• 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.

  • “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.

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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”