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.


  • Oct 152008

    ICFJ forum gives opportunity for open discussion of controversial topics

    "Democracy in Azerbaijan: Goals and Challenges" broke new ground, allowing open discussion of sensitive topics, and bypassing traditional government-controlled media by using the Internet.One question I faced in the press conference we held a couple of days before the forum was: “How is your forum going to affect the election?”

    This was an interesting question – and a pretty easy one to answer. The goal, I said, was not to affect the election. Everyone knows the president of Azerbaijan is going to be re-elected.

  • Oct 152008

    Creating a space for democratic discourse in Azerbaijan

    Some thoughts from the night before our forum - Democracy in Azerbaijan: Goals & Challenges.Oct. 9, 200811 p.m. The end is in sight for a project that has occupied Chuck & me for the last two months. Yesterday we had a press conference to the forum – Democracy in Azerbaijan: Goals and Challenges. We were also guests on a Radio Liberty talk show, discussing the event. Tomorrow, the forum will be held at the Park Inn in Baku. We have confirmation for about 40 guests. We have confirmation from most of the panelists.

  • Aug 72008

    Young Azerbaijanis enthusiastic about starting to blog

    Young Azerbaijanis learning how to use blogs as one form of modern journalism.

    The 14 young Azerbaijanis who crowded into the Sheki computer center on Aug. 5 weren’t focused on building democracy, but the training they received from the ICFJ is leading in that direction. In one day, the students created both individual blog sites and a site for their collective blog.

  • Feb 202008

    Russian journalists interview New York Times correspondent

    Russian journalists had the opportunity to discuss journalism, politics and the relative merits of subway systems in a wide-ranging discussion with a New York Times correspondent based on Moscow. About a dozen journalists at Moi Rayon-Moscow got a personal introduction to Western-style journalism when Andrew Kramer, correspondent for The New York Times, visited the newsroom for a lunchtime discussion on Feb. 18, 2008. Discussion topics ranged from reporting styles to the comparative merits of the New York City subway and the Moscow Metro.

  • Feb 192008

    New York Times reporter shares experiences with Russian journalists

    One of the three Moscow-based New York Times reporters recently visited the news room of Moi Rayon for an informal discussion about reporting, politics, and the relative merits of the New York City and Moscow metro systems. While the US has many positive aspects, the New York Times reporter on the record preferred the Moscow metro.

    Dmitri Surnin, editor-in-chief at Moi Rayon-Moscow, listens as Andrew Kramer, New York Times correspondent, discusses his work with Russian journalists at Moi Rayon.