• 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.

  • 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.

  • Introduction to Journalism: a special guest with a special vision of the profession



    The first semester of the 2018-2019 school year began with the initiation of students in the media world and the basis of journalism. Over a week, they learned what is today’s journalism, what are the functions of the press, and how to transform a subject, sometimes a rigid one, to a story read by tens of thousands of people. Sorina Ştefârţă, director of the School of Advanced Journalism Studies and our special guest from Romania, the journalist Georgiana Ilie, took part as trainers.

    On the first day, the students were familiarized with the key concepts of journalism, and the discussions focused on the role of the media in a modern society. They also learned about the techniques of selecting a subject, the typology, the diversity and the credibility of sources, the role of own observation and documentation, and the fairness of the facts, a key criterion in a reporter’s job. At the end, the instructor pointed out some of the most important qualities of a journalist. According to her, a journalist must be as curious as possible, have a developed critical and observational spirit, not be afraid to ask questions and seek answers.

    The course continued with a series of lessons delivered by Georgiana Ilie, chief editor at School9 and Senior Editor at “Decat o Revista” (DoR), two media projects that, in just a few years, became reference names in the Bucharest press. Together with Georgiana Ilie, the SAJS students discovered the secrets of the profession, they were initiated into the art of storytelling and reporting, they told each other stories and understood their importance in the media world, they learned factual and argued writing techniques. They also learned what is editing technology and how it works.

    After getting familiar with the work and principles of the DoR (Narrative Journalism Journal about Romania today) and learning about the editorial project School9 (the place where teachers, parents and children can recognize their everyday life in school), the students had to do some exercises: they imagined a day of their life as a journalist, they told their memories, experiences and future expectations, they made an interview and presented the written portrait of the interviewee. Some of them participated in a master-class with Georgiana Ilie, organized by the SAJS for its graduates, but also for all those interested in storytelling. The event was the occasion and to meet and discovery the new trends in the media.

    From September 17th, Photo Journalism course with Nicolae Pojoga will be held at SAJS.

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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.

Courses

Success stories

2017
“I Will Become a Detective, Anyway, Only in Journalism”
2014
“I could write a story about the SAJ teachers...”
2008
“The lessons learned at the SAJ helped us be good in our job”