Journalist's Trade: Training Journalists in Foreign Countries

June 2005
Nieman Reports;Summer2005, Vol. 59 Issue 2, p70
This article covers the stories of several U.S. training journalists deployed in foreign countries. Jacques A. Rivard, recently retired from reporting for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, tells what it was like to work with radio reporters in Rwanda in the months before that nation's genocidal attacks began. In trying to teach about press freedom, his students told him that if any of them reacted against the government's methods of control, they feared for their lives. In Iraq, U.S. journalists who fear for their safety if they venture out of protective zones train Iraqi translators in how to act as reporters, according to Patrick J. McDonnell, the Los Angeles Times bureau chief in Baghdad. In the training, McDonnell wrote that the real challenges are developing journalistic intuition, learning to use initiative to follow a story, asking the right questions, capturing the telling details, and identifying issues that attract Western readers. When Rui Araujo, a freelance journalist based in Lisbon, Portugal, traveled to Cape Verde to train reporters at the country's only television station, he found that most of the television reporters did not know even the basic principles of the trade. Nor were these local reporters capable of doing independent reporting due to government pressures on its state-owned media. Lucinda Fleeson, who has authored several international journalism training manuals, worked with 10 Armenian journalists--both in the U.S. and in their country--in an intensive program that taught the skills of investigative reporting.


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