• Community Journalism: A Place’s Identity through Newspaper Pages



    The last course of the year took the SAJ students to the village of Selemet in Cimislia district. The purpose of the visit was to collect information and then make a newspaper about the village and for the villagers. Those who helped the young reporters to discover the spirit of Selemet were trainers Petru Macovei and Angela Ivanesi. This year, our students had other young people, students of a journalism school from Germany, working alongside and together with them.

    The SAJ students had only six days to make the newspaper from concept to printing. The first day was an introductory one. Students spoke with Petru Macovei about the specifics of community journalism, about what differs it from other genres of mass media, about the peculiarities of the place, and then chose the editorial team by voting. Andrei Cebotari was appointed as the editor-in-chief. The function of editor was offered to Georgeta Fanaru, while Elena Rotari was appointed as layout designer, being responsible for arranging materials on the page in the most original way possible. Other students played the role of reporters and had to draft two articles each.

    Then came one of the most difficult but interesting and memorable parts of the course – the visit to the village. There, young reporters had a couple of hours to discuss with the village mayor, visit the local museum, kindergarten and school, searching everywhere for interesting topics. The visit was followed by two days of work in the newsroom when, under careful supervision of the trainers, the students wrote, edited and designed their articles. Finally, the “Tezaurul” newspaper was sent to the print shop. The life stories of sixteen ordinary people, story-keepers of Selemet, were reflected on eight pages.

    After they saw the result of their work just taken out of the printing press, the SAJ students analyzed, together with the trainer, the mistakes committed and the success achieved. Petru Macovei congratulated the students for their effort and pointed out the importance of team work. “Travel to villages, write more about people and don’t forget about the social responsibility that you have,” he said. Then, traditionally, they returned to Selemet, to share with the villagers the newspaper made exclusively about them and for them. The people looked happy and proud of the fact that their stories appeared in the village’s only newspaper.

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The Students of the 12th Graduating Class Received Their Certificates of Studies



    Ten months – this is how long it took for the ten young men and women who came to the School of Advanced Journalism in 2017 to learn everything they needed so as to add to the new generation of journalists in Moldova. At a festive ceremony on July 6, 2018, they saw their dream come true and received their long-awaited and well-deserved Certificates of Studies from the SAJ team.

    The event started with a welcome speech from the School’s Director Sorina Stefarta. She congratulated the new graduates for the perseverance, curiosity and courage they demonstrated during the studies and urged them to remain in the profession regardless of any difficulties and obstacles and to contribute, together with their fellow colleagues, to the improvement of the Moldovan media.

    The people who guided the young people and taught them the profession – the SAJ trainers – also attended the ceremony. They encouraged the students to build a career in journalism here, at home, and to do that by adhering to professional ethics. “Although the temptations are many, don’t give in to manipulation. Go to serious outlets, where you will be able to do fair and professional journalism,” Liliana Barbarosie, reporter of Radio Free Europe, told the fresh graduates. The idea was supported by Vasile Botnaru, the director of Radio Free Europe. Alina Radu, the director of the “Ziarul de Garda” newspaper, added that Moldovan media need fair people and encouraged the former students to do professional journalism and to carry out as many investigations as possible “Don’t be afraid of anybody or anything,” she said. The event was also attended by the trainers Nadine Gogu, Ina Grejdeanu, Cristina Mogaldea, Corina Cepoi, Tatiana Puiu, Olesea Solpan-Fortuna and Mihaela Gherasim.

    The graduation ceremony culminated in the handing of the Certificates of Studies. Three of the ten students – Andrei Cebotari, Georgeta Finaru and Elmira Rosca – have graduated with merit, and other three of their colleagues – Diana Petrusan, Ion Ciobanu and Alexandra Bodarev – with outstanding merit. After receiving their certificates, the graduates thanked the SAJ team and all the trainers for their patience, encouragement and professionalism.

    The School of Advanced Journalism (SAJ) is a project of the Independent Journalism Center, launched in cooperation with the Missouri School of Journalism (USA) and the Paris-based Journalism School and Training Center (France). The School was designed on the basis of the graduate programs for advanced training of journalists and was created in accordance with the highest international journalism standards practiced in Europe and the United States of America. This year, the SAJ benefited from the financial support of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED/USA) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

  • 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.

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”