The ONLY active voice for American Arab Journalists.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

American University of Beirut adds journalism training program

AUB Adds journalism training program

The American University of Beirut launched on May 16 a wide-scale journalism training project for Arab reporters working in print, broadcast and online media.
The project was made possible through a generous sponsorship agreement made between Ms. Sarah S. Alfadl, a Saudi-American lawyer/activist, and the REP's Office.

"AUB is proud to be part of this endeavor to provide reputable and reliable training to journalists in the region," said Provost Peter Heath, during a news conference, held in College Hall B-1 to announce the new program. "We are deeply grateful to Ms. Sarah El-Fadel for providing both inspiration and financial backing for this program of training."

"I believe people cannot intelligently participate in the democratic process unless they have access to accurate and timely information provided by a free and professional press," said Alfadl of the new program, adding that she hoped others would follow suit and invest in Lebanon's revival.
Al-Fadl added that she chose to support the program because she believes in Lebanon's long history of press freedom and its ability to remain a leading democracy in the region. Moreover, she said that she found in AUB the perfect partner for such an endeavor.

The Journalism Training Program (JTP), which is part of AUB's Regional External Programs, is scheduled to conduct its first workshop in "Investigative Journalism," in July 2007 and plans to offer other courses in the coming months focused on "Citizen Journalism," "Elections Coverage," "Newsroom Management," and "Science/Health/Environment Journalism."

The JTP was created to provide journalists from the Gulf to North Africa with year-round courses in various topics including basic news reporting and writing, editing, war/safety coverage, online journalism, and media ethics in Arabic, English and French.
Additionally, it will conduct workshops in media literacy and corporate communications/media crisis management, both at AUB and in-house where requested, and is destined to become a regional hub for Arab journalism training -- something Alfadl hopes other sponsors will also encourage.

AUB's Regional External Programs, which has been running other successful training and consulting projects for about two decades, aims to plug the gaps in existing efforts and meet new needs of the media through the JTP. While the Arab world has seen a proliferation of media in recent years, not all have been adequately serviced by sustainable training to meet their needs and to cope with technological advances.

Leading the new effort is Magda Abu-Fadil, the JTP's founding director, who brings years of experience as a foreign correspondent and editor with international news agencies such as Agence France-Presse,and United Press International; newspapers such as Asharq Al-Awsat, Al Riyadh and Defense News; and magazines such as The Middle East and Events; and, as an academic and a media trainer.

Until February 2007, Abu-Fadil was director of the Institute for Professional Journalists at the Lebanese American University. She taught journalism at American University in Washington, D.C. -- from where she graduated -- and was coordinator of the journalism program at LAU for six years.
"The Journalism Training Program's aim is to train journalists so they can confront any challenges they might face in their work, thus sparking a renaissance in this sector in this part of the world," said Abu-Fadil, during the news conference.

"This is an exciting challenge and we hope to turn AUB into a beehive of Arab journalism training and education with state-of-the-art facilities," she said. "It's only fitting that Lebanon, with AUB at the helm, lead the charge."

Communications Professor and chair of the JTP steering committee called the new program "a dream come true" for which he had worked for more than 40 years. The need for such a program is ever more important, he said, because most news outlets have focused on building infrastructure and acquiring hi-tech equipment instead of investing in human potential.


No comments: