Journalism:Mentoring For Growth

The growing national trend in Nigeria requires that there should be a  decided mandate to provide up coming journalists with professional assistance,guide and advice through mentoring .The older professionals should take the challenge to provide them the friendship an  experienced mentor can give.

 

Effective mentoring can increased satisfaction and competence in journalism. Consequently, professional growth of mentored journalists should out pace non-mentored ones. This, in turn, increases the retention level of new journalists.

Before selecting mentors for new journalists the process of mentoring should be well understood. The mentoring process includes the relationship of beginning journalist and mentor, the necessary knowledge and skills of mentors, and an accountability system to ensure success.

 

On-the-job nurturing  is one assured premises for competency.Then requisite support by mentors can accelerate success and effectiveness among beginning journalists as well as prevent some of them from dropping out of the profession or carrying on with shallow knowledge. 

 Because of its importance,there is the need for media organizations and older journalists on the practice to examine the elements of a successful mentoring program.It could be on individual base or at corporate level.The  elements to  include  in the development of a viable relationship between beginning journalist and mentor, the assignment of a mentor who possesses specific knowledge and skills, and the use of an accountability system.

 

A meaningful relationship between the journalist-mentor and the beginning journalist establishes an effective mentoring experience since the relationship mediates the experiential exchange. Compatibility between the two is based on the interpersonal interactions that occur during the mentoring process. If the personal exchanges between mentor and protégé illicit understanding, caring, and trust then credibility occurs.

 The mentor and protégé’s understanding of each other’s roles and expectations is essential in establishing a basis for compatibility. While mentors tend to have their own ideas about mentoring because of previous experiences, the novice journalist may be uncertain about the mentoring process. Differences in expectations and viewpoints could result in stress and a dysfunctional relationship between mentor and novice journalist. Importantly, the roles and expectations with prospective mentors is in two ways.

First, the  prospective mentors should garner  specific information about the mentoring position. This is at the corporate level. This would include a job description outlining job responsibilities, expected working arrangements, continuing education expectations, types of organizational support/resources, and an accountability system.

 

Secondly, in the application process, the supervising team should always desire to know from the prospective mentors how  to discuss in letter format their views and approaches to mentoring. This discussion would include prospective mentors’ needs, e.g., time, in carrying out the mentoring role.

The team should outline a list of required knowledge and skills mentors should possess to assist beginning journalists’ needs. Such focus area like model,guide,confidant should addressed. The acquisition of this information may require mentors to attend a professional development program. Mentors should view this continuing education both as preparation for their mentoring/supervisory role and as an opportunity to participate in lifelong learning.

First, mentors should be knowledgeable of the beginning journalist’s needs as he progress developmentally as a professional. From the level of a novice advanced beginner, competent journalist, proficient journalist, and expert. Mentors are expected to adjust their mentoring roles (e.g., confidant, counselor, and guide) to meet protégés’ needs as they move through the development stages.

 

Effective mentors help first-time journalists to  deal with the personal issues that arise so that they can focus their attention on the matter of professionalism.

Secondly, mentors, as well as new journalists, should possess good interpersonal skills. The first time journalist doing journalism work under the mentor’s guide can be more an affective experience rather than a cognitive one. In the mentor/beginning journalist relationship, mentors spend much of their time listening, counseling, guiding, supporting, and showing confidence in the novice journalist’s ability.

While mentors provide support and understanding, they must also challenge the new journalists to use their talents to strive for excellence in their professional practice. Moreover, mentors should challenge beginning journalists to be change agents, effecting some change instead of maintaining their status quo.Lastly, knowledge of professional principles is extremely valuable to know how to handle tougher situations that they encouter.

While journalists are formally prepared as events reporters, they may  find themselves tasked to participate in public issues discourse and should be willing and competent to  participate.This journalism mentoring can be one sure way of grooming dependable practitioners. 

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