An Atmosphere of Calm Surrounds Part II of the Training Program in Citizen Journalism

Oct 182010

By Marwa Salem

Translated by Aisha El-Awady

Part II of the citizen journalism workshop, organized by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) has begun. This workshop trains young Egyptian men and women who are non-professional journalists on how to cover many social, environmental and political issues prior to, and for the duration of , the next parliamentary elections, which will be taking place in 2010.

The workshop was surrounded by an atmosphere of calm and tranquility which some attributed to the administrative instability which the web portal IslamOnline.net (IOL) is now experiencing. This instability reflected negatively on the training sessions, which comes as no surprise since the workshop is being held at "Media International", which happens to be the owner of IOL.

Part II began following the success (according to the trainees) of part I. Part I started in January of this year and continued for a period of two and half months. A number of local media icons such as Youssri Fouda, Amr Kahki, Yahia Ghanim, Hassan Mekki and Hanzada Fikri, as well as some law and journalism professors, such as Sahar Sidqi, Radwa Mubarak and Najad Al-Barei addressed the trainees during the workshop sessions.

Al-Barei, a lawyer, closed the sessions with a lecture rich in legal information pertaining to libel cases and publishing, and to the degree of freedom of the press when it comes to criticism of the society.During part I, the citizen journalists (trainees) were taught how to write press releases, articles, news stories and features, as well as the ethical and professional standards one must adhere to in journalistic writings, and the type of sources one should rely upon while covering any news story.

During the final month of part I, the trainees were divided into three groups, and under the supervision of Yahia Ghanim and Hassan Mekki they were asked to prepare a feature article to be delivered on the 27th of February. Many of the trainees felt apprehensive and a bit befuddled, not sure which idea would be best for their feature article and whether or not they would be able to deliver it on time.