THE Bendigo Advertiser has hosted a tour of 10 senior staff from five community radio stations in East Timor.
The group visited Bendigo as part of an Asia Pacific Journalism Centre program designed to strengthen East Timor’s community radio to advance civil society and contribute to improved governance in the country.
Centre director John Wallace said the program’s objective was to provide the group with improved skills and insights to strengthen their ability to serve and engage with their communities as radio workers.
“Community radio in East Timor plays a vital role in reaching people in remote communities,’’ Mr Wallace said.
“In some places it’s the only game in town, either because there is no other media available or because national media is not in the local language. In most districts there is no other local media.
“An important part of this (AusAID-funded) fellowship program is to show the broadcasters how community radio stations in rural Victoria connect with their communities, including as volunteers producing their own programs.
“This group will now be better equipped to get community members in theirr districts to produce urgently-needed programs on nutrition, maternal health, and general health education to deal with the widespread health challenges across East Timor.
“The group has also been inspired by the depth and scope of regional newsgathering carried out at the Bendigo Advertiser.
“The Bendigo-Maubisse Friendship Society has provided very generous support for the group during our visit to the region. “The group was fascinated to hear about the society’s activities in the Maubisse region over the past year, including the establishment of a Women’s House to build women’s work skills.”
Bendigo Advertiser editor Rod Case gave the group a tour of the newsroom. “The group asked some insightful questions about how the Bendigo Advertiser engages with its community,’’ he said.
“There was also a real interest in how the Bendigo Advertiser is using social media to engage with readers. Not only readers, too. The group was interested in how the newspaper is attracting advertisers to our digital platforms.”