Improving the Quality of News and Information: A Community Radio Project in Guatemala

ICFJ announces new community radio project in Guatemala.

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) will build on our current Investigative Reporting Initiative for the Americas, to increase the reporting skills of journalists and volunteers working for community radio throughout Guatemala. The program would target at least 30 selected, key community radio stations, working across the country to improve the quality of local information through the production of news and information on human rights issues that are relevant to their audiences while promoting greater access to information. A key component of the program would explore new digital technologies to deliver news and information to indigenous communities. The program will also provide safety protocol training to indigenous journalists and volunteers working in rural areas where they are more vulnerable to physical attacks or intimidation.

ICFJ launched a two-day radiothon in February 2015 in Antigua, Guatemala, which brought together thirty representatives of selected community stations to explore best practices in radio production for indigenous communities using digital tools. Journalists learned how to identify stories on human rights issues that are under-reported and developed a news coverage plan which would incorporate best practices and, when needed, radio digital resources that are useful for rural communities where power and internet access are limited. At the conference, with the help of ICFJ trainers and mentors, participants identified story ideas related to human rights issues, and elaborated a reporting project plan, including a timeline for news production and broadcast. Because journalists in the departments are often more vulnerable to attacks and intimidation because of their work, the conference also included a session on safety protocols currently used in the Investigative Reporting Initiative for the Americas, led by ICFJ consultant and digital security expert Jorge Luis Sierra. ICFJ’s manual on safety protocols and digital security will be available to participating radio reporters.