The first training session with a cohort of 10 participants was held in ShangriLa Hotel Murree on 10th and 11th May 2022. The second training session with a cohort of 13 participants was held in Lahore on 17th and 18th May 2022 at Four-Points Sheraton Hotel.
The training focused on monetization and best practices for social and digital media. Journalists were introduced to the basics of the media economy and the existing challenges that threatened the sustainability and survival of these media outlets. Furthermore, monetization practices and guidelines across different digital media platforms was part of the training module. Design Thinking exercises were also conducted to brainstorm for alternate revenue generation mechanisms and audience building.
Previously, a needs assessment report my MMFD had found out that a majority of journalists from the target outlets seeked training opportunities for these topics. Diversity of geography, medium and gender were kept in mind when making the initial selection of participants, as well as considering reach and potential growth opportunities. However, the quality of participants at the first cohort on this model was not as high as expected to be, primarily because when it came to new concepts such as diversifying revenue opportunities and business modeling, the capacity of participants invited to the first cohort was worryingly low. Therefore, a more critical assessment was carried out for the participants of the 2nd cohort keeping this in mind.
The second cohort in Lahore was held under the same title, Monetization and Best Practices for Social and Digital Media – and as desired, much better results were yielded in terms of the participants’ pre and post training capacity. In fact, a number of participants from the Lahore training applied their learnings well enough to actually come up with relatively sustainable alternate revenue generation models and content opportunities – which they subsequently also developed into formal pitches for MediaHack, Pakistan’s first hackathon style event for media startups and entrepreneurial journalists – a few of them even got shortlisted.