ICFJ Announces Breakthrough Program for Cuban and U.S. Journalists

Mar 152016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As relations between the United States and Cuba normalize, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) is launching a groundbreaking program that will bring independent Cuban journalists to work with their counterparts in Miami-based newsrooms to create a peer-to-peer learning network. Supported by $110,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a private United States-based foundation, the fellowship program will help Cuban journalists and bloggers foster engagement with U.S. journalists to strengthen their journalism.

As part of the program, the International Center for Journalists will partner with Cuban independent digital news outlet, 14ymedio, which was established in 2014, by award-winning journalist Yoani Sánchez. Over one year, five 14ymedio journalists will be embedded in Miami newsrooms. They will receive multimedia storytelling and core journalism training from media professionals, putting their new skills to work alongside U.S. journalists. Teams will produce stories that chronicle the changing relations between the countries and their impact on communities on both sides of the Florida Straits.

“This collaboration will enrich coverage in both countries,” said International Center for Journalists President Joyce Barnathan. “In particular, Cuban journalists will be able to hone their digital skills.”

“The historic shift in U.S. relations with Cuba, offers a unique opportunity to create a valuable exchange between journalists and build a peer-to-peer learning network,” said Shazna Nessa, Knight Foundation director for journalism. “The immersive training experience in Miami, a community where the Knight brothers once owned newspapers, will help journalists strengthen core, fact-based reporting skills using new digital tools and techniques.”

The Cuban journalists will also participate in the International Symposium on Online Journalism in Austin, Texas, this April to make broader connections and learn about new trends and best practices in digital media. The symposium is hosted by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, which also receives support from Knight Foundation.

After returning home, the Cuban participants will share their new skills with the field, expanding the network of journalists who receive training in multimedia storytelling tools and techniques.

The program offers significant benefits to U.S. journalists. It allows them to sharpen their leadership skills, while providing an opportunity to test new ways to develop journalism talent. By collaborating on stories that spark meaningful conversations about Cuba in the Miami community, they will also help people better understand the changes in Cuba by providing a firsthand perspective.

Support for the International Center for Journalists is part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to expand digital journalism training opportunities, support emerging leaders and strengthen the network of people working to advance the practice of journalism.

For more information on the International Center for Journalists, visit icfj.org.

About the International Center for Journalists

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) is an independent, non-profit organization at the forefront of the news revolution. Our programs empower journalists and engage citizens with new technologies and best practices. ICFJ's networks of reporters and media entrepreneurs are transforming the field. We believe that better journalism leads to better lives. For more, visit icfj.org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.

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