• Natalia Sergheev: “I don't regret that I chose the SAJ instead of a master's degree in journalism. And here's why ...”

    She is one of the graduates who came to the SAJ knowing exactly what her future should look like. It was happening in the spring of 2013, when, after she took her license degree in journalism, she felt the need for practical training, very necessary for a beginner journalist. Between a master’s degree and courses at the School of Advanced Journalism she chose the latter. She submitted the application, and in September 2013 she became one of the students of the eighth SAJ graduating class.

    Today Natalia Sergheev is reporter for Radio Free Europe in Chisinau, and the year 2016 brought her one of the first trophies in her career – the first prize in the Youth category of ADAMI Media Prize 2016 contest, for the film “Generation of Emigration”, produced together with producer and cameraman Alex Blumberg within the “Simply” project of Radio Free Europe. The movie brings to the light the phenomenon of migration in Moldova, telling the story of three young men forced to abandon their poorly paid jobs at home and to go abroad in search of better living.

    We asked Natalia to share with us her success story, but the young journalist came with a different “proposal” – to make a retrospective of the choice she made and highlight seven reasons why she decided to study at the School of Advanced Journalism. We invite you to see what they are.

    1. SAJ trainers are potential employers. I even got to work next to my ex-teacher (and current teacher, in fact, because I keep learning from him), Vasile Botnaru. The fact that instead of submitting a CV you can write on Facebook to a manager, who knows that he taught you, is a valuable advantage in the labor market.
    2. Teachers are not even “teachers” in the classical sense of the word. I call them so because of “academic” habits. They are, in fact, trainers, and with some of them you will go out for a beer. Some might even become your mentors, if you are lucky. Of course this can happen at the university, too, but in a university lecture hall there is, however, a different dynamic of authority. Someone always is in the front and someone always listens...
    3. While you learn journalism, you already in a way work in an editorial office. The number of students in a graduating class is extremely small compared to a group at university – about 13-15 people. It is how many people work in some editorial offices. It teaches you to work in a team, which is not as easy as it sounds.
    4. You find yourself in a space where the majority of your colleagues really want to do journalism in the future. My words might seem strange, but when most of your university colleagues see themselves working in other areas, it is difficult to assess your own abilities, and especially the progress that you make. The stronger the people you work with, the stronger you get.
    5. You will do fieldwork. In rain, wind or frost. My belief is that, without trying fieldwork, it is quite hard to become a journalist, even though you might have a master’s, doctor’s or any other academic degree. And the sooner you do it, the better. But it is an opinion; I have nothing to compare it with.
    6. You will live in a pace similar to that of an editorial office. Deadlines over deadlines, day after day ... Yes, it is a good idea to invest a lot of time in a material (or in a master’s thesis), as it results in the best works. The truth is, however, that in reality you will rarely have such opportunities. In the little time I was given for a material, I often did mediocre articles. The problem is that there is always too little time, even when you work “officially”. I start thinking that your entire life you actually have to work just to improve, little by little, this level of “mediocre”. Unless you leave this field of work.
    7. If you are very lucky, you will find real friends. During studies, whatever they are, you have the chance to make strong friendships. But getting a master’s degree, I think, is a largely solitary job ... Instead, at the School of Advanced Journalism the curriculum is made in such a way that teamwork becomes daily routine. With someone (because you’re afraid to go alone) you go to Tiraspol to make a report, with someone else you do a newspaper layout until late at night, other colleagues defend your final academic work in front of teachers, who a few minutes ago tore it to pieces... At the SAJ you have a lot of experiences that show you what you and the people you study with are made of. In my graduating class, these links have not been lost after graduation or change of fields of work. And it is probably the main reason why I am glad that I chose the SAJ instead of a master’s degree.
  • Environmental Journalism: Exploring the Environment and Appealing to Readers' Responsibility

    The last week of March was dedicated at the SAJ to the course of Environmental Journalism. In those five days, students analyzed TV reports on topics of ecology, worked to identify topics, read laws and regulations, studied the websites of public institutions and specialized NGOs and, of course, wrote articles. Students worked together with Lilia Curchi, coordinating editor of the “Natura” magazine and executive director of the Association of Environment and Ecotourism Journalists.

    To initiate students in ecology and to help them write correctly about the environment, the trainer organized two working visits. The first destination was the Ministry of Environment. With Victor Morgoci, Deputy Minister of Environment, young people discussed the most serious problems in the field; they also found out about the measures the Ministry undertakes to solve them and asked about the situation with the hydroelectric station in Novodnestrovsk. Their next visit was to the State Hydrometeorological Service. Mihail Roibu, director of the institution, spoke to students about the monitoring of natural phenomena. Young people were interested to learn more about climate change and how it will influence us in the future.

    Among other relevant experts in the field, during the course SAJ students met Iuliana Cantaragiu, project manager at the National Environmental Center. She spoke to future journalists about the importance of media coverage of environmental topics. Then, from Silvia Ursul, responsible for projects and communication at the Society for the Protection of Birds and Nature, young people learned about the mistakes that journalists make when addressing environmental issues.

    In the five days of the course, students did three practical works – a news story, an article and an infographic. In the end, Lilia Curchi urged them to be very attentive to details when they get to write about the environment. “Research the topic and check all information,” she said.

    On Monday, the School of Advanced Journalism starts the course of social journalism.

  • Business journalism: “humanizing” figures and “reading” them correctly

    Business journalism has become one of the most important realms of the media; this is why the information journalists report to the public should be as clear and understandable as possible. How to write simply, how to “read” and then communicate figures correctly, the SAJ students learned at the first specialized course of this year – Business Journalism.

    The course was divided traditionally into two modules: theoretical and practical. The first module, mainly theoretical, was held by businessman and expert in economy and law Vladimir Bolea. He deciphered, together with the students, such notions as formation of prices in free market economy, currency, raider attacks, supply and demand, interest and dividends, trade balance, import and export, monopoly, competition, remittance, off-shore systems and money laundering.

    After the theoretical initiation into business journalism, students passed to the practical part. From the editor-in-chief of the www.eco.md portal Ion Chislea future journalists learned what a news story on economy should contain to be good, what the criteria are for selecting a topic for a report on economy, how to use numbers and statistics in articles. He also explained to the students what a financial report is, how to find the right angle of approach and how to use specialty terms correctly. All knowledge was enhanced with practical exercises. “Articles can appear from any sphere of economy, but a good news story starts with a figure. Think analytically, ask questions and search for answers,” advised Ion Chislea the students.

    About entrepreneurship and the difference between it and business SAJ students learned from the president of GEN Moldova - Global Entrepreneurship Network Moldova, Olesea Fortuna. Together with the trainer, young people did several practical exercises, where they learned how an idea can turn into a business and then into a success story. Students say that this course, which was held for the first time at the SAJ, helped them better understand how to cover the news that might influence a country’s economy and promised from now on to read and think analytically. “Now I understand much better the terms and know how to read reports and statistics,” concluded Parascovia Spic.

    Next week the School of Advanced Journalism starts the second specialized course – Political Journalism.

  • ADMISSION 2017: The School of Advanced Journalism Announces Admission for a New Academic Year

    Do you want to work in television, host a radio show or launch a portal with the most qualitative news? Maybe you want to create a newspaper or a magazine? If your answer is “Yes!”, we are waiting for you at the best place to lay the foundation of a career in the media – the School of Advanced Journalism!

    What we are

    The School of Advanced Journalism (SAJ) was launched in September 2006, and it is an important project of the Independent Journalism Center (IJC). From the start, our goal was to help teach a new generation of professional journalists in Moldova. Today, in a world and age when the media are a click away from everyone, the SAJ offers equal opportunities for all those who want to build a successful career in journalism and communication, as well as to those to wish to gain journalistic skills.

    Who the SAJ students are

    To become one of the 20 students in the 12th graduate class (2017-2018), you only need to have higher education. You can be a graduate from a university department of law, economy, philology, technology, medicine, journalism, communications and, why not, theatre and fine arts. The important thing is to have ambition, curiosity and determination. If your answer is still “Yes!”, don’t hesitate and come to the SAJ!

    What you will learn at the SAJ

    The academic year at the SAJ lasts ten months, during which you will learn the best current journalistic practices from Europe and the USA. You will learn writing the most correct and balanced news stories, discover the secrets of the most viewed online materials, find out how to make a colorful radio report, and master the recipe of a successful photograph. Together with your classmates, you will make photos and video recordings, edit, design a newspaper and a magazine, create infographics, and participate in making a real radio and TV newscast. You will be doing it all in conditions similar to a real editorial office. And the School will provide you with all necessary equipment: recorder, photo and video camera, and personal computer.

    Who will teach you

    You will work with the best journalists and media experts from Moldova and from abroad, who will share with you their professional experience: Vasile Botnaru, Liliana Barbarosie, Diana Raileanu, Alina Turcanu, Tatiana Etco (all from the team of Radio Free Europe). Petru Macovei (Association of Independent Press), Alina Radu (“Ziarul de Gardă” newspaper), Elena Robu (Pro TV Chișinău), Liliana Nicolae (Radio “Europa FM”, Bucharest), Nadine Gogu (Independent Journalism Center), Dorin Scobioala (Reuters TV and Antena 3), Anatol Golea (RTR Moldova), Lilia Curchi (“Natura” magazine), Dumitru Ciorici (www.agora.md) freelancers Ludmila Andronic, Oxana Iutes, Nicolae Pojoga, Angela Ivanesi, Andrei Cibotaru, and many others.


    Where you could work after graduation

    After ten months of study you will be able to work in any media outlet in this country or abroad, because the School of Advanced Journalism is the “laboratory” that cultivates the professional skills necessary to a “universal” journalist, as required by today’s media all over the world... You could be a reporter of a top-rated television or radio; you could write news for an online portal or host your own show. Everything is up to you! And the proof that any dream can come true is in the over 160 graduates of the SAJ, many of whom have already made a name in journalism, communication or public life.

    Files shall be submitted by May 15, 2017 at 17.00, and they shall include:

    • CV;
    • Form (download);
    • Letter of motivation;
    • Essay on a topic of your choice / article published (if it is);
    • Copy of higher education diploma (2017 graduates can submit a certificate from their university department confirming that they are in their last year of study);
    • Copy of identity card.

    We are waiting for you at the following address: School of Advanced Journalism, 49/4 Tighina Street (3rd floor), ChisinauFor further details regarding admission, please contact: Veronica Marin - telephone:, 079909414.

    e-mail: vmarinATscoaladejurnalismDOTmd (* replace AT with „@” and DOT with „.”).

    We guarantee the quality of studies, and your success is our priority!

  • Investigative Journalism: find the problem, check information and prove facts

    Year after year, investigative journalism is becoming one of the most exciting genres of the press, and more and more journalists are tempted to bring out hidden truths to light. How to identify a problem that is of public interest? How to correctly "read" wealth statements of officials or databases of public institutions, and how to prepare a request for information? About these and many other useful things SAJ students spoke with trainer Alina Radu, director of "Ziarul de Garda" newspaper.

    Investigative journalism is one of the most complex courses that are held at the School of Advanced Journalism. It lasts three weeks, during which students learn various skills and techniques necessary for a beginner in this field.

    Thus, Alina Radu explained to young people what a documentation strategy is, how to do a confrontational interview, how to formulate the hypothesis of an investigation, how to verify information and, not lastly, how to conduct a journalistic investigation. The trainer also talked about the importance of pre-documentation, the relevance of sources and compliance with professional ethics.

    Later, young journalists applied the new knowledge in practice. After several group exercises, students did the most important work independently – their own journalistic investigation. Like in previous years, the social theme was the main subject of journalistic investigations. Thus, Dumitrita Andriuta was interested in the situation with the protection of victims of domestic violence; Mariana Matcovschi learned why the anti-tobacco law is not complied with; Adriana Vlas addressed the problem of unauthorized buildings in Chisinau; and Nicolae Galaju analyzed the list of wine companies that received the right to export their products on the Russian market. Cristina Cornescu found out why Moldova loses positions in the world ranking of the perception of corruption; Eugeniu Kanskii investigated the way in which the State protects national heritage buildings. Their colleague Liliana Botnariuc watched what goes on in Chisinau Circus arena and found out why business people don't want to invest money into the renovation of its building; and Parascovia Spic was interested about an unauthorized building that belongs to a priest and which, according to State Inspection for Constructions reports, had had to be demolished.

    To encourage students to do investigations – and do them professionally – the trainer invited to the SAJ reporters Anastasia Nani from the Journalistic Investigations Center and Victor Mosneag and Anatolie Esanu from "Ziarul de Garda". The guests explained to their future colleagues why they do investigative journalism, how they choose topics for investigations and how they work with sources. Anastasia Nani advised students to be fair during their entire careers, and Anatolie Esanu urged them not to let themselves be manipulated, especially by public persons. “A good journalist is an informed journalist. You must read a lot and be up to date with everything going on around you,” advised Victor Mosneag in his turn. It should be mentioned that Anastasia Nani and Anatolie Esanu are graduates of the School of Advanced Journalism.

    In addition to future colleagues by profession, in the three weeks of the course students met with representatives of several institutions relevant for an investigative journalist. With Mircea Rosioru, chair of the Superior Council of Prosecutors, the students discussed the work and role of this institution and found out what journalists have in common with prosecutors. From Dorin Purice, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, young people learned details about the reform of the police and spoke about the importance of collaboration between the press and law enforcement, and together with Sergiu Gurduza, a member of the Central Electoral Commission, students analyzed the institution's website and found out how and where they can find the necessary information.

    At the end of the course, after students' works were presented and analyzed in the group, trainer Alina Radu offered prizes for the five best articles – a book or a personal organizer. The ranking was made by the students themselves, based on criteria such as argumentation of the hypothesis of the investigation, the number of sources and their relevance, the accuracy of the text and correctness of the reporter, illustration of the topic and form of presentation. SAJ students say that this course was a serious challenge for them, but also that it helped them understand much better what kind of and how much work there is behind a journalistic investigation. Cristina Cornescu highly appreciated the experience of trainer Alina Radu, and Maria Svet admitted that it is one of the genres of journalism that requires a lot of involvement and responsibility: "You need a good spirit of observation and analytical skills."

    On Monday, the School of Advanced Journalism starts the course of environmental journalism.

  • Political Journalism: Identifying and Deciphering Politicians’ Messages

    What is a political system and how is it constructed, who are political actors and what are the relations between them, both seen and unseen? How should the media behave during an election campaign and how can reporters be manipulated by politicians? These are some of the questions that SAJ students sought answers to during the second specialized course – Political Journalism. Students worked alongside trainers Anatol Golea, political analyst and director of the “INFOTAG” news agency; Alina Turcanu, editor at Radio Free Europe; and Sorina Stefarta, director of the SAJ.

    To help students better understand how to identify and cover stories on political topics, the course was divided into three modules. The first one, “Introduction to Political Journalism,” was held by Anatol Golea. He spoke about the internal political system, political parties, election systems, political actors and relations between them. The students also discussed issues of journalist ethics and the way certain political topics should be treated.

    The second module was dedicated to the issues of political life in Moldova. From Alina Turcanu students learned about the rights and obligations of the media in the election process, about relations with sources, and about the characteristics of a successful political report. Future journalists learned how to behave during election campaigns and how to avoid the risk of being manipulated by politicians.

    The topics of the third module, “European and International Journalism", dealt with European integration, the role and functions of European institutions, the Association Agreement and the Free Trade Area with the EU, and, accordingly, the role of the media in their coverage. Students also talked about the relations between Moldova and the European Union with the guest of the SAJ Discussion Club Dionis Cenusa, political analyst and associate expert of the “Expert-Group” center.

    The students noted that this course helped them understand much deeper how the “games" are arranged on the internal and external political arena, and, most importantly, how to resist manipulation. “A journalist must be very careful and always distinguish between promises and facts,” said student Cristina Cornescu.

    Tomorrow, the School of Advanced Journalism starts one of the most interesting and captivating courses – Investigative Journalism.

  • Social Journalism: About Ordinary People and Their Problems

    How to see the importance of the events happening in society daily? How to find the cause of a problem and to properly cover a sensitive topic? Why is it important to write about ordinary people and their problems? The students of the School of Advanced Journalism found out the answers to these questions from the trainer of the course of Social Journalism, Elena Cioina, media manager of www.e-sanatate.md portal.

    The course lasted six days, during which the students plunged into the diversity of social issues in Moldova, learned more about the country’s social institutions, discussed about the responsibility of a journalist and, last but not least, produced two materials: a news story and an article.

    For the second consecutive year, SAJ students passed a special module, Journalism on Population and Development, organized together with the UN Fund for Population (UNFPA) in Moldova. On that day, young people met with the country’s top experts on sexual and reproductive health, gender equality, statistics and demography, who talked about current challenges in the field of population and human development.

    Valentina Bodrug-Lungu, chair of the “Gender Center”, told students about gender equality and the fight against gender violence in Moldova. From Rodica Comendant, director of the Reproductive Health Training Center, they learned more about family planning, sexual and reproductive rights and safe abortion. With sociologist Tatiana Tabac of the Center for Demographic Research young people discussed the demographic trends and challenges of Moldova and learned how to work properly with statistics.

    Students say that the most difficult was to focus on a particular topic, because, in their opinion, there are too many problems in society. “We have learned to write so as to reach the human soul. This is an area I would like to specialize in”, said Liliana Botnariuc at the end of the course.

    In her turn, the trainer pointed out that the students tried to cove complex subjects, using several sources, searching and deciphering statistics. “I appreciate most of all the fact that they tried to come up with their own original approach to the problems that have become ordinary. For social journalism it is extremely important,” said Elena Cioina.

    At the moment, the course on Digital Journalism continues at the School of Advanced Journalism, and next week students begin the last course, Community Journalism.


Success stories

“I don't regret that I chose the SAJ instead of a master's degree in journalism. And here's why ...”
“The School of Advanced Journalism – my gate to freedom”
“The School of Advanced Journalism Offers Equal Opportunities for All”