Istanbul, 4 November 2014 – Twenty-eight journalists from 16 Arab countries together with the Al-Fanar Media editors and a group of mentors participated in a workshop intended to improve the quality and increase the quantity of reporting on education within the Arab region. The workshop was hosted by the U.N. Democracy Fund at the Koç University in Istanbul. Participants at the workshop were selected from around 300 applicants.
Journalists from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Syria, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia and Yemen met at Koç University to discuss how to find education story ideas, how to write about them in ways that attract readers and how to dig deeper into educational topics. Over three days, workshop participants were also guided through how to write about academic research and how to go beyond interviews and use data and public documents to complement their stories. Mentors discussed writing news stories about education and writing the longer and more analytical stories that educational topics sometimes require.
In addition to the value of the training, the group, which had participated with great enthusiasm, would provide a source of writers for Al-Fanar Media, since the submission of at least three articles was a requirement to obtain the certificate of completion from the course. The articles they write will help fill the information vacuum about education in the Arab world and increase the focus on what governments in the Arab region are or are not doing to improve the situation. It is hoped that after the workshop, a small cadre of journalists will be formed who will be eager and skilled at writing about education and whose work will help inform the public about key issues.
Arrangements for a second workshop in April 2015 will begin shortly.