Recent Journalism Training Program Activities
|Journalists gather in the Van Dyck courtyard for group photo after the wrokshop
Iraqis, Qataris, and Yemenis are benefiting from the outreach programs of the Journalism Training Program (JTP) which operates under the auspices of AUB’s Regional External Programs (REP). In late January JTP conducted two concurrent workshops in investigative journalism in Yemen for 20 print and 10 broadcast reporters and editors as a part of a government campaign to combat corruption. The journalists, from every corner of the country, were selected on the basis of balanced regional representation of the various governorates in keeping with political sensitivities.
The Yemenis, guided by JTP director Magda Abu-Fadil and co-trainer Sanaa El Jack, an editor with the pan-Arab daily “Asharq Al-Awsat,” tackled assignments on a number of subjects especially sensitive in a conservative, patriarchal society—rape, the smuggling of children, the prevalence of arms (increasingly among minors), financial corruption within government ranks, the proliferation of illegal medical centers, negligence in hospitals, the sale of expired medications, torture in prisons, and questionable construction standards. In a proposal for tackling the issue of child nabbing in Yemen, workshop participants Yehia El Hazzar and Fahd Al Mahyoub wrote, “We aim to familiarize listeners with the danger of this social phenomenon, the reasons behind it, and appropriate solutions to deal with it.” Kafa Al Hashli, an editor at “Al Ayam” newspaper, investigated the “rape of women by relatives and its social implications,” aiming at “outing” the subject and exposing its detrimental long-term effects on the country. She planned to familiarize Yemeni women in five provinces with their legal and social rights in order to win acceptance of them and their children through civil society organizations.
A workshop in Beirut February 11-13 helped 13 Iraqis with varying degrees of journalistic and public relations experience to advance their careers. The Journalism Training Program worked with the refugees on crisis management in the 21st century, the nature of news and the setting of priorities, the importance of linguistic skills, and the role of the press office. The training included interviews, news conferences, building a strategic media plan, media ethics, and a visual identity scheme. JTP director Magda Abu-Fadil, explaining how to set up a digital newsroom, also introduced participants to the changing face of multimedia and the need to incorporate online and social media into their integrated communications thinking.
The event was sponsored by International Medical Corps (IMC), a global, humanitarian, nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health care training, and relief and development programs.
A few days later Director Abu-Fadil was off to Qatar to conduct two brief workshops on media literacy for school activities coordinators and parents in Doha.
The training (February 24-26), was held at the request of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs. Media literacy is the pet project of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, the country’s first lady, who is behind a multi-year strategy to address the media’s impact on youth identity formation in the Arab world.
The workshops tackled “glocalization” of the media (moving from the local to the global), media content analysis, dealing with multimedia and social media, interactivity and “screenagers,” digital media filtering, developing media literacy skills, educators’ roles, parents’ input, critical thinking, and empowerment.
Participants were enthusiastic. One said “higher-ups” should take the workshop “to convince them of the usefulness of the media.” A board member of Qatar’s Al Khairiya School said, “Media today are a key factor in changing ideas and personal beliefs and we should capitalize on them to benefit us all.”