DO MODERN UGANDAN JOURNALISTS NEED TO STUDY CRITICAL THINKING?

DO MODERN UGANDAN JOURNALISTS NEED TO STUDY CRITICAL THINKING?

 Mr. 10,000volts, Lugemwa Kenneth broadcasting on the airwaves of RTF Radio.

By: Lugemwa Kenneth.

I recently asked my Social Media lecturer Mr. Abu Kawenja if a modern journalist in Uganda can stand the competition without sound knowledge of the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue. He told me that a modern journalist must not take pride in ignorance. S/he must know how to use a computer and the social media e.g. the internet, face book, twitter blogs, etc. and must embrace whatever new technology that comes across the spectrum.  The following day I opened up a face book account and to my surprise, I immediately found my missing great friend Nalubowa Mariam whom I had spent over 10 years without knowing her contacts and whereabouts and now live in New York. Her first massage to me was “thanks to face book, I have finally found you!”   Since then, I doubt if I will ever doubt Mr. Kawenja.

Well; but can a Ugandan-trained journalist compete with foreign international journalists like those working with the BBC and VOA in terms of logical coherence, precision, consistency, objectivity, and articulating ideas clearly and defensibly  without acquiring proper skills and mastering rules of logic as well as studying Critical Thinking as a discipline? Personally I doubt because I think logic and critical thinking should be the basis in the journalism profession.

What is LOGIC? It is a tool for reasoning correctly; it’s about relating things correctly/relating judgments. It is a complete academic course-unit in itself taught in many international universities and colleges.  What is CRITICAL THINKING?  It is a manner of  thinking about any subject, content, or problem in which the thinker improves the quality of his thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them. It involves correct thinking in persuade of relevant and lively knowledge about the world. Thus, critical thinking is reasonable, reflective, responsible, and skillful thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do.

Then who is a CRITICAL THINKER?  A critical thinker is one who is able to think well and fair-mindedly not just about his own beliefs and viewpoints, but about beliefs and viewpoints that are diametrically opposed to his own. Thus, a person who thinks critically can ask appropriate questions, gather relevant information, efficiently and creatively sort this information reasoned logically from that information and come to a reliable and trustworthy conclusions about the world that enables him to live and act successfully in it.

Is Critical thinking important to journalists? Yes of course! This is because in the fast-growing world today, we have a knowledge explosion. The economy, politics, science, etc. are driven by information and technology; thus good critical thinking is needed in dealing with all this information and choosing what is useful to us and our audience. Critical thinking encourages us journalists to express our ideas clearly and systematically. So we learn some skills of presenting our ideas and also improving our comprehension in matters of interpretation of texts. Besides, it promotes creativity since it helps to come up with solutions to constant problems that the media faces today e.g. unbalanced, subjective, and biased reporting, unethical editorial policies, cheque book journalism, and  a divided press.

All human beings think; by virtue that we are all rational beings. But the problem is that sometimes some of us don’t think correctly and that makes the big difference. I wish the National Curriculum Development Centre could incorporate both Logic and Critical Thinking disciplines in the Media courses. What do you think?

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2 Responses to DO MODERN UGANDAN JOURNALISTS NEED TO STUDY CRITICAL THINKING?

  1. Pingback: Is advertising pressure eroding editorial independence? | RUMBLINGS

  2. Silas Anguzu says:

    It goes with out saying that logic and critical thinking are key for the expression of thought however the same can not be said of our journalists. Generally speaking, Uganda is still in professional infancy. We take jobs to earn a living and not to stand for ideals. The result is that so called professionals are easily compromised and never stick to any standards…

    But a few stand out a midst insurmountable pressure and at the risk of losing their jobs!! All is not lost though, social media, blogs and other tools are helping independent voices express themselves most eloquently on a global scale and the only barrier today is personal creativity…

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