• Mariana Balaban: ”At SAJ I learned from the best professionals in the industry, I met brilliant colleagues, and I had memorable experiences””

    I decided to get into the School because although I worked in television, my background was in law and not in journalism. Since what I did in television was rather intuitive, I wanted to gain knowledge and eventually develop my career in this industry.

    I remember perfectly how a colleague from work, who was a graduate of the School, used to scare me that I had incredibly difficult things ahead and that I would have to forget about my life for that year. Well, it wasn’t so. Not only did I not forget about my life, but I lived it with great intensity.

    Professionals, without modesty, the best journalists from Moldova (and some from Romania), generously shared their experience and knowledge with us. There were no barriers between professors and students, like there are at the university. Classes felt like friendly discussions, where we asked questions, exercised, played, and learned.

    I will never forget the emotions I had when presenting homework in front of everyone and the pride I felt about the work I did with so much pleasure. I liked having to stay until later in the evening at the school so as to finish a project with my colleagues, who are simply genial, and our coordinators Victor and Iulia used to put up with our whims.

    I don’t know exactly who came up with the concept of this school, but I want to thank them. The SAJ is a proof that you can learn more journalism in a year than others learn in three years at the university. The big advantage is that you deal with professionals who actually practice what they teach you and that you learn from them, not from dust-covered textbooks. You learn exactly what you need, not useless theories. You learn by practicing, and not behind the desk.

  • Social Journalism, a course that teaches writing about people and their problems

    Social issues are an essential component of all newscasts on TV, radio, and online. The common man and their problems often grab the attention of the media, and journalists in recent years have turned into storytellers, whose role is to inform the public about such topics. The course of social journalism at the SAJ aims to help students discover topics about common people. Vitalie Dogaru, course trainer, teaches SAJ students to approach “delicate” issues.

    The course lasted six days, during which the students of the School of Advanced Journalism did fieldwork and prepared two materials. The first article was written after they, together with the trainer, visited the “Tony Hawks” Center for Rehabilitation and Social Integration of Children with Disabilities in Chisinau. The purpose of the visit was to carefully observe the situation and cover as clearly and accurately as possible the things they saw and recorded.

    Young journalists went through a real trial by fire. Some of them found it very difficult to keep their emotions under control when they had to write about children with special needs, although Vitalie Dogaru told them more than once that “a journalist can’t become emotionally involved, cry, or be distressed about their interlocutor…”

    SAJ students had three days to prepare the second article: during that time they researched social issues, spoke with sources, chose by themselves the topic, and then edited and designed the layout of materials.

    During lessons, students found a lot about social institutions and the variety of social topics. They understood the impact that materials on social topics can have, how “delicate” topics can be covered, and why observance of ethics and deontology is essential in this journalistic genre. Several students confessed that, while very difficult, this course strengthened their “professional immunity” and made them more self-confident. “Now I understand what the social responsibility of journalists means,” said student Svetlana Parfeni.

  • Public presentation of final works, a challenge successfully passed by SAJ students

    A difficult, interesting work, with lots of challenges and emotions. These words characterize the three weeks when the students of the School of Advanced Journalism prepared their final projects. On May 26 and 27, the works were presented before a commission of media experts. Of the 14 students, four produced TV reports, five tried their powers online, four chose the newspaper, and one student made a radio report.

    The topics chosen for final works were diverse, but they all focused on social themes. Iurii Botnarenco informed us about new provisions of the anti-tobacco law and told us about the places where people won’t be able to smoke after May 31 and what punishments await those who will not abide by the rules. Stela Boico spoke with several young mothers and found out what they do and what they are passionate for besides taking care of their children. Ecaterina Mihalachi told us the stories of some Moldovans who managed to develop successful businesses in Moldova after working for years abroad. From her we found out in what Moldovan village they make the tastiest Italian pastry, “canoncini,” and where you can buy microfiltered water. Petru Garciu teleported us to Gagauzia and revealed the secrets of Gagauz people. From him, we learned how they make the tastiest traditional pie, “cavarma,” what a “ciotra” is, and how traditional Gagauz carpets are woven.

    Student Lia Ciutac spoke about rural tourism, which stimulates the development of local businesses. Liliana Croitor explained the meaning of traditional Moldovan carpets. Veronica Tabureanu made a journalistic investigation about the landfill at the outskirts of the town of Cantemir, which pollutes wells in the area and is a real danger for residents. Elena Furdui tried to find out if other ethnic groups and religious confessions that live in our country have the tradition of gifts in the memory of deceased relatives. Tatiana Lujanskaya reminded us about the carcinogenic danger of slate. Anastasia Pojoga found out why children with disabilities are disliked by drivers. And Olimpia Begleta wrote an article about how disability can be transformed into ability.

    The most interesting and intriguing final projects were produced by students Irina Gusan, Natalia Ghetu, and Svetlana Parfeni. Irina spoke about the villagers who refuse to work; Natalia discovered fakes that are worn on Victory day; and Svetlana told us about employment opportunities for the blind.

    The commission found that all works more or less met journalistic requirements. They were assessed by taking into consideration such criteria as timeliness, accuracy, objectivity, originality, fairness, lack of bias, and impartiality.

    SAJ students were pleased with results. For many of them, the final project was a very useful experience that will help them in their future work. Veronica Tabureanu said that the final work was for her a real life lesson: “I saw again that journalism demands much patience and work.”

    For Olimpia Begleta the final work was “the culmination of studies at the SAJ.” “I am grateful to trainers for having helped me gain knowledge throughout the year,” she said. Elena Furdui confessed that although the work was difficult, it was very interesting and pleasant. “If I were to choose again where to study, I’d return to the School of Advanced Journalism,” she said.

    Iurii Botnarenco, who acted as reporter and cameraman for his report, and also did sound recording and editing, is proud of his work. He is sure that the experience of these three weeks, as well as what he heard from the commission, will help him a lot in the future. “I accepted the challenge and succeeded,” he concluded.

    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 Center for Training and Improvement of Journalists in Paris, France. The SAJ was launched on September 4, 2006, with the purpose of preparing universal journalists for Moldovan mass media. Currently, the SAJ is holding the second phase of admission. Details about admission procedure and criteria can be found here.

  • Deadline extended: The IJC is hiring an expert to evaluate the curriculum of the School of Advanced Journalism

    Position: National/international expert to evaluate the curriculum of the School of Advanced Journalism (www.scoaladejurnalism.md), a project of the Independent Journalism Center.


    • To evaluate the curriculum/course content of the School of Advanced Journalism;
    • To provide information on how much the current curriculum meets the requirements of modern journalism and the specific challenges faced by the media in Moldova;
    • To provide recommendations and suggestions about the courses that should be either excluded from the curriculum or adjusted to current realities, so that the teaching and practical content offered by the School of Advanced Journalism could be brought into line with new trends in the media.

    Selection criteria:

    • Higher education in journalism, social sciences and other relevant areas;
    • Experience in similar evaluations;
    • Experience in research in the media field;
    • Advanced knowledge of education/training in journalism;
    • Deep knowledge of new trends in the media;
    • Capacity to analyze, monitor, synthesize, evaluate;
    • Skills in development of research methodologies, questionnaires, etc.
    • Knowledge of the Romanian language is an advantage.

    Interested persons should submit the following documents:

    • CV;
    • Methodology to be used for evaluation;
    • Relevant documents confirming experience in the field;
    • Financial offer for services.

    The package of documents shall be emailed by August 05, 2016 to sorina.stefarta@scoaladejurnalism.md or brought to the SAJ office at the following address: 3rd floor, 49/4 Tighina Street, Chisinau, MD-2012. For further information please contact: Sorina Stefarta, Director of the School of Advanced Journalism, telephone +373.69.189010.

    General description:

    The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) is a non-governmental, non-profit, apolitical organization, established as a “private institution,” which provides assistance to journalists and media outlets in Moldova. IJC Mission is to facilitate the development of information society by strengthening free and viable media, including new media, through projects providing education in journalism and public relations, media advocacy campaigns, research, media literacy and non-profit journalistic products.

    Details about the work of the Independent Journalism Center can be found on the IJC website, www.media-azi.md, as well as on the IJC page in Facebook. Details about the School of Advanced Journalism – www.scoaladejurnalism.md or the Facebook page of this project.

  • 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.

  • 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”