Knight International Journalism Fellowships

Azerbaijan: Cultivating Multimedia Journalists in Provinces

In Azerbaijan, Knight International developed a corps of multimedia journalists in the provinces who now provide news stories to independent media in the capital. Knight Fellow Eric Schwartz improved the digital skills of these journalists and helped them expand coverage of local issues in leading news outlets.


  • Connected provincial journalists with independent, Web-based news service; reporters from the regions provide coverage via radio on and via TV on
  • Helped organize the country's first pre-election debate in Baku, giving media unprecedented access to candidates. The debate was transmitted live on the Internet and on Radio Liberty.
  • Created a DVD on blogging in the Azeri language distributed widely by leading investigative journalists, and by the Ganca Media Center in the country's second-largest city. Set the stage for an independent, online news service now supported by IREX.

Our Stories

  • Oct 152008

    ICFJ Transmits Forum on Elections in Azerbaijan

    The International Center for Journalists broke new ground in Azerbaijan Friday night with transmission of a pre-election forum over the Internet. The event, entitled “Democracy in Azerbaijan: Goals and Challenges,” drew more than 100 people to the Park Inn in the capital, Baku, and attracted online viewers across the globe, from Azerbaijan to North America.

    Anar Orujov, deputy director of the ICFJ investigative journalism program in Baku, served as de facto technical manager of the event. He said transmission of the forum occurred with few problems.


  • Feb 152008

    Observing training sessions in foreign cultures is valuable experience

    Cultural differences come to the fore as participants and trainers work together to solve organization's problems

    Academics argue about what “culture” is – but anyone who has lived in a foreign country knows that clear differences in social behavior and expectations exist. I have been living in a foreign country – Russia - for nearly three months, and at this point cultural differences don’t usually get my attention. Sometimes, however, they do.

  • Feb 12008

    Signs of hope in young Russian journalism students

    Intensive journalism classes begin in Moscow newsroom.

    Eric Schwartz (left) and Alexei Terehov of Moi Rayon talk with young journalism students.

    Western commentators understandably worry about growing restrictions on press freedom in Russia, but in the eyes of new journalism students in Moscow I see bright signs of hope. At the Moscow newspaper office of Moy Rayon, we are holding journalism classes for about a dozen young students, who exhibit much of the same fire found in journalism students in the United States. They want to find and tell the stories in their neighborhoods.

  • Dec 132007

    Russian bureaucrats choke flow of information for local journalists

    On top of the normal challenges faced by journalists everywhere, Russian journalists find that government sources at all levels are restricting even basic information to the press.   The Yeltsin years in Russia were chaotic and sometimes dangerous, but they afforded journalists great opportunities. The relaxation of press restrictions that began with Perestroika continued, and even stolid bureaucrats became more communicative as the power became decentralized.

    But Russia seems to have become more difficult for journalists recently.