• Dumitru Ciorici at the SAJ Discussion Club: “The journalist of the future will be innovative or he will be no journalist”

    What will the media look like tomorrow? Who are the journalists of tomorrow, and what role will they play in the information machine of their times? Can social media exist together with traditional media? Could Facebook or Odnoklassniki replace the press? These topics were explored at a public discussion club, organized by the School of Advanced Journalism at the start of the admission campaign for the 2018-2019 academic year. We invited journalist and vlogger Dumitru Ciorici, the co-founder of the news website AGORA and one of the SAJ trainers, to speak about the perspectives of this profession.

    The discussion – attended, along with SAJ students, by students from the Free International University of Moldova, the Moldova State University, and the “Ion Creanga” Pedagogical University – focused on the development of the media in the age of the Internet, on the role of the media consumer and of those who produce information, i.e. journalists. Dumitru Ciorici says that today, consumers of information are increasingly attracted to online media, because they are cheap, much faster, and more accessible. That is why, in order to survive and remain in the top of public’s preferences, journalists and editorial offices will have to rethink their content and adapt as quickly as possible to new information technologies, in order to attract media consumers and to make them loyal.

    In the opinion of Dumitru Ciorici, “the journalist of the future will have to be able to create good content, to be innovative, and to use all modern technologies in this work.” To argue this belief, he mentioned examples from his own experience as a media manager and, recently, as a vlogger who is conquering a niche on this segment of the market with small but sure steps.

    Young people wanted to know how to practically, efficiently, and attractively combine journalistic content and innovation. In the guest’s opinion, those who will find a perfect balance between old and new, classical and modern, logical and clear thinking of the journalist and new technologies will be the best in this job. “And one of the places where this balance can be quickly and efficiently learned is the School of Advanced Journalism, where I teach a course, too, for the third year now,” said Dumitru Ciorici, thus launching the admission campaign for the 2018-2019 academic year.

    The baton was picked up by SAJ Director Sorina Ștefârță, who mentioned details about the School, about admission, and about the innovations of the new academic year. So, all who want to become professional journalists in record time – only ten months of study, including internship, – can already submit applications.

    Details about the School and about the admission process can be found here. We are ready to answer any of your questions.

  • The SAJ, 13th Graduating Class: A Variety of Challenges, Millions of Opportunities

    Tradition combined with innovation – this is the keynote of the 2018-2019 academic year at the School of Advanced Journalism. This year, the students of the 13th graduating class will have the chance to get to know the journalistic experience of such countries as Romania or Germany, in the framework of the School's cooperation projects. The only condition is for them to show perseverance and determination.

    Perseverance and determination are also necessary to become part of the SAJ team – but there is nothing impossible, because the School is open to all! The conditions are minimal: you need to have graduated from college or to be in your last year at university – doing intramural or extramural studies; you may have an undergraduate degree in law, economics, history, political science, agronomy, technical studies, theater... or anything else, but you want to be a journalist.

    A modern journalist can do just about everything

    For about 13 years now, the School of Advanced Journalism has been the place where this profession can be learned from scratch in just ten months from the best local and international experts, who will help you become the best in this field.

    And since we are in the age of new media, which have generated new realities and new standards, the students of the 13th graduating class will learn to combine classical journalism with new information technologies, which will become their friends or even allies. Because today it is no longer enough for a reporter to be the best in writing news stories, interviews, or reports. Modern journalists can take photos, film, edit, and often even promote their products online. All those things are necessary to capture the attention of media consumers.

    Our future students will work with the best journalists and media experts from Moldova and from abroad. They will share with young people knowledge about new media, about writing news reports that gather the most views, about recording sounds and images, and, most importantly, about turning it all into a good story.

    Also, during the courses future students will test various applications and will film real TV reports, sometimes with just a mobile phone at hand; will learn to create a news portal and start a business in the media; will have the opportunity to meet the most interesting personalities from the world of politics, economy, and society; will participate in various local and international media projects, including study visits to Romania and Germany.

    There are only a few steps to become a student of the SAJ

    To become one of the 20 students of the 13th graduate class, you only need to have higher or secondary professional education, or to be in your final year at college/university, full time or part time. But, most importantly, you need to have ambition, determination, and courage – we’ll help you with the rest!

    Applications shall contain:

    • CV;
    • Form (download at www.scoaladejurnalism.md);
    • Letter of motivation;
    • Essay on a topic of your choice/published article (if you have one);
    • Copy of higher/professional education diploma or a certificate confirming that you are in your last year of study at university;
    • Copy of your identity card.

    Applications can be submitted online, at vmarin@scoaladejurnalism.md

    or directly at the School: 49/4 Tighina Street, 3rd floor, Chișinău

    More details about the admission process can be found at the phone numbers: 022.929440; 079.909414 (Veronica Marin)

    The School of Advanced Journalism opens doors and offers equal opportunities to all!

  • Vasile Gancev: “It is not at all a traditional school”

    The story of our today’s protagonist is just as peculiar as the stories of other graduates of the School of Advanced Journalism. The desire to become a reporter began to “eat” him back when he was getting ready for his final high-school exams. Although at that moment he didn’t know very well what this job means, he says he was fascinated a lot by the journalists who did standups, reporting on the important events of the day. He was convinced that one day he would also get to inform the public. That is why he decided to embrace this profession, which “harmoniously combines reading and writing.”

    So, after he finished high school in the city of Leova – where he studied in Russian, by the way, – he applied to the Faculty of Journalism and Communication Sciences at the Moldova State University (MSU). His goal was to get a state-budgeted place. But since reality often disagrees with our dreams, journalism had to wait… He got, instead, admitted to another faculty of the MSU, where he also applied and which seemed to be completely opposite to his dream profession – Biology and Pedology, with specialization in Forestry and Public Gardens. He accepted the challenge, even knowing that the great difficulty was ahead. That difficulty was the fact that he was to study in Romanian… He knew he would have to work much more than his colleagues. So, in order to adapt easily and quickly to the new conditions, he started reading newspapers and books in Romanian.

    He turned up trumps, overcoming all obstacles. And one day he saw his dream of becoming a journalist come true. How it happened, we’ll hear from Vasile Gancev himself, a graduate of the 2012-2013 school year, who is now a reporter for www.media-azi.md.

    “A tough wait, but it was worth it”

    “I heard about the School when I was a second-year student at MSU. I’d met Mariana Tibuleac, one of the graduates of the School’s second promotion. She told me a lot about the SAJ and about the specifics of teaching. I believe that thanks to her I became a student of the School. She was the one who wrote a letter of recommendation, and I am grateful to her for it.

    Still, I waited to finish my studies at the university. It was a tough wait, but it was worth it. I got my application papers ready and, with optimistic thoughts, submitted them to the SAJ. It was the spring of 2012, and I became one of the 18 students admitted that year. We were a team of recent graduates of different areas: psychology, arts and acting, economy, biology, journalism and communication. This is the thing that differs the School from other educational institutions. To become a student of the SAJ, you don’t necessarily need to do journalism studies at a university. Candidates from all kinds of areas are welcome – social and human sciences, technology, arts, healthcare, economy, and many others.”

    “Oh, this is what you actually look like!”

    “At the admission interview, I already knew some of the committee members, because I used to read newspapers and online media, and some of them I was seeing for the first time. It is a strange feeling when you communicate with the people you only saw on TV or whose works you read. It’s like, “Oh, this is what you actually look like!” I think it’s the effect of television, which sometimes hypnotizes you…

    The way the School of Advanced Journalism works differs from everything we know about a traditional school or university. I remember that from the very first day of classes we started writing news. On that first day we were also sent to do fieldwork! And Mr. Vasile Botnaru kept telling us to be very careful when we write the names and jobs of sources or protagonists in our articles or news reports. “Well, it doesn’t really matter if you get a name, job, or letter wrong,” I thought then… A little later, however, I understood the usefulness of this piece of advice.

    At the SAJ, I learned to hold a camera properly, I saw what button I have to press in order to shoot. I am lucky to have had professional teachers from all segments of the media: TV, radio, online, print media, design, and so on. They are people who do journalism every day and come to us, the students, to teach us writing news, interviews, and investigations, making quality photos, filming and editing interesting TV reports, and even doing newspaper layouts.

    Another very unusual thing for me, at least at that moment, was to evaluate the way a course was taught. We, the students, were grading teachers! Before the SAJ, no one ever asked us what we thought of the teacher. I believe it is a method that should be applied in other educational institutions, too.”

    “The School’s efficiency can be measured by what students do after graduation”

    “All those who get to study at the SAJ go through a filter, meaning that only the best candidates are admitted. And it is highly motivating to know that you are one of the best. People also say that the School contributes to making dreams come true. It is so, but no dream can come true if you don’t invest some effort, sometimes even a lot of effort.

    The School’s efficiency can also be measured by what students do after graduation. Some of my classmates work in print media, others launched their own media projects, and some produced high-profile investigations. It all means a lot of work, dedication, perseverance, and desire to change things in the country.

    However, every young person who wants to prove themselves and study at the SAJ needs to take into account the fact that the School is only a first step in the career of a journalist. The difficult things start at work, in a media outlet, where you need to prove day by day that you are a fair, objective, and unbiased journalist. They teach all these things at the School of Advanced Journalism.”

  • Digital Journalism: Learning to Keep Pace with Innovation

    Rapid development of information technologies and emergence of various online tools made journalists adapt to new changes. Those who do not wish to lag behind need to learn being more efficient and faster and to use not just texts in their materials, but also photos, videos, hyperlinks, etc., so as to have original content. How to write fast and to combine classical text with innovation? All these issues were discussed by the SAJ students during the course of Digital Journalism. The one who initiated the students in the world of media technologies was Dumitru Ciorici, co-founder of the AGORA portal.

    Like other training courses which are held at the SAJ, the Digital Journalism course was split into two parts. In the first part, mostly theoretical, the students learned how to launch and finance a news portal, how to assess the audience of a website, and what criteria influence the increase or decrease of online traffic. Further, they discussed efficient online promotion of content and attended a masterclass where, together with the trainer, they tested a drone.

    Journalists-to-be learned what search engines are and found out why it is important to adapt to mobile versions. According to the trainer, today, having just a mobile phone at hand, we can transmit live images from an accident or from the middle of a protesting crowd or shoot a video during an earthquake, flood or other natural disaster or immediately after it. “A reporter specialized in online work needs to know how to harmoniously complement a text with sound, video, photos and graphics. Otherwise, it will disappear,” he added.

    Dumitru Ciorici invited the students to work alongside the AGORA reporters so they could to put into practice all they learned and to see an online news outlet “live.” Young people participated in the editorial meetings where, together with the editor-in-chief, they discussed and analyzed the topics that were to be realized. Some of the articles were published on the website www.agora.md.

    For example, the student Diana Petrușan was interested to find out what citizens think about the new coins of one, two, five and ten lei, which are to be put into circulation. Her colleague Alexandra Bodarev wrote about waves and potholes that appeared on Ștefan cel Mare și Sfânt Ave. less than a year after the repairs were completed. Elmira Orozova produced a material about “invisible zebra crossings” in Chisinau, and Andrei Cebotari wrote about the Law on 2% directed to NGOs.

    At the end of the course Dumitru Ciorici analyzed, together with the students, the most common journalists’ mistakes, explained to them how to best shoot a video for the Internet, how to write a good news story, which should be short and clear, and how to make the most original photos. Meanwhile, the students of the School of Advanced Journalism are having the last course of this academic year – Community Journalism.

  • Environmental Journalism: Informing, Educating, and Making Readers More Responsible

    We live in the age of technologies and innovation, and the changes that happen vertiginously around us influence everyone’s life and health directly or indirectly. Why is the environment we live in important? What is the role of a journalist in reporting on environmental issues? Where do we find our topics? Why and how should we write about the world around us? The SAJ students answered these questions at the course in Environmental Journalism.

    Lilia Curchi, Natura Magazine Editor-in-Chief, Executive Director of the Association of Environment and Ecotourism Journalists of the Republic of Moldova, the Journalist of the Year 2015 laureate for reporting on environmental topics was the one who trained and guided the School’s students in environmental issues.

    The course started with a theoretical introduction to environmental journalism. The students analyzed several articles on ecology, worked on identifying possible topics, read laws and regulations, and studied the websites of state institutions and various NGOs working in this sphere. The trainer, in her turn, spoke about the principles of environmental journalism, about “invisible” issues directly affecting our health, and, together, they listed the most relevant topics, including air pollution, water quality, illegal deforestation, waste management, green space issues, etc.

    In order to help the SAJ students understand environmental topics better, Lilia Curchi organized several meetings with experts in the sphere. The young people attended a seminar on climate change at the local and world levels, after which they visited the Chisinau Botanical Garden. There, they found out more about rare species of trees, shrubs, tropical and technical plants, visited a breeding ground, and photographed various flower collections.

    During the five days of the course, the SAJ students did three practical works: a news report, an article, and an infographic. Finally, Lilia Curchi advised students to pay attention to details when writing about the environment, to focus on the chosen topics, and to address the environmental element even in materials apparently having almost nothing to do with environmental issues. “Journalists, through their works, not merely inform, but they also make consumers more responsible. Be honest and correct with yourselves, and stay very curious,” the trainer added.

    The next course for the SAJ students is Social Journalism.

  • Social Journalism: Focusing on the Person and Writing about Their Problems

    Social journalism is found in most journalistic materials. No newspaper or newscast appears without a social topic, such as increasing prices, road accidents, living standards, or migration. A person is the main character in all these materials. Why is it so important to write about people? How should we write about their problems and do it correctly? How should we report on sensitive topics? The SAJ students learned more about these issues during the course of Social Journalism. Elena Cioina, www.e-sanatate.md platform media manager, worked with the students.

    The course lasted six days, during which the students learned more about the subject of social issues. Together with the trainer, they discussed the responsibility of social institutions and the role of a journalist in reporting on social issues; they talked about the impact of social media and understood how sensitive topics could be addressed in a better way. During the course, each of the young journalists had to write an article on a social topic.

    After reading and thoroughly analyzing articles with the students, on the last day of the course, the trainer came up with more tips and recommendations for her future colleagues. “Try to search for original elements in trivial issues. Choose complex topics, appeal to sources, and decipher statistics. Always write in a simple way, understandable to everyone, and avoid ambiguous terms,” Elena said.

    For the third consecutive year, as part of the course, the SAJ students had a specialized module – Population and Development Journalism, organized in partnership with the UN Population Fund in Moldova (UNFPA). On that day, the future journalists met several experts in this sphere.

    Together with Valentina Bodrug-Lungu, Gender-Centru President, the students spoke about perceptions and stereotypes related to gender equality. The young people analyzed the realities and perspectives of gender equality and pointed out the values that journalists should promote. During the visit of the second guest – Eduard Mihalas, Population and Development Programs analyst at UNFPA Moldova – the discussion focused on active aging and on migration, which, according to the expert, has had a positive impact on our country. He also gave young people a few ideas on the topics they could address in their future articles as journalists. “How many are we in the Republic of Moldova? Are we going to disappear as a nation? Who will pay our pensions and what should we do about it?” – any of these issues could become a topic for a journalist.

    The last guest of the module – Ludmila Sarbu, Youth Programs analyst at UNFPA – explained to the students why young people and teenagers need health education; she spoke about key issues and myths about that subject and mentioned why a fair and qualitative program on sex education would have a positive impact on young people’s health and well-being in society.

    At the same time, the School of Advanced Journalism continues the course on Multimedia Newsroom.

  • Investigative Journalism: Revealing the Things that Some Want to Hide

    What is a hypothesis? What is a confrontation interview? How do we choose documentation strategies? How do we check the evidence? Where can we find interesting topics of public interest? What qualities should an investigative reporter have? These issues were discussed, analyzed, and researched in one of the most complex courses at the SAJ – Investigative Journalism.

    “A journalistic investigation always starts from an idea and aims to elucidate facts or actions that some people want to hide from the public opinion.” This is how trainer Alina Radu, director of the newspaper Ziarul de Garda, started the first day of the course. The journalist presented to students an online manual with all the information that is necessary to a beginner investigative journalist. Students found out what a journalistic investigation is and learned about its peculiarities. Special attention was paid to journalists’ rights. Students learned about the risks and advantages of a journalist working under cover.

    Theory was followed by practice, when young people had to make a journalistic investigation. Guided by Victor Mosneag, reporter for Ziarul de Garda, they learned to establish the hypothesis of an investigation, tried on-site observation and pre-documentation, worked with national and international databases, and did confrontation interviews. The trainer also spoke with students about sources and how to work with them.

    The journalists-to-be found out in what cases reporters have the right not to disclose the name of their source, how they should react to gossip, and how not to be manipulated by those who provide them with information. “Always act based on data and exact figures, and don’t forget that public interest should prevail in any journalistic investigation,” concluded Victor Mosneag at the end of the course.

    Where and how can topics for investigation be found? Many of the students thought about it. To help them better find their way in the abundance of news and events, trainers invited two investigative reporters to the course. Liuba Sevciuc, journalist for RISE Moldova, and Anatolie Esanu, reporter for Ziarul de Garda and a graduate of the SAJ, spoke with students about the specifics of an investigative journalist’s work, analyzed the steps that should be followed in an investigation, and commented on the most high-profile journalistic investigations.

    Students confessed at the end of the course that at this point investigative journalism seems one of the most complex aspects of the profession, as it involves much more responsibility and correctness, curiosity and courage. “The courage of telling it like it is,” student Diana Petrusan believes. “During this course, I felt as if I were in an action film, which constantly keeps you on edge. You seek information, and every detail you find makes you happy like a child. Then the most interesting part comes – everyone needs to know the things you discovered,” Diana said. “This course taught us to overcome the fear of speaking with officials about the illegalities they committed, addressing uncomfortable questions, and asking for explanations,” student Andrei Cebotari added.

    Today, the School of Advanced Journalism begins the next specialized course – Environmental Journalism.


Success stories

“It is not at all a traditional school”
“The SAJ was a challenge, but also a chance to get a new profession”
“I’m proud of my first job and I like what I’m doing”