Microsoft Nigeria exposed journalists to benefits of Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Windows 8.1 at a one-day capacity building training for the Nigerian media. The training was held by Microsoft in conjunction with its Gold certified partner, Ha-Shem Network Services Limited, also known for its world class IT solutions and training.

Office 365 is a major offering within Office 2013 which is the next iteration of Microsoft’s flagship office product line for customers and is designed to work with both touch and a mouse, and works seamlessly in the cloud, giving the user an unmatched on- and offline experience.

A cloud service designed for busy households and people juggling ever-increasing work and family responsibilities, the Office 365 Home Premium includes the latest and most complete set of Office applications; works across up to five devices, including Windows tablets, PCs and Macs; and comes with extra SkyDrive storage and Skype calling.

Microsoft Windows 8.1 brings significant advantages to those who are upgrading existing PCs or purchasing new ones and comes with a new look.  The operating system offers improvements in performance and existing capabilities.

To address challenges of weak technology reporting in the African media which is unstructured and shallow, and to bridge journalists’ reporting skills gap, Microsoft aims to provide local journalists with the tools they require to enable them report confidently on ICT issues, use technology properly in their day-to-day activities and create an affinity to the Microsoft brand and its solutions and services.

Media, Microsoft NigeriaMore than 20 journalists drawn from major media houses in Nigeria participated in the capacity building workshop.

Explaining motivation for the programme, Yemi Orimolade, PR Lead for Microsoft Anglophone West Africa said, “As a technology enabler, we believe IT capacity building contributes significantly to economic empowerment, growth and development, and will offer the appropriate skills to the media to use technology in innovative ways”.

Professor Lai Oso, Dean School of Communications at the Lagos State University, Lagos gave a keynote address on Bridging the gap between Technology & News Reporting.

According to him, audiences have moved away from being consumers of news to news producers as a result of latest trends in the technological landscape. Journalism in turn has moved away from the way it used to be and there is hardly any traditional media without an online version.

“Migration from the offline environment to the online has made it important to always update stories.  New technologies create challenges and opportunities and yesterday’s skills and technology are fast becoming obsolete,” he said.

The workshop course content included Big data, One note, Antipiracy, Social media, Understanding Cloud Computing and Windows 8 & Office 365 experience.

The session on big data was facilitated by the duo of Marcus Stephens and Craig Corte of Kagiso Media. Marcus spoke on how data can be applied from a technological perspective for depth, frequency and reach.  “Though technology may change the way we communicate, it will not change the essence of communication,” Stephens submitted.

The session on Microsoft One Note was taken by Azubuike Nwajagu, IT Manager, Microsoft West East and Central Africa & Indian Ocean Islands.  He said “Microsoft One Note is an effective tool for recording, collating and sharing notes. OneNote is particularly advantageous to journalists as it enables audio and video recording which is useful for recording interviews.  The tool also enables interview transcription and allows for sharing of notes via email’.

The antipiracy session taken by Temofe Ugbona, Antipiracy Conversion Manager, Microsoft Nigeria was a very interactive one, where he stressed that piracy is a problem of the whole world, not just Nigeria and is projected to be worth $7.4b by 2014.”

“Social media has become increasingly popular with the growth of social networking as a channel of communication. The use of blog posts and social networking sites have become major media for sharing information, videos and pictures.  There are over two million Nigerians on Facebook and YouTube has been rated the second largest search engine in the world,” said Kendra Nnachi who facilitated the session on social media.

Yomi Alarape anchored the session on cloud computing, where he gave insights on datacenter evolution through the traditional, virtualization, private cloud and public could, while the Windows 8.1 and Office 365 experience session facilitated by Bamikole Ajayi, where participants were able to touch, feel, play and have hands-on experience with devices operating on the Windows 8.1 platform.

Giving his thoughts on the training, Abiodun Ogunjobi, Head Marketing, Ha-Shem Network Services Limited said, “We are excited to partner with Microsoft on this maiden edition of the journalist capacity building training project for the Nigerian media.  The benefits of IT education cannot be overemphasized and we feel this is a good way to positively impact their reporting to be at par with the advanced world journalism.”

Participating journalists commended the continuous efforts of Microsoft and Ha-Shem Network Services Limited at encouraging technology penetration as well as personal growth of their partners. Adeyemi Adepetun of The Guardian Newspaper speaking on behalf of the journalists said, “We thank Microsoft for this opportunity.  It has been a very enlightening experience.  We now have better understanding of Microsoft software packages and the opportunities that exist in online and social media as effective communication channels. IT skills are certainly a prerequisite for future achievement”.

Media, Microsoft Nigeria, TrainingParticipants came from various media houses such as The Punch Newspapers, The Guardian Newspaper, ThisDay Newspaper, Champion Newspapers, BusinessDay Newspaper, National Mirror, The Sun and Vanguard Newspapers amongst others.

Certificates of participation were given to all the journalists at the end of the one-day workshop.