IN these pandemic times, when technology is literally providing a lifeline to billions of people across the globe at unprecedented levels, Huawei was excited to team up with the media industry in Trinidad and Tobago to deliver a two-part webinar series on Digital Journalism and Technology Reporting.

Organised by the Trinidad and Tobago Publishers and Broadcasters Association (TTPBA), in partnership with Huawei and its strategic partner bmobile, Huawei was pleased to have two of its senior personnel speaking to journalists and students at the Technology Reporting session on August 27.

Huawei T&T CEO, Jeff Jin, delivered the welcome remarks while Luis Guillot, chief technology officer (CTO) of Government Solutions for Huawei Latin America, explained the key milestones in the progressive growth of the Internet and information communications technology and how this would have benefited the world.

“Huawei is very proud to support this workshop on Technology Reporting because… even with all the access to information out there, people still depend on you, the media, to deliver accurate and knowledgeable information to them,” Jin said.

Noting that throughout history, people have reacted out of fear of the changes that technology would bring, he said the media could help educate the public so that they acted and understood new technologies based on facts not emotions.

“It is therefore in everybody’s best interest to work together to develop highly skilled media,” he stressed, adding that the media can also use technology to showcase various aspects of the country.

Main presenter David Ho, senior digital news leader, content strategist and professor at the City University of New York, said technology was “a very rich beat” with at least 15 story types. He urged aspiring technology reporters to go beyond the surface of technology, and write about how people’s lives were being impacted by technology in both subtle and obvious ways.

Asked after the webinar what he thought might be a good technology angle for T&T journalists, Huawei’s Guillot said: “A great story for today’s new normal is how government is coping during the global pandemic with the technologies they have to serve the people. What services have had to be put on hold, due to the lack of new technologies adoption, and which are priorities for them and why.”

Noting that great technology reporting was about “breaking down what the technology is and what it can do, and how it is benefiting our way of life,” Guillot said: “For instance, a story about the Internet of Things… Wi-Fi 6 is faster, and more things can connect to each access point, using more bandwidth that is available through Wi-Fi 6. Why should this matter? Because by using Wi-Fi 6, I can now better monitor my home’s electricity consumption, or secure my house—from anywhere,” as well as get better quality video, he said.

“Clear video streaming is important now more than ever,” he said, as we are doing both work and school from home, and “there is better delivery of remote education video and faster download of work files, etc, without incident or poor quality, time-consuming buffering, etc.”

To write about technology, Ho advised the journalists “to use it a lot,” so download apps, troubleshoot your own devices, and get the latest devices or go into the stores and try them out, he said. Learn the jargon; understand the basics of hardware and software, industry history and coding; familiarise yourself with the hot topics; and read the tech news, he added, and identified some of his favourites as The Verge, MIT Technology Review, Recode, Cnet, Wired, TechCrunch and PCmag.com.

Emphasising that Technology Journalism was still journalism, Ho listed necessary journalism skills as:

• Accuracy above all else.

• News judgment which, he said, was even more important than technology skills.

• Clarity

• Speed

• Multimedia skills—which would help you in any beat and in any job

• Social

• Sourcing and

• Ethics

The webinar concluded with a giveaway of three Huawei wireless stereo earbuds and closing remarks from Huawei T&T public relations manager Tricia Henry. Referencing a quote from business tycoon Warren Buffet that “the smarter the journalists are, the better off the society is,” Henry told participants: “I want you to be the best teachers.”

She said Huawei wanted to continue engaging with media in more meaningful ways so they could better understand how technology worked. Noting that the company has had 30 university students visit its labs in China over the past four years and engage with its experts in its Annual Seeds for the Future Programme, she said that with the restrictions imposed by Covid-19: “We will continue that programme virtually with students this year, and we are looking at how we can do more virtual tours… and would like to engage local media more on that.”

Adding that there was a need for more specialised technology journalists in Trinidad and Tobago, Henry told the TTPBA that Huawei stood ready to partner with it again to make it happen.

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