Journalists working at the Panama provinces will receive an uncommon training opportunity

Jul 92010

Freelance journalists working in the Panama provinces are usually the last ones to receive training and support. We will provide online courses and in-person courses for them.

Our project, Mi Panama Transparente, will reach journalists working as correspondents for the national Panamanian newspapers and TV networks.
Mi Panama Transparente is a project that uses a Web-based digital map utilizing Ushahidi technology to track crime and corruption with the help of citizens sending reports via text messages, email and Twitter miniblogging entries.
Freelance journalists working in the Panama provinces are usually the last ones to receiving training and support, says Flor Ortega, the Executive Director of the Forum of Journalists for Freedom of Expression. "They lack the training opportunities their Panama City colleagues usually have", Ortega says.
As freelancers, journalists in the provinces don't usually have access to a regular salary. They rarely have the resources to pay for a trip to Panama City to take advantage of the multiple opportunities for journalism training that usually exist in the capital.
To help these journalists and get support for the Mi Panama Transparente project, I am developing a training program that will have two phases, one online and one in person.
In this program we will train journalists to use advanced investigative reporting techniques and digital tools and platforms to track crime and corruption.
The online courses have the advantage of avoiding travel and lodging costs and open the possibility of beginning the training before the in-person workshop.
Panama City journalists will receive training as trainers, so the training-the trainer phase of my project can start right away with these workshops. They will be in charge of mentoring their colleagues in an online environment.
Looking for additional funds to launch the in-person workshops, we presented a grant proposal to the U.S. Embassy in Panama and it was immediately accepted. So, we have everything to begin. Now, we are building a Moodle platform in the Forum's website to develop the online courses and produce a permanent capacity for Panamanian journalists.