Roadblocks Along the New Silk Road

A Multimedia Training Program to Tell the Stories of Youth, Women and Migration in South Asia


Journalists from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives were invited to apply to a program that aimed to connect 21-30 year old journalists in South Asia for joint reporting projects that explored topics relating to migration and issues affecting women and young people in the region, while also training the journalists on investigative journalism and responsible reporting in the digital age. The program, run by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, had two phases.

Participants in the 2013 South Asia's Youth at Risk Training Program interview an employee of a drug rehabilitation center in Kathmandu.

In the first phase, ICFJ conducted a six-week online course for 80 journalists on digital expression with the context of migration and social issues. During the interactive course, participants received an introduction to in-depth reporting, weekly individual feedback from trainers on story progress, and lessons on Internet and document research. Participants were required to propose story ideas related to migration, women and youth in their countries prior to starting the course so that they could rely on the online training to help them develop their stories for more in-depth reporting. The course was conducted in four languages: English, Hindi, Pashto and Urdu. Daily translation allowed those of all languages to share ideas with the group.

In the second phase, ICFJ followed the online course with a five-day conference in Kathmandu, Nepal, bringing together the 25 best participants from the online course who proposed the best projects. The projects were grouped together for regional cooperation. Project selections were made before the Kathmandu conference, giving the journalists an opportunity to plan their reporting together before their arrival to the conference. The conference in Kathmandu included digital media training, panel discussions, site visits and small group breakout meetings. This program built on the success of the South Asia Youth at Risk Training Program in 2013.

The participating journalists produced stories on trade issues, migration, human trafficking and more.