Students and Graduates of the Chisinau School of Advanced Journalisms Trained in Open Data Use

Students and Graduates of the Chisinau School of Advanced Journalisms Trained in Open Data Use

For three days, between 24-26 January 2014, nineteen students and graduates of the Chisinau School of Advanced Journalism (CSAJ) learned about the online investigation techniques, how to use efficiently government databases, how to process and visualize data sets. The training facilitators Paul Radu, executive director of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), Romania and Dumitru Lazur, national media expert, shared with the participants their personal experiences in uncovering and investigating cases of corruption and cross border organized crimes. Further, they guided and assisted the students during the practical exercises of identifying topics for investigations based on the open government data.

Participants assessed this course as useful, comprehensive and interactive. The CSAJ student Natalia Sergheev said: “this seminar is particularly up-to-date, as we have so much open data in Moldova, which we don’t know how to use. After I found out how many fraudulent schemes may be uncovered only by connecting to Internet and with a bit of patience, I think that this course will lay the foundation of our future investigative stories”.  The students recognized that until now they were not interested in the subject of open data and that the information they gained during the three days will be very useful in the future. “Until now I didn’t have the opportunity of learning about open data. In the future I want to do investigative journalism, thus all the information gained here will be very useful”, confessed the CSAJ student, Dorin Galben.

As well, participants appreciated trainers’ experience and professionalism. “Paul Radu is absolutely phenomenal. I was impressed by the stories from his career, the ways he uncovered many frauds on global level. You want to resemble him and it motivates you to continue. Dumitru Lazur, in turn, showed us many online instruments that can help us in finding information in Moldova. As well, he helped us with group projects”, said the CSAJ student, Mariana Balaban. Vasile Gancev, CSAJ graduate and currently reporter of recognized that the technical applications learnt during those days would enable him do his work much easier, in a more professional way and in a shorter time.

In turn, the journalist Paul Radu was content with the students’ active participation during the course and their interest in the discussed issues. “I haven’t expected they would be so curious, while still being CSAJ students. I was pleasantly surprised by their involvement, their seriousness in identifying topics for investigations and by the manner they managed to gain certain data about possible frauds, involvement of public servants”.

The training was organized by the Independent Journalism Center with the financial support of the Free Press Unlimited (The Netherlands) and the National Endowment for Democracy (USA).

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