The Blogger's Words of Wisdom

Oct 182010

Learning While Having Fun

By Wael Al-Ansary

Translated by Aisha El-Awady

The first time I saw the trainees at the International Center for Journalists’ (ICFJ) Citizen Journalism Workshop in Egypt, I realized I was standing in the middle of a rare variety of young people. They were not there to enjoy a meal together at KFC or to snack or exchange jokes or chit chat about the usual frivolities that fill the minds of their peers. They were there to learn and to enjoy what they learned, proving that they have hopes and aspirations advanced beyond their years.

Ahmad Abu Zaid is a chemical engineer who decided to travel with his wife and his two year old child, Abdul Rahman, all the way from Al-Sharqia governorate in order to attend the workshop. In Abu Zaid’s opinion, citizen journalism is “a career in fact finding” and that he wants “to be a soldier in this field of work.”

He maintains that it is about time for the citizen to share his opinions with the media and press instead of being a mere viewer or recipient. “I have learned a lot of new skills, especially those related to e-journalism on social networking sites and discussion forums,” he said.

“I have also become acquainted with the latest developments and with what influences the general public.”

Practical and Effective
“The training was practical and effective,” said Aya Youssef, a student at the Faculty of Mass Communication, Cairo University, Egypt. “It was fun and useful because here, with the other trainees, I get the chance to apply the basics and theories I study at the Faculty.”

“I’m still learning and I am enjoying being around such experienced people. Everyone here has practical and on-the-ground experience which is embodied in the success they have achieved which distinguishes them from others,” she continued.

“I can’t wait to graduate so I can begin a professional and successful career instead of doing typical routine work.”

Amr Al-Qadi, a Flight Engineer, who is confident he can use his articles and blogs to spread facts and realities, says that he loves “writing in all its different forms”, but that journalism is his favorite form of writing.

He believes that blogs are modern day ‘traditional street cafés’, which used to be the place where the public would meet and converse with the likes of Abbas Al-Aqqad and Yahia Haqy, with the distinction that traditional cafés are tangible while blogs are virtual in nature.

“I’ve made a lot of friends here and I think it is rare for a group such as this one to get together like this. I really enjoyed being a part of this workshop, which was supervised by such experienced and professional people,” he said.

According to Mr. Hassan Mekki, the Managing Editor of IslamOnline.net’s News section and one of the most prominent trainers at the workshop, when training is carried out in a highly professional and specialized manner, the outcome will be a successful and positive one, allowing the recipients and trainees to learn while having fun.

“It plays a role in raising awareness and paves the way for positive change by creating awareness,” said Mekki.

Mekki stressed that the role of the citizen journalist is greater than simply being a blogger and that the facts relayed by them need to be conveyed with a great deal of objectivity, reliability and professionalism.

Without a doubt, the opinions expressed by this group of bloggers show a great deal of cleverness and insight.