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ARIJ and UNESCO Guide Professors of Media to Integrate Investigative Journalism Courses into their Curriculum

January 29, 2011

Amman – January 2011 – Fifteen professors from three Arab countries began a three-day workshop in Amman on Saturday to look into the possibility of integrating investigative journalism practices into their media curriculum. The workshop, held in cooperation with UNESCO Amman, is the first of many similar courses to be organized over the next three years by Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ), the region’s first and only media support network seeking to promote in-depth reporting. Academics from Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine will be trained on the use of the ARIJ manual: “Story-based Inquiry”. The manual’s principal author, Dr. Mark Hunter, a professor of media and investigative journalism at the France-based INSEAD, will supervise the workshop along with senior ARIJ trainers. The workshop will cover the launching of an investigative report from A to Z; establishing the hypothesis, research methods, checking sources, organizing the work and writing techniques. “Investigative reporting has the potential to present new realities and shatter old paradigms”, Anna Paolini, Head of UNESCO Amman office, told the opening session. “It is your role now, as professors of media in the region, to help us plant the seed of this concept in the upcoming generation of journalists in the region”. In November 2009, UNESCO and ARIJ officially launched the first Arab manual for investigative journalists entitled Story-Based Inquiry: A manual for investigative journalists, the publication was jointly produced by UNESCO and ARIJ to fill the gap in the literature of the profession. The manual is being translated into all official UN languages in addition to Kurdish. Its international edition is being taught at over 16 universities in China The ARIJ 2011-2014 strategy focuses among other things on introducing the manual to Arab media universities, from Morocco to Bahrain, to enhance the culture of investigative journalism for the benefit of local societies. ARIJ hopes at least four Arab universities will use the manual in their class rooms within the next four years. “Since the creation of ARIJ five years ago, we have used a bottom-top approach to promote investigative journalism among individual journalists and through specialized units being set up at several existing Arab media,” said Rana Sabbagh, ARIJ Executive Director. “Now we hope to inspire universities to train the future generation of media professionals on investigative journalism, to ensure greater accountability and transparency”. In the run up to Saturday’s workshop, ARIJ organized a round table for 31 university deans and professors from 30 private and public Arab universities at the Third Annual ARIJ Conference end 2010.

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