• A new academic year began at the School of Advanced Journalism

    Optimistic, cheerful and clearly emotional were the students of the 11th graduating class, who began studies at the School of Advanced Journalism on September 1. For ten months, fifteen young men and women will work in the mode of an editorial office and will receive intensive training in journalism. They will learn the standards and practices of western journalism and how they can be applied in Moldovan media. All that – along and together with the best journalists and media experts.

    The first day of school was mainly initiation. SAJ Director Sorina Stefarta came with a welcoming message for the new students. She congratulated those who will make up the 11th graduating class of the SAJ and wished them beautiful accomplishments, lots of interesting news and reports, and constant curiosity.

    With congratulations, advice and good thoughts also came some representatives of the 10th SAJ graduate class, who shared their own experience at the SAJ. Lia Ciutac, Irina Gusan, Olimpia Begleta and Liliana Croitor wished to future journalists patience, courage, perseverance and confidence. “Journalism is team work, so it is very important that you help and respect each other, be correct to yourselves and, last but not least, be punctual – an absolutely necessary thing for a journalist,” said Liliana Croitor.

    Students enrolled to the School of Advanced Journalism for academic year 2016-2017 have license degrees in various fields. Three of them graduated university with specialization in Journalism and Communication Studies; others studied Law, International Relations, History and Psychology, Philology, Cadastre, Geodesy and Constructions, Finance and Banks, Business and Economy. One of the SAJ students graduated from the University of Exeter Department of Economy and Politics (the UK).

    The School of Advanced Journalism is a project of the Independent Journalism Center (IJC). It was launched on September 4, 2006 in order to prepare journalists for Moldovan mass media. Since 2006, this post-university educational institution has prepared over 150 young journalists, the majority of whom work for the country’s media outlets.

  • For the first time, SAJ students visited several media outlets in Bucharest

    Enthusiastic, inspired and willing to make a career in journalism – this is how one could describe the students of the tenth graduating class of the School of Advanced Journalism, who visited several media outlets in Bucharest on June 22-24. The visit, organized at the end of school year, was aimed to let them see how the media and journalists work on the other bank of the Prut.

    In the first evening, SAJ students met journalist Lina Vdovii, specialized in investigative journalism and reporting, winner of the Young Journalist Award of 2015. Originated in Moldova and graduate of a university in Iasi, Lina spoke to students about her experience as freelancer.

    The next stop SAJ students made at the Romanian Television (TVR) company, where they were greeted by Angela Avram Giurgiu, author of shows for TVR Internațional channel. After a general presentation of the company – when and how TVR was launched, how many departments and employees it has, etc. – young people talked with Angela Avram about team work, which is indispensable in television.

    At the Radio Romania company students met Dan Preda, director of Radio România Actualități station; Maria Toghina, member of the company’s Administrative Board; and Janina Migreanu, director for communication. They showed to students the main departments of Radio Romania – Radio România Actualități, Radio Archives, Golden Library of Sound Recordings, and Radio Theater.

    With colleagues from RISE Project Romania, whom we met in a less formal situation, the SAJ has been collaborating for quite a long time – for three years now they have been helping to conduct the Data Journalism Workshop. This time, students spoke with journalist Daniel Bojin and director Sergiu Brega, who deals with the video-graphic component of RISE investigations.

    The evening culminated with a visit to the National School of Political and Administrative Studies in Bucharest, where students met professor Dumitru Bortun. Discussions lasted more than two hours, and SAJ students learned a lot of interesting and useful things about the School, about the opportunities it offers to young people from Moldova, about perspectives and … about journalism.

    The last destination in Bucharest was the office of the “Adevărul” publication. Editor-in-chief Dan Marinescu and deputy editor-in-chief Ramona Ursu spoke with young journalists about the newspaper, about circulations, and about the situation of the media in Moldova and Romania.

    The visit to Bucharest by students of the tenth graduating class of the School of Advanced Journalism has been possible due to a project of the National Communication Center, and NGO focused on communication and professional development of the media in Moldova.

  • Introduction to Journalism, the first course of initiation for SAJ students

    Academic year 2016-2017 at the School of Advanced Journalism has begun with initiation of new students into the secrets of the job of press reviewer. For three days, they were learning what journalism is, how a media outlet works, how information is gathered, and what functions the media has in a democratic society.

    Introduction to journalism is a mostly theoretical course. SAJ trainer and director Sorina Stefarta spoke to students about the key notions and principles of journalism, criteria used to choose topics, the role of one’s own observation, research, and information gathering techniques. The topic that aroused curiosity and lively discussion was related to sources. Students found out that there are several types of sources and special techniques to work with them; that a source must not become too close to the journalist; and that, if necessary, their identity must be protected.

    The course also involved discussions about objectiveness, impartiality and credibility, and a special accent was placed on the problem of plagiarism in journalism, which is a very serious violation of ethics and deontology. Next, students learned what a news story is, discussed how certain topics can become material for the press, and produced by themselves a press review – the first practical exercise of this semester. SAJ students will learn more information about the structure of a news story and the rules for its writing at their next course – The News.

  • Photojournalism, a course on embellishing information with images

    Caption, cropping, color balance, tone balance, diaphragm, lens – all these notions are no longer foreign to SAJ students due to the course of photojournalism. For five days (September 19-23), they had been learning the secrets of successful photography and how a single image can replace a thousand words. Trainer Nicolae Pojoga, lecturer at the Arts Academy of Moldova, led them into the world of photography.

    The course began with studying the functioning principles of a camera. Then, via practical exercises, students learned the rules of photographic composition and editing. A special emphasis was placed on understanding the notion of caption and the rules of writing it. “In most cases, this text is the only words that a hurried reader grasps. It depends on you what information you’ll succeed to deliver,” Nicolae Pojoga said. To apply the theory learned at the course, SAJ students made a working visit to Colonita village in Chisinau municipality.

    The ethics and deontology of photojournalism was one of the key topics discussed during classes and it raised heated discussions among students. Divided into two camps, they simulated a public debate, where they spoke about the principles for and against publishing a picture in a magazine.

    SAJ students also discussed about the art of photography and the challenges of this profession with the special guest of the course, photographer Ramin Mazur. He spoke to students about his work experience and mentioned that a photojournalist’s job is not quite as easy as it might seem at first glance. “You must be a true professional and work with dedication and passion,” Ramin said.

    Students were impressed by the things they learned, especially given that for some of them the course of photojournalism was among the reasons why they chose to study at the SAJ. “I have a passion for quality photography, and now I understand what hard work there is behind a successful image,” said student Cristina Papusoi.

    The next course in the SAJ study plan is “The Interview.”

  • The News, the first practical course that lays the foundation of journalism

    What the news is, what its functions are, what questions it must answer, what the difference is between information and news, where journalists search for information, and how they work with sources – these are some of the issues that formed the basis of one of the most important courses in journalism, The News. For six days, students worked along and together with trainers Diana Raileanu, reporter for Radio Free Europe, and Elena Robu, editor for Pro TV Chisinau channel.

    The course started with the basic notions about the news. Students found out how a news story should begin, what questions it should answer, and what its structure should be. Young people learned about the lead, headline, and body of a news story, about background, and  about the types of sources and the techniques used to work with them. Another important topic referred to how citations are used and how sources should be cited. “A good citation can save a poor article,” trainer Diana Raileanu said.

    In the six days of the course, students made five practical works. Thus, for the first time in their lives, they experienced field work and applied their spirit of observation, participated in a press conference, learned to work with sources and do their research. And even if at first glance they thought the course was easy, many of them found news writing a true challenge. “I understood that we should be daring, because we will sometimes have to ask uncomfortable questions,” said student Maria Svet.

    At the end of the course, trainers gave some useful advice to future journalists. Elena Robu told them that a good reporter must always keep pace with their reader, viewer or listener, providing them with correct, true and neutral information. Then, Diana Railean suggested them to resist manipulation, question everything, and verify any information. “Read the press critically!” she said.

    Tomorrow, SAJ students will start a new course – Magazine Journalism.

  • The students of the TENTH graduating class of the SAJ received their certificates of study

    Fourteen young people, students of the tenth graduating class of the School of Advanced Journalism, are ready to join the journalistic community. On June 30, in a symbolic ceremony and in the presence of trainers, they received their long-awaited certificates of study.

    Academic year 2015-2016 at the SAJ lasted ten months. These were ten months in which the students of the School of Advanced Journalism worked in the regime of a real editorial office. They wrote news stories, interviews, learned to film and edit reports for radio and television, prepared articles on political, economic, social topics, made their own journalistic investigations. Courses were held by the best journalists and experts in various fields, from Moldova and from abroad. “The SAJ asserted itself due to the quality of study and trainers who have been with us for ten years,” said SAJ Director Sorina Stefarta.

    The event was also attended by those who taught SAJ students – trainers. They congratulated new graduates for their courage and perseverance and recommended them to build their future careers in journalism, strictly abiding by ethics and deontology. “Don’t betray your profession,” told them Alina Radu, Director of Ziarul de Gardă newspaper. “It is very difficult to make a name and it is very easy to lose it. Don’t let yourselves be manipulated. Be fair and honest with yourselves,” added Petru Macovei, Director of the Association of Independent Press.

    Words of encouragement also came from trainers Vasile Botnaru, Nadine Gogu, Liliana Barbarosie, Alina Turcanu, Cristina Mogildea, Dumitru Marian, Ina Grejdeanu, Vladimir Bolea, Andrei Cibotaru, Dumitru Ciorici, Tatiana Puiu.

    The event culminated with the awarding of certificates of study. It should be mentioned that this year, two students – Natalia Ghetu and Iurii Botnarenco – graduated from the School of Advanced Journalism with distinction.

    The School of Advanced Journalism (SAJ) is a project of the Independent Journalism Center, initiated in cooperation with the Missouri School of Journalism (USA) and the Center of Professional Training of Journalists in Paris (France). The School has been conceived based on advanced postgraduate programs for journalists and created according to the highest international standards in journalism practiced in Europe and the USA. This year, the SAJ received financial support from the National Endowment for Democracy (USA) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).


Success stories

“The SAJ is the place where you learn all about journalism in a very short time”
”At SAJ I learned from the best professionals in the industry, I met brilliant colleagues, and I had memorable experiences”
“School ended, but the daily routine remained: I read news every morning and seek information from several sources to find the truth”