 women journalists from across the world have for the first time converged in Durban, South Africa to reflect on the challenges and successes they face in the profession.
During the Women in News Summit taking place under the auspices of World Association of Newspapers (WAN-IFRA), the female journalists took time to reflect on the successes of executive editor of Rappler and former CNN correspondent Maria Ressa whose keynote address provided tips on breaking barriers of traditional media.
Rappler is a social news network based in Phillipines whose approach to news is building communities by using social media.
Ressa said social media was a powerful tool for creating community support when news breaks.
“Technology is the future and you need to be prepared to take risks for your media business. It is a brave new world, amazing and scary. Let us help each other out,” Ressa said.
The summit also held a panel discussion on leading for innovation which brought together women media leaders.
Among others, the summit also celebrated the achievements of Pamela Sittoni, managing editor for The East African and international desk editor for Nation Media Group in Kenya who was awarded the Women in News editorial leadership award in sub-Saharan Africa.
Columnist and contributing editor to Al Masry Al Yom in Egypt, Karima Kamal was recognised with the leadership award for the Middle East and North Africa region.
In her remarks, Sittoni said leaving women out of the editorial desk was akin to excluding half the ideas from the table.
“Leaving women out of newsroom decision making is akin to taking a journey but with one foot,” said Sittoni whose foray in media has also taken her to the post of communications specialist at Unicef Kenya.
Women in News programme lead at WAN-IFRA Melanie Walker said: “What began in 2010 as a small pilot programme has grown today to a multi country initiative with more than 80 partners. We have come a long way.”
The 69th World News Media Congress and 24th World Editors Forum is being held on African soil for the second time.