• 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.”

  • 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.

  • Media Management: How to Launch and Manage a Business in the Media

    What are the criteria that ensure the success of a media outlet? How the work is organized in an editorial office and how to manage a team of reporters, cameramen, drivers, editors and publishers? Is or not the media a business and how much does it cost to launch a TV, radio station, or a news portal? SAJ students have learned all that at the course of Media Management.

    After many practical courses, deadlines and texts written against the stop-watch, which they started the year with, the students of the School of Advanced Journalism have put their pens aside and focused on ideas of launching business in the media. The future journalists met the heads of several media outlets from the Republic of Moldova and discussed the launch and management of a radio station, a TV station and a regional periodical. Special emphasis was put on the development and implementation of projects in the media.

    In order to learn and understand how each media outlet works, the course was divided into four modules. The first was dedicated to radio management and was held by the instructor Adrian Petcu, head of the News editorial office of Radio Moldova. He spoke to the SAJ students about the schedule of a radio reporter, about the rights and obligations of the public station’s employees, about wages and advantages of working at a state institution... The next module, also intriguing, related to the management of a TV station. From the instructor Dorin Scobioala, director of the production house "Cat Studio" and correspondent for Reuters TV and Antenna 3 in Moldova, the young journalists have learned how a TV station “survives,” how to form a team working on TV, how to create the budget and how broadcast licenses are issued. The students have found the cost of an advertising minute, what a broadcast schedule is, how and who measures the TV audience, what prime-time and off-time are, and many other things.

    How to cope with competition and manage a regional newspaper? The answers came within the third module, dedicated to the management of printed press. Together with the instructor Lucia Bacalu-Jardan, director of the regional newspaper "Expresul" from Ungheni, the students talked about local media and the problems faced by newspapers - advertising, distribution, print runs, publishing facilities, etc.

    How can an idea become a successful media project? The transformation of an idea into a media product has been discussed and demonstrated within the last module, dedicated to developing media projects. Having ten years of experience in the field of media projects management, the instructor Ina Grejdeanu, Strategic Development Officer at the Independent Journalism Center, explained to the future journalists what a project is and how it should be written. Young people have discussed planning, innovation, costs, creativity, evaluation, team and monitoring.

    Students have also learned how to write a funding application and how to convince donors, have noted the stages of management and, last but not least, they learned that a successful project must be as original as possible. „A good project has to include the idea of changes for the better, and a well-structured plan makes 90% of success,” added the instructor in the end of the course.

    These days, the School of Advanced Journalism continues the course of Business Journalism.

  • Online Journalism: A Course That Goes Hand In Hand with New Media Trends

    How do we write things to be published online? What distinguishes a text written for the radio, the TV, or a newspaper from the one written and placed in the virtual space? What elements and applications do we use to attract the attention of consumers and how can we become original online? There are only a few questions the SAJ students answered during the first course taught in 2018 – Online Journalism. Together with them, Liliana Barbarosie, Europa Libera radio journalist, Cristian Jardan, Unimedia.info portal director, and freelancer Tatiana Etco worked together with them.

    The course lasted for two weeks and was divided into three modules. The first module, which lasted for five days, was focused on writing texts to be published online. Journalist Liliana Barbarosie explained to the students what an online article consists of, how to write a title, a lead, and intertitles, and what tricks journalists can use to make their materials as visible and attractive as possible.

    “Whether the reader accesses the news or not depends on the title. A good title must be intriguing”, Liliana Barbarosie says, noting that this is one of the first rules of journalism in general and that of online journalism in particular. In order to become true professionals, the instructor recommends the SAJ students to do their work well, to draw inspiration from the best journalists from our country and abroad, and to tend to progress towards perfection in the profession they have chosen.

    How can you make a journalistic material, having only a mobile phone at your disposal? This is what the students learned in the second module – Mobile Journalism, launched for the first time at the SAJ this year. Course instructor Cristian Jardan informed the students of various mobile accessories and applications that help journalists film and edit videos using only their mobile phones. To memorize how these applications worked, the future journalists made a video. The young people say they could not imagine that TV reportages can be filmed and edited directly on the phone as the only gadget to be used. “We have to adapt to the new trends”, student Alexandra Bodarev says at the end of the course.

    How to stay original even online? How do we integrate various elements such as radio, video, photo, or text into the same material? What are multimedia tools and how do we use them correctly? This is what the students discussed within the framework of the third module of the course. Together with Tatiana Etco, they tested various applications, found out how hyperlinks, ThingLink, and slideshows were working, and at the end, they made a visual presentation in Timeline, Story Map, and Storify.

    Today, the School of Advanced Journalism starts a course in Media Management.

  • ADMISSION 2018-2019: Innovation – Key Word of the Next Year at the SAJ

    You’ve graduated from a college or are at your final year at university – either full time or part time? You’ve got a licentiate degree in law, economy, history, political science, agronomy, technical studies, or theater, but you want to be a journalist? For 12 years now, the School of Advanced Journalism has been the place where this profession can be learned from zero in just ten months, from the best local and international journalists, who will help you become the best in this job.

    New year with changes and new challenges

    Since we live in the age of new media and the rise of social networks has generated new realities and standards – in journalism, too, – the key word that will define the 2018-2019 academic year at the School of Advanced Journalism is innovation.

    De facto, the students of the 13th graduate class will learn to combine classical journalism with new information technologies, which can become their friends or even allies. Today, it is no longer enough for a reporter to be the best in writing news, interviews, or reports. A modern journalist, adapted to the needs of this day and age, can make photos, film, edit, and often even promote his products online, so as to catch the attention of media consumers, who are more and more hurried, demanding, and attentive to detail.

    What new things you will learn at the SAJ

    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.

    What you need 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 can be submitted by June 04, 2018, at 17.00, and they 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 [email protected]

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

    You can find further details about the admission process here:




    and on the phone: 022.929440; 079.909414 (Veronica Marin)

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

  • 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.

  • Business Journalism: Searching, Analyzing, and Delivering Data and Figures to Readers

    What is the difference between a journalist who writes articles on business issues from one who reports on political or social issues? How does one “read” statistics, data, and financial reports correctly? Where can one find information for news reports, interviews, and reports on business issues? These questions were debated at the first specialized course of this year – Business Journalism.

    The first module, mostly theoretical, was dedicated to deciphering various business notions and terms. Trainer Vladimir Bolea, businessman and expert in business and law, explained to students how prices are formed in free market economy, as well as such notions as currency exchange rate, supply and demand, interest and dividends, trade balance, import and export, monopoly, competition, remittances, offshore systems, and so on. Young people also learned about the functions of the state, about the existing types of economy, and in the end they discussed money laundering and raider attacks.

    The practical part of the course came next, where students were guided by business journalist Ion Chislea. The trainer underlined that a reporter who wishes to specialize in the business field must be able to “read” figures, statistics, and the financial reports of public institutions, and, most importantly, to deliver this information as simply and understandable as possible to citizens. The most difficult, according to students, was focusing on the topic. “At this course, I understood that in a business article, every figure matters. The most difficult thing is to deliver information as simply as possible to the reader,” said student Diana Petrusan at the end of the course.

    Is the journalist an entrepreneur? Can he start a business? Can he report both simply and intriguingly about other people’s businesses? It was the theme of the third module of the course – Entrepreneurial Journalism. Although at first glance it seems a strange expression – because many people believe that a journalist cannot and should not engage in business – the trainer Olesea Solpan-Fortuna is convinced that things have changed a lot in recent years. Based on her experience as the president of GEN Moldova - Global Entrepreneurship Network Moldova, she spoke with young people about the entrepreneurial ecosystem and business ideas, and explained to future journalists how a banal idea can become a success story. Students also learned how the state contributes to the development of entrepreneurial culture and noted what skills an entrepreneur should have. And, in order to better understand how a business is launched and run, future journalists did some practical exercises.

    These days, the School of Advanced Journalism continues the second specialized course – Political 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”