• 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.

  • Public Presentation of Final Works, a Challenge Successfully Passed by SAJ Students



    Having learned to write news stories, reports, interviews and to make their own journalistic investigations, having been for nine months taught by the best local journalists, the students of the 2017-2018 academic year got to show results – their final works. The works were presented in front of a commission of media experts and practitioners: Vasile Botnaru, director of the Radio Free Europe bureau; Mariana Rață, TV8 producer; Cristian Jardan, director of Unimedia.md; Elena Cioina, media manager of www.e-sanatate.md; Dorin Scobioală, director of the Cat Studio Production House; and Sorina Ștefârță, director of the School of Advanced Journalism.

    The students had two weeks to prepare their projects, during which they researched information, discussed with the sources and protagonists of their articles, filmed, edited, and did the layout for their works. They did all that under the guidance of tutors, who are also the trainers of the SAJ: Liliana Barbăroșie, journalist for Radio Free Europe; Victor Moșneag, investigative reporter for Ziarul de Gardă newspaper; Alina Țurcanu, editor of the TV project Pur și Simplu for Radio Free Europe; Andrei Cibotaru, TV journalist and blogger; Diana Răilean, journalist for Radio Free Europe; Lilia Curchi, coordinating editor of the Natura magazine; and Oxana Iuteș, deputy director of Internews Moldova.

    Out of the ten students, three prepared materials for radio, four tried their skills in TV reports, and three others wrote articles for print media. Social topics were of the most interest to the future journalists. Thus, Elmira Orozova informed us about the situation in Moldovan sports and explained why less and less high performance athletes appear in our land; Georgeta Fânaru wanted to know why Moldovans don’t go to doctors and often ring the alarm when it is already too late; Diana Petrușan found out how many villages in Moldova have no family doctors; and Alexandra Bodarev presented the life stories of some overweight people and told how they are fighting stereotypes.

    Ion Ciobanu spoke with several experts and responsible officials from education and learned from them why young people with hearing impairment have less and less access to colleges and universities; Daniela Gorincioi informed us about nitrates in the fruit and vegetables that we eat; Cristina Guzun tried to find out more about the “Peter Pan generation”; from Elena Rotari we found out about the situation of the ring road in Comrat; Grigore Vieru introduced us to the field of economy and told about the potential for growth of industrial production in our country; and Andrei Cebotari did a journalistic investigation about the churches located on the territory of several public hospitals in Chisinau and tried to find out why prices there are higher than in other holy places.

    The members of the evaluation commission congratulated students for the effort they made to produce their final works. In their opinion, all materials to a greater or lesser extent have met journalistic requirements, i.e. the criteria that have been taken into account in the evaluation of media projects: timeliness, accuracy, objectivity, originality, fairness, impartiality.

    The School of Advanced Journalism is a project of the Independent Journalism Center in Chisinau in partnership with the Missouri School of Journalism, USA, and the Paris-based Journalism School and Training Center, France. The SAJ was launched on September 4, 2006, aiming to train universal journalists for Moldovan media.

  • For the Third Time, the SAJ Students Visited Several Media Outlets in Bucharest



    One of the nice traditions that has been launched at the School of Advanced Journalism in recent years is the study visit to Bucharest. This year’s students were not an exception, and on April 22-24 they got to see the most important editorial offices in Romania. The visit lasted three days, during which emerging journalists and some of the former graduates saw how various media outlets across River Prut work. The young people met several journalists and sought to hear professional secrets from them.

    On the very first evening, the SAJ students met journalists Ana-Maria Luca (Balcan Insight) and Ana Poenariu (RISE Romania). Discussion focused mainly on war journalism and on the ways to cover armed conflicts in the media. “In this field, it is not about courage, but more about the journalist’s curiosity,” said Ana-Maria Luca, who had been reporting about the situation in the Middle East a few years ago and had gone through real moments of horror. Ana Poenariu, in her turn, shared ideas on how, when you talk with authorities, to ask questions in such a way that you always get the necessary answer.

    The first working day began with a visit to DIGI 24. The SAJ students saw LIVE work on the radio DIGI FM, saw how a DJ works in a live broadcast, and found out some secrets from the hosts of the morning entertainment show “Morning’s cool with Ramona and Coțofană” on Radio PRO FM. Then, students visited editorial offices and television filming sets, saw what happens behind the cameras, and met the hosts of a morning show, its producers, cameramen, and editorial staff.

    The next stop was Radio Romania. Students visited the most important departments of this public station: News, Digital Archive, Radio Library, and Radio Theater. Here, young journalists found out how radio sounds and noises are recorded and what work is done to record a play. Next, they had a meeting with journalist Maria Țoghină, a member of the Board of Administration of the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Company. She talked about the specificity of a radio journalist’s work, about the importance of impartiality, and, together with the School’s students, pointed out the challenges of the profession and how quality journalism is done. “Journalism needs to be done with passion. If you don’t care about what happens around you, you are not doing journalism. If you don’t dream news, you can’t write news,” Maria Țoghină said. Students wanted to know how classical radio resists in competition with online media in the age of digitalization. “We are trying to adapt to new information technologies. The thing that was lost in the battle with the Internet is the quality of news,” concluded Maria Țoghină.

    The next stop was the National News Agency AGERPRES. Here, Alexandru Giboi, the outlet’s general director, spoke with students about the agency’s mission, the purpose of the press, the trends of tomorrow’s journalism, and “survival” on the media market. The young journalists found out that today it is no longer enough to be very good in just writing news. A modern journalist who is just starting in the media or who already works should adapt to changes and accept challenges. According to Alexandru Giboi, on the labor market there will always be demand for a journalist who can write, film, edit, take professional photos, and, last but not least, have entrepreneurial thinking. “Promotion of an accomplished journalist is the pinnacle of the profession,” he said. At the end of the meeting the SAJ student watched and analyzed a fragment of the film “The Great Union – 100 Years of Romania,” produced by the AGERPRES team.

    In what direction does journalism move? What media do young people “consume” today and what will the profession of journalist look like tomorrow? The SAJ students discussed these questions at a coffee with Cristina Lupu, program director at the Independent Journalism Center in Bucharest. The expert underlined that the press will survive only with the help of new technologies, as, in her opinion, the journalist of the future cannot exist without minimum programming skills. “A modern journalist has to master several forms of journalism. You will not be able to practice this profession without technology. Use social media in you favor and try to see new technologies as your allies, not enemies,” Cristina Lupu said.

    The second day brought us to PRO TV Bucharest, where our host was reporter Vitalie Cojocari, who began his career at Pro TV Chisinau and used to be a trainer at the SAJ. He led us to the newsroom, showed us the studio where La Măruță show is filmed, and made us a great surprise – a meeting with the well-known presenters of the morning news – Mihai Dedu, Lavinia Petrea, and Florin Busuioc. The young journalists wanted to know at what time PRO TV stars begin their working day, how they manage to fight sleep, and what their professional secrets are. All three presenters mentioned that journalism is not only what you see on TV, but it is a titanic work that you do behind the screen, and “the success or failure of a newscast depends on each reporter in part.”

    Before saying goodbye to PRO TV Bucharest, Vitalie Cojocari told the students that the most important thing for a journalist is to know how and where to find news: “The other skills needed to a reporter will come with time, I am convinced now.” Vitalie encouraged students to stay in the media, not to give up before starting the big battle with the profession, and to keep getting better.

    Next, we went to one of the oldest news portals in Romania, Ziare.com. Bogdana Boga, editor-in-chief, told us about the changes and transformations the website had gone through in recent years, and about the need and importance of adapting classical journalism to new information technologies. Discussion also focused on the importance of quality media: “It is better to issue news later and not be the first, but to make that news accurate and of good quality.” Students further addressed the issue of fake news, highlighted the importance of using social media, and analyzed the trends of modern journalism. “Always choose reliable sources,” said Bogdana Boga at the end of the meeting.

    We then went to Adevărul Holding, where we were met by Dan Marinescu, editor-in-chief, and Monika Krajnik, editor for foreign events. The journalists discussed with the SAJ students about the “battle” between print media, television, and online media, about the slow but sure fall of print media, and analyzed the website Adevărul.md, which had been for over two years managed by a graduate of the SAJ’s 2015-2016 class, Iurii Botnarenco. Monika had only words of praise for our former student, mentioning his professional growth. The students wanted to know how to keep your image, maintain a brand in time, and create quality content. At the end of the visit, Dan Marinescu and Monika Krajnik offered to beginner journalists some advice on how NOT to do journalism. “Never mislead the public. Give accurate and quality information to the reader. Finally, try to do everything out of passion,” the journalists added.

    The last destination in Bucharest was Radio Europa FM. Together with our host, journalist Liliana Nicolae, who is also the trainer of the Radio Journalism course at the SAJ, the students visited the outlet’s studios, spoke with its team of reporters, and stopped for a discussion with Teodor Tiță, director of News Europa FM. He asked the students why they chose to come to journalism – a job that “involves responsibility and conscience.” In his opinion, you cannot be a journalist if you don’t seek news as soon as you wake up and are not interested in what happens around you at every moment. The students wanted to know about trends and what will happen with tomorrow’s radio. At the end of the visit, young people noted some tips from Teodor Tiță. “Read more. Be at the center of the world and amid events. Look at what foreign journalists do and learn from the best ones. In journalism, you must matter,” said the director of News Europa FM.

  • Practical Training: The SAJ Students Successfully Passed the Last Test



    Responsible, enthusiastic, with a well-developed spirit of observation and eager to work shoulder to shoulder with experienced journalists. This is how one could characterize the students of 12th graduating class, who did practical training in various media outlets of Moldova from June 4 to June 29. Thus, the young people had also the opportunity to unofficially take a test for possible employment.

    This year, the most popular media outlets among the SAJ students were those online. Alexandra Bodarev and Ion Ciobanu chose to work for the e-Sănătate platform; Daniela Gorincioi did her practical training with the EA.md women’s magazine; Elmira Orozova preferred the Agora.md news portal; and Cristina Guzun decided to join the Diez.md team. Georgeta Fanaru chose the editorial office of the “Pur și Simplu” TV project of Radio Free Europe, while her colleague Diana Petrusan did several radio reports for various shows at the same radio station.

    While in previous years the majority of students were attracted by TV screens and went to discover the world of television, only Elena Rotari of this year’s class decided to find out more of the secrets that are hiding behind the cameras. The young woman chose to work at the local television ATV in the town of Comrat, where, being guided by editors, cameramen and producers, she did several social reports.

    Being passionate about investigations and analysis of social phenomena, our student Andrei Cebotari decided to do his practical training alongside and together with the Ziarul de Garda newspaper team. In those four weeks the reporter wrote articles about various public people with integrity problems, involved in obscure governance, money-laundering and other violations. This student’s articles were published both on the newspaper’s website and in its print version.

  • SAJ students, full participants at the Media Forum 2018



    The condition of the journalist in the Republic of Moldova, the quality of the media products offered to the public, the access to information and the transparency of the public institutions, the way of improving media legislation – these are only a few of the topics discussed at the Media Forum 2018, with the participation of notable experts and journalists from abroad and from the country, but also the SAJ instructors and students.

    For two days, about 200 participants – managers, reporters and editors from various local media institutions, as well as future journalists – entered into dialogue with famous foreign experts: Aistė Žilinskienė, President of the Internet Media Association of Lithuania; Arturas Morozovas, Co-founder of multimedia agency Nanook.lt (Lithuania); Urmo Soonvald, editor-in-chief of the daily Eesti Päevaleht and of Delfi News Portal (Estonia); Mykhailo Koltsov and Lennart Gerwers from DW Akademie (Germany); Dan Tăpălagă, Co-founder of the independent website G4Media.ro (Romania); Daniel Rzasa, Teaching Fellow, CEE, Google News Lab; Yevgenia Albats, investigative journalist, editor-in-chief of the Russian political weekly “The New Times” (Russia) and others. Thus, in the workshops supported by them, the SAJ students learned from the first source about the pressing problems in the media, as well as about the international trends in this field. Corina Seremet, for example, has many questions related to the future of journalism in the Republic of Moldova. “The fact that the Moldovan press remains politically controlled worries me, especially because the situation doesn’t change”, said Corina. Another student, Lucia Dăscălescu, is pleased to have been able to participate in the adoption of the Forum Resolution, thus contributing to the improvement of journalistic materials of public interest.

    The Forum ended with rewarding the winners of two national competitions: “2018 Journalistic Investigations”, supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (Germany) and “Click for Gender Equality” supported by UN Women in Moldova. Among the laureates of the two competitions are the SAJ graduates. Anatol Eşanu (2013-2014 school year), reporter at “Ziarul de Gardă”, took the first prize for the investigation “Vânătorii de terenuri”, in collaboration with Victor Moşneag, SAJ instructor. Natalia Sergheev (the same school year, 2013-2014), now a reporter at Radio Free Europe, is among the most sensitive media professionals in the country on topics related to gender equality.

    The majority of the SAJ students who participated in the Forum mentioned that they are waiting for new events of such importance. The fourth edition of the forum took place on 29-30 November and was organized by the Press Council of the Republic of Moldova, the Independent Press Association (API), the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) and the Electronic Press Association (APEL).

  • “Long Articles”: How to write argued texts, necessary for people



    Reportage, feature, documentary release and obituary are some of the new journalistic genres that the students of the School of Advanced Journalism have studied at the “Long Articles” course. Guided by Alina Radu, director of the Moldovan Newspaper “Ziarul de Garda”, the young people learned how to produce a good reportage; visited some events and reported about them; created a portrait sketch with great, but less well-known personalities as protagonists and learned the techniques of writing an obituary.

    The course started with a brief information about the journalistic genres that belong to the category of long articles. The students have been familiarized with different types of reportage, their principles and structure, and the instructor insisted on the already known for them questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? Because, as Alina Radu says, whatever he/she writes, a good reporter is obliged to keep in mind these six questions. At the same time, she mentioned that, unlike the news, when producing reportages, the journalist can use various literary techniques, which allow him/her to describe the atmosphere more clearly and in detail. The course was followed by the practical part, and the students had to write a reportage, a portrait and an obituary.

    How to come up with great ideas for reportage, where to find topics and how to write differently, excitingly and at the same in a captivating way? To find answers to these questions, the future journalists participated in various actions and discussed with local people and, in the process of writing the reportage, they took into account its basic elements: the presence of the reporter on the spot, the description of the entourage, the public interest and the collection of relevant data. After reporting, the students experienced their first experience in the feature genre. Due to practical exercises, they learned the characteristics of such a text – namely, the introduction, the expressiveness and the end of a history about a hero of the day.

    The last day of the course was dedicated to the obituary, also called the mortuary announcement. It was discussed the purpose of writing an obituary and its structural aspects, and the students wrote a text in memory of a defunct personality.

    The long articles written by the students were analyzed and evaluated both by Alina Radu and during the Romanian Stylistics Course with Cristina Mogâldea. The trainer said she wanted to teach the students how to make quality journalism by cultivating the thirst to write argued, deep texts, necessary for people. The students, in their turn, have greatly appreciated the work and documentation in the field, but also the freedom to choose and to make their own subjects for reportage.

    The next course to be held at the SAJ is Ethics and Diversity in Mass Media.

  • 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.

Courses

Success stories

2013
“It is not at all a traditional school”
2008
“The SAJ was a challenge, but also a chance to get a new profession”
2017
“I’m proud of my first job and I like what I’m doing”