Alfred Friendly Press Partners leverages the abilities and experiences of its 300-plus alumni as part of its international training program. Alfred Friendly staff members and advisors work with alumni from a target country to develop a journalism training program that best fits their media’s needs. U.S. trainers work together with alumni and local journalism educators to select participants and conduct hands-on, practical training.
Across the developing world, conditions for independent, forceful media has deteriorated sharply in the past few years, as journalists encounter more restrictions from governments, militants, organized crime, and partisan media owners. To help meet this need, Press Partners expanded its mission to include the in-country training conferences.
Alfred Friendly also has sent veteran U.S. newsroom managers to countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, South Korea, Kenya and Uganda for training seminars in their newsrooms. The program also arranged and conducted journalism seminars in Beijing, Istanbul, and New Delhi for AFPF alumni and local journalists.
The model for Alfred Friendly’s International Program is a week-long investigative reporting seminar held in Islamabad, Pakistan in July 2015.
Pakistan is a country under tremendous pressure internally and externally. Citizens need accurate information about how its institutions – government, economic, religious, education – are functioning. Journalists need help developing ethical standards and reporting skills so they can gather and distribute accurate and credible information. The need for well-trained, courageous journalists who are the truth-tellers in Pakistan has never been greater. The people of Pakistan cannot make informed decisions about their future or support change without accurate information from a free and responsible press.
Nearly 60 Pakistani journalists applied for 30 available slots in the program. The chosen participants learned best practices and latest techniques for developing investigative news projects from U.S. and Pakistani experts. The goal was to train Pakistani journalists to be more effective reporters and to help make the media in Pakistan more vigorous. Broader objectives included fostering a desire to advance a free, responsible press in Pakistan and to promote democratic ideals.
The lead co-trainers were Mark Horvit, executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, a renown organization based at the Missouri School of Journalism, and Umar Cheema, a 2008 Daniel Pearl Fellow who recently started the Center for Investigative Reporting in Pakistan. Participants learned about the latest trends in investigative reporting, data journalism and tools, using spreadsheets for reporting, web tools, data visualization and problems working with data. They also learned or enhanced their skills in finding international data and getting information from governments, tapping Pakistan’s data sources and using Pakistan’s right to information law. They learned and discussed journalism ethics, finding and protecting sources, using email encryption, effective interviewing, using social media during and after reporting and reporting on traumatic events and conflict. There were daily case studies and presentations, hands-on tutorials and a train-the-trainer session.