Palestine often lands in the headlines, whether it’s breaking news about the region’s conflict or a travel feature on visiting the Holy Land. As a result, skilled photographers, camera operators, reporters and fixers are constantly in demand here. Little surprise, then, that when this month’s Gaza crisis erupted, Souktel JobMatch users signed up en masse for media training courses through the mobile service.
The training sessions, hosted by Palestinian film producer and editor Mohannad Mansour, were held in Ramallah in mid-November. Eager college students and new graduates came to learn not just how to take better pictures, but how to sell their work to media outlets and get it seen by the rest of the world. With hundreds of job-seekers responding to the SMS ad for the training, a second course is now booked for December to accommodate those on the waiting list. This, too, was organized entirely through the mobile JobMatch platform–which sends custom text alerts to job-seekers based on their location, career goals, skills and work experience.
“We had a lot of people asking for media jobs and training when we did our latest round of user satisfaction polls,” says Souktel’s Mohammed Kilany, who leads outreach efforts for the Palestine JobMatch service. “It makes sense: With the rise in citizen journalism and greater access to social media, we’re seeing more jobs being created in this sector. And for the thousands of young people who use our service each day, our aim is to help them secure these jobs–by providing real-time mobile updates about where work is available, and where they can find training”.
Adham Swedan, an IT major from Ramallah, is one of these aspiring workers. He believes this month’s course will help him become a front-runner for jobs in the tech and media fields: “I used to think photography was just about taking pictures, but I’ve realized there’s a right way to do it–to be professional and to capture images that will have a real impact on society…it’s a valuable skill and I think it’ll help me down the road.”
Swedan adds that the registration process made it easy to get involved. “To sign up, I just replied to an SMS from my mobile phone–I didn’t have to log in to my email, or visit a website or anything; it took about three seconds, and I was done.”
Adds Souktel’s Kilany: “When news events happen, the demand for field reporters, photographers and fixers is immediate and real-time. Our mobile platform enables us to connect skilled workers with media outlets quickly–so that job-seekers find work, and the networks get the qualified labor they need, right away”.