Broadcast journalism students of the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI) were the toast of the audience on Wednesday, 23 October 2019, as they trashed graduate students from the University of Ghana, Legon and their undergraduate counterparts from the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), African University College of Communications (AUCC), University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) and others to grab the coveted first prize in the maiden edition of the inter-tertiary media and information literacy quiz competition held at the University of Ghana, Legon.
Dubbed “Spot the Fake”, the contest tests students’ knowledge and ability to spot fake news. It is organised by the School of Information and Communication Studies of the University of Ghana in conjunction with Dubawa, an independent verification and fact-checking platform.
Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, Dean, School of Information and Communication Studies, UG, said the school is using this platform to “create awareness about fake news, to sensitise young people, especially students, to be very careful about what they consume and take steps to verify them.”
She added that “during elections especially, we should be wary of things that we receive on social media where we can’t attribute the source or have no idea who the source is. We must take extra measures to determine whether indeed it’s true or fake”.
NAFTI, which was represented by two final-year students, Constance Evans and Noah Batsa Ayertey, garnered 32 points to beat their closest contestants, the Department of Information Studies of the University of Ghana, who had 23 points. AUCC, GIJ, the University of Ghana Department of Communication Studies, UPSA and Wisconsin International University College had 18, 12, 9, 9, 9 points, respectively.
One of the winning contestants, Constance Evans, said they were “disoriented” initially when they received information to join just two days to the competition, especially looking at the calibre of institutions competing. She, however, said that “with coaching and motivation from our lecturer, Mr Selorm Adogla, we burnt the midnight oil and we put in our best.”
Head of the Broadcast Journalism Department at NAFTI, Mary Ayim-Segbefia said “our model which combines theory with serious practical work helps students not only to master their practical skills but also retain a lot of what is taught”, adding that “after all it’s been proven that, participation, which in our case is the practical work, has a very high correlation with amount of lessons that are retained.”
Nana Aba Anamoah, a renowned journalist and news editor, GHone TV who was the special guest advised student journalists to be wary of the gravity of false news out there and sensitise their peers.
The undergraduate degree journalism programme at NAFTI started in 2016 with the current final year students being the first batch. The department has fully-equipped television and radio studios where students put into practice what they are taught. NAFTI is one of the most prestigious media schools in Africa with state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and learning. It places much emphasis on the practical application of knowledge in its pedagogical approach.