South Asia’s Youth at Risk – Multimedia Storytelling by Young Journalists

Participants in the 2012 "Best Practices in the Digital Age for South Asian Journalists" Program interview a farmer in Sri Lanka using an iPod Touch.

Journalists from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives were invited to apply to a program that aims to connect 21-30 year old journalists in South Asia for joint reporting projects that explore topics relating to youth and the risks young people face in the region, while also training the journalists on 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 main components.

ICFJ conducted a six-week online course for 80 journalists on digital expression. 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. They also learned interview techniques, how to generate support for a complex story in one’s newsroom, how to harness social media for reporting, and how to plan and execute a story plan and a multimedia package. Participants were required to propose story ideas related to the 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.

ICFJ followed the online course with a five-day conference in Kathmandu, Nepal that brought together the 30 best participants from the online course who proposed the best projects. The projects were grouped together for regional cooperation. The groupings helped each of the young journalists report their stories in a more responsible and informed way, and created a lasting change in the journalists’ understanding of one another’s cultures. Through these joint reporting projects, audiences throughout the region benefited from more nuanced and in-depth reporting on critical cultural, religious and social issues. Project selections were made before the Kathmandu conference, giving the journalists an opportunity to plan their reporting together. They also presented their projects to the larger conference group. The conference in Kathmandu also included panel discussions, site visits and small group breakout meetings.

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