• Introduction to Journalism: a special guest with a special vision of the profession



    The first semester of the 2018-2019 school year began with the initiation of students in the media world and the basis of journalism. Over a week, they learned what is today’s journalism, what are the functions of the press, and how to transform a subject, sometimes a rigid one, to a story read by tens of thousands of people. Sorina Ştefârţă, director of the School of Advanced Journalism Studies and our special guest from Romania, the journalist Georgiana Ilie, took part as trainers.

    On the first day, the students were familiarized with the key concepts of journalism, and the discussions focused on the role of the media in a modern society. They also learned about the techniques of selecting a subject, the typology, the diversity and the credibility of sources, the role of own observation and documentation, and the fairness of the facts, a key criterion in a reporter’s job. At the end, the instructor pointed out some of the most important qualities of a journalist. According to her, a journalist must be as curious as possible, have a developed critical and observational spirit, not be afraid to ask questions and seek answers.

    The course continued with a series of lessons delivered by Georgiana Ilie, chief editor at School9 and Senior Editor at “Decat o Revista” (DoR), two media projects that, in just a few years, became reference names in the Bucharest press. Together with Georgiana Ilie, the SAJS students discovered the secrets of the profession, they were initiated into the art of storytelling and reporting, they told each other stories and understood their importance in the media world, they learned factual and argued writing techniques. They also learned what is editing technology and how it works.

    After getting familiar with the work and principles of the DoR (Narrative Journalism Journal about Romania today) and learning about the editorial project School9 (the place where teachers, parents and children can recognize their everyday life in school), the students had to do some exercises: they imagined a day of their life as a journalist, they told their memories, experiences and future expectations, they made an interview and presented the written portrait of the interviewee. Some of them participated in a master-class with Georgiana Ilie, organized by the SAJS for its graduates, but also for all those interested in storytelling. The event was the occasion and to meet and discovery the new trends in the media.

    From September 17th, Photo Journalism course with Nicolae Pojoga will be held at SAJS.

  • The thirteenth autumn at the SAJS: a variety of courses, challenges and people



    On Monday, the 10th of September, a new group of students entered the School of Advanced Journalism Studies for the first time. The event represents also the entry into a new world – that of media professionals, but, officially, this will happen next summer. Until then, a variety of courses, challenges, and interesting people are waiting for them. The school instructors, came on Monday to welcome their followers and wish them much courage.

    “Courage” was one of the key words in both the instructors’ messages and those of the graduates who came to welcome the students for the 2018-2019 school year. Sorina Ştefârţă, director of the School, congratulated the fresh students and wished them tenacity, uprightness and much patience both during their studies and especially after graduation, when they will begin their mass media job. She encouraged them to make the most of the experience of professionals in many fields they will know at school, and be more open to innovation, on which the SAJS will be focused this year. On the same note, Liliana Barbăroşie, Radio Free Europe reporter, graduate of the first SAJS promotion, but also the Radio Journalism instructor, assured the students of plenary support on behalf of the instructors, during and after their studies. At the same time, she referred to the difference between mercenary journalism and the objective, the qualitative one, adding that integrity and impartiality are a priority.

    Nadine Gogu, executive director of the Center for Independent Journalism, highlighted the importance of respecting professional deontology. “In the context of a divided society, the ethical and responsible character of the journalistic act is very important. During the Ethics and Diversity course, together we will propose solutions to eradicate the shortcomings in today’s media”, she said.

    In her turn, Elena Cioina, trainer who will teach the Social Journalism and Editor's www.E-Sănătate.md platform, urged students to trust their own strengths and never let themselves be disappointed: It's an exciting and motivating profession, but also a challenging one. But when you will like it, you will practice it with great pleasure”. The idea was supported by Cristian Jardan, director of the Unimedia.info, one of our graduates and, more recently, an instructor at the SAJS. He spoke to young people about the growing opportunities that new technologies brought to journalist activity, the most accessible of which is already the usual mobile phone. The role of new technologies has also been recognized by Cristina Mogâldea, head of “Media Azi” and Research Department at CIJ. However, as an instructor of the Romanian language stylistics course, Cristina said that language mistakes are unforgivable, whether on radio, TV or online. As a result, she promised an exciting and very useful course.

    The former students came to meet and speak to their future colleagues too. The graduates of the 2017-2018 promotion, Andrei Cebotari and Alexandra Bodarev, talked about their experience at the SAJS, but also about how this school had changed their lives.

    The School of Advanced Journalism Studies is a CIJ professional training program launched in autumn 2006 to prepare a new generation of journalists for Moldavian media market.

    Since then, the School has over 170 graduates, many of them being notorious personalities in the field of journalism.

  • Practical Training: The SAJ Students Successfully Passed the Last Test



    Responsible, enthusiastic, with a well-developed spirit of observation and eager to work shoulder to shoulder with experienced journalists. This is how one could characterize the students of 12th graduating class, who did practical training in various media outlets of Moldova from June 4 to June 29. Thus, the young people had also the opportunity to unofficially take a test for possible employment.

    This year, the most popular media outlets among the SAJ students were those online. Alexandra Bodarev and Ion Ciobanu chose to work for the e-Sănătate platform; Daniela Gorincioi did her practical training with the EA.md women’s magazine; Elmira Orozova preferred the Agora.md news portal; and Cristina Guzun decided to join the Diez.md team. Georgeta Fanaru chose the editorial office of the “Pur și Simplu” TV project of Radio Free Europe, while her colleague Diana Petrusan did several radio reports for various shows at the same radio station.

    While in previous years the majority of students were attracted by TV screens and went to discover the world of television, only Elena Rotari of this year’s class decided to find out more of the secrets that are hiding behind the cameras. The young woman chose to work at the local television ATV in the town of Comrat, where, being guided by editors, cameramen and producers, she did several social reports.

    Being passionate about investigations and analysis of social phenomena, our student Andrei Cebotari decided to do his practical training alongside and together with the Ziarul de Garda newspaper team. In those four weeks the reporter wrote articles about various public people with integrity problems, involved in obscure governance, money-laundering and other violations. This student’s articles were published both on the newspaper’s website and in its print version.

  • Public Presentation of Final Works, a Challenge Successfully Passed by SAJ Students



    Having learned to write news stories, reports, interviews and to make their own journalistic investigations, having been for nine months taught by the best local journalists, the students of the 2017-2018 academic year got to show results – their final works. The works were presented in front of a commission of media experts and practitioners: Vasile Botnaru, director of the Radio Free Europe bureau; Mariana Rață, TV8 producer; Cristian Jardan, director of Unimedia.md; Elena Cioina, media manager of www.e-sanatate.md; Dorin Scobioală, director of the Cat Studio Production House; and Sorina Ștefârță, director of the School of Advanced Journalism.

    The students had two weeks to prepare their projects, during which they researched information, discussed with the sources and protagonists of their articles, filmed, edited, and did the layout for their works. They did all that under the guidance of tutors, who are also the trainers of the SAJ: Liliana Barbăroșie, journalist for Radio Free Europe; Victor Moșneag, investigative reporter for Ziarul de Gardă newspaper; Alina Țurcanu, editor of the TV project Pur și Simplu for Radio Free Europe; Andrei Cibotaru, TV journalist and blogger; Diana Răilean, journalist for Radio Free Europe; Lilia Curchi, coordinating editor of the Natura magazine; and Oxana Iuteș, deputy director of Internews Moldova.

    Out of the ten students, three prepared materials for radio, four tried their skills in TV reports, and three others wrote articles for print media. Social topics were of the most interest to the future journalists. Thus, Elmira Orozova informed us about the situation in Moldovan sports and explained why less and less high performance athletes appear in our land; Georgeta Fânaru wanted to know why Moldovans don’t go to doctors and often ring the alarm when it is already too late; Diana Petrușan found out how many villages in Moldova have no family doctors; and Alexandra Bodarev presented the life stories of some overweight people and told how they are fighting stereotypes.

    Ion Ciobanu spoke with several experts and responsible officials from education and learned from them why young people with hearing impairment have less and less access to colleges and universities; Daniela Gorincioi informed us about nitrates in the fruit and vegetables that we eat; Cristina Guzun tried to find out more about the “Peter Pan generation”; from Elena Rotari we found out about the situation of the ring road in Comrat; Grigore Vieru introduced us to the field of economy and told about the potential for growth of industrial production in our country; and Andrei Cebotari did a journalistic investigation about the churches located on the territory of several public hospitals in Chisinau and tried to find out why prices there are higher than in other holy places.

    The members of the evaluation commission congratulated students for the effort they made to produce their final works. In their opinion, all materials to a greater or lesser extent have met journalistic requirements, i.e. the criteria that have been taken into account in the evaluation of media projects: timeliness, accuracy, objectivity, originality, fairness, impartiality.

    The School of Advanced Journalism is a project of the Independent Journalism Center in Chisinau in partnership with the Missouri School of Journalism, USA, and the Paris-based Journalism School and Training Center, France. The SAJ was launched on September 4, 2006, aiming to train universal journalists for Moldovan media.

  • Social Journalism: Focusing on the Person and Writing about Their Problems



    Social journalism is found in most journalistic materials. No newspaper or newscast appears without a social topic, such as increasing prices, road accidents, living standards, or migration. A person is the main character in all these materials. Why is it so important to write about people? How should we write about their problems and do it correctly? How should we report on sensitive topics? The SAJ students learned more about these issues during the course of Social Journalism. Elena Cioina, www.e-sanatate.md platform media manager, worked with the students.

    The course lasted six days, during which the students learned more about the subject of social issues. Together with the trainer, they discussed the responsibility of social institutions and the role of a journalist in reporting on social issues; they talked about the impact of social media and understood how sensitive topics could be addressed in a better way. During the course, each of the young journalists had to write an article on a social topic.

    After reading and thoroughly analyzing articles with the students, on the last day of the course, the trainer came up with more tips and recommendations for her future colleagues. “Try to search for original elements in trivial issues. Choose complex topics, appeal to sources, and decipher statistics. Always write in a simple way, understandable to everyone, and avoid ambiguous terms,” Elena said.

    For the third consecutive year, as part of the course, the SAJ students had a specialized module – Population and Development Journalism, organized in partnership with the UN Population Fund in Moldova (UNFPA). On that day, the future journalists met several experts in this sphere.

    Together with Valentina Bodrug-Lungu, Gender-Centru President, the students spoke about perceptions and stereotypes related to gender equality. The young people analyzed the realities and perspectives of gender equality and pointed out the values that journalists should promote. During the visit of the second guest – Eduard Mihalas, Population and Development Programs analyst at UNFPA Moldova – the discussion focused on active aging and on migration, which, according to the expert, has had a positive impact on our country. He also gave young people a few ideas on the topics they could address in their future articles as journalists. “How many are we in the Republic of Moldova? Are we going to disappear as a nation? Who will pay our pensions and what should we do about it?” – any of these issues could become a topic for a journalist.

    The last guest of the module – Ludmila Sarbu, Youth Programs analyst at UNFPA – explained to the students why young people and teenagers need health education; she spoke about key issues and myths about that subject and mentioned why a fair and qualitative program on sex education would have a positive impact on young people’s health and well-being in society.

    At the same time, the School of Advanced Journalism continues the course on Multimedia Newsroom.

  • Community Journalism: A Place’s Identity through Newspaper Pages



    The last course of the year took the SAJ students to the village of Selemet in Cimislia district. The purpose of the visit was to collect information and then make a newspaper about the village and for the villagers. Those who helped the young reporters to discover the spirit of Selemet were trainers Petru Macovei and Angela Ivanesi. This year, our students had other young people, students of a journalism school from Germany, working alongside and together with them.

    The SAJ students had only six days to make the newspaper from concept to printing. The first day was an introductory one. Students spoke with Petru Macovei about the specifics of community journalism, about what differs it from other genres of mass media, about the peculiarities of the place, and then chose the editorial team by voting. Andrei Cebotari was appointed as the editor-in-chief. The function of editor was offered to Georgeta Fanaru, while Elena Rotari was appointed as layout designer, being responsible for arranging materials on the page in the most original way possible. Other students played the role of reporters and had to draft two articles each.

    Then came one of the most difficult but interesting and memorable parts of the course – the visit to the village. There, young reporters had a couple of hours to discuss with the village mayor, visit the local museum, kindergarten and school, searching everywhere for interesting topics. The visit was followed by two days of work in the newsroom when, under careful supervision of the trainers, the students wrote, edited and designed their articles. Finally, the “Tezaurul” newspaper was sent to the print shop. The life stories of sixteen ordinary people, story-keepers of Selemet, were reflected on eight pages.

    After they saw the result of their work just taken out of the printing press, the SAJ students analyzed, together with the trainer, the mistakes committed and the success achieved. Petru Macovei congratulated the students for their effort and pointed out the importance of team work. “Travel to villages, write more about people and don’t forget about the social responsibility that you have,” he said. Then, traditionally, they returned to Selemet, to share with the villagers the newspaper made exclusively about them and for them. The people looked happy and proud of the fact that their stories appeared in the village’s only newspaper.

  • Environmental Journalism: Informing, Educating, and Making Readers More Responsible



    We live in the age of technologies and innovation, and the changes that happen vertiginously around us influence everyone’s life and health directly or indirectly. Why is the environment we live in important? What is the role of a journalist in reporting on environmental issues? Where do we find our topics? Why and how should we write about the world around us? The SAJ students answered these questions at the course in Environmental Journalism.

    Lilia Curchi, Natura Magazine Editor-in-Chief, Executive Director of the Association of Environment and Ecotourism Journalists of the Republic of Moldova, the Journalist of the Year 2015 laureate for reporting on environmental topics was the one who trained and guided the School’s students in environmental issues.

    The course started with a theoretical introduction to environmental journalism. The students analyzed several articles on ecology, worked on identifying possible topics, read laws and regulations, and studied the websites of state institutions and various NGOs working in this sphere. The trainer, in her turn, spoke about the principles of environmental journalism, about “invisible” issues directly affecting our health, and, together, they listed the most relevant topics, including air pollution, water quality, illegal deforestation, waste management, green space issues, etc.

    In order to help the SAJ students understand environmental topics better, Lilia Curchi organized several meetings with experts in the sphere. The young people attended a seminar on climate change at the local and world levels, after which they visited the Chisinau Botanical Garden. There, they found out more about rare species of trees, shrubs, tropical and technical plants, visited a breeding ground, and photographed various flower collections.

    During the five days of the course, the SAJ students did three practical works: a news report, an article, and an infographic. Finally, Lilia Curchi advised students to pay attention to details when writing about the environment, to focus on the chosen topics, and to address the environmental element even in materials apparently having almost nothing to do with environmental issues. “Journalists, through their works, not merely inform, but they also make consumers more responsible. Be honest and correct with yourselves, and stay very curious,” the trainer added.

    The next course for the SAJ students is Social Journalism.

Courses

Success stories

2013
“It is not at all a traditional school”
2008
“The SAJ was a challenge, but also a chance to get a new profession”
2017
“I’m proud of my first job and I like what I’m doing”