Trainers Can Remain Foreign to Local Journalists

Duran, Ragip
June 2005
Nieman Reports;Summer2005, Vol. 59 Issue 2, p83
This article addresses the problems encountered by foreign trainers when training local journalists. The road to becoming a journalist often travels through some kind of organized training and education in journalism in which a person learns about journalistic values and methods that are universally agreed upon. But the practice of journalism can be a peculiar, subjective, local and original activity. Perhaps the most obvious problem is language. Even if the trainees might speak and understand English, they need to think in the language they publish and broadcast in, and not in English. Add to this is the fact that trainers do not usually come from the same cultural and educational background as the foreign students they are lecturing, and the chances improve that the lecture will be a solid one but hollow in content to its audience. It will be interesting but not terribly applicable or of any practical long-term use. In training journalists, it must be taken into account that the reader is perhaps just as important as the journalist. Therefore, even if trainers communicate with those who are being trained by relying on English as medium, without a good grasp of the target audience, the trainers run a pretty high risk of being regarded as a sort of extraterrestrial as they deliver their advice and lessons. Local traditions, customs, habits and, in particular, the extent and quality of citizens' relationship with the media of their country are all factors a trainer must factor into any training.


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