• Introduction to Journalism, the First Initiation Course for SAJ Students

    The first semester of studies at the School of Advanced Journalism started with initiation into the world of the media. The three-day course of “Introduction to Journalism” gave an overview of the structure of the Moldovan media space and of journalistic principles. The School’s director Sorina Stefarta worked with students as their trainer.

    The course was mostly theoretical and began with discussions about the role and functions of the media in a modern society. Students received explanations about information collections techniques, about approaches to topics in the media, and about such notions as objectivity, credibility, impartiality, sources of information and relations with them, correctness and journalistic ethics.

    Who the journalist is, what his qualities are, what a modern journalist lacks, and why reputation matters – these issues were also discussed during the course. The SAJ director pointed out some of the most important qualities of a journalist. According to her, he must, above all, be curious, have a developed spirit of observation, always ask questions and seek answers.

    A reporter must work for his public and take into account the interests of his viewer, listener, or reader. “The journalist is not a simple passerby. He is the one who sees what others don’t see. It takes a lot of work and dedication,” concluded Sorina Stefarta at the end of the course.

  • Students of the 11th Graduating Class Received their Certificates of Study

    Ten months of intense work, unprecedented challenges, memorable encounters and heated discussions have passed in the blink of an eye. And at a festive ceremony on Thursday, June 29, eleven young people received their long-awaited certificates of completion of the School of Advanced Journalism for academic year 2016-2017. Enthusiastic and optimistic, students say they will not stop here and will make their way to a successful journalistic career.

    SAJ trainers, who guided and taught our students for ten months, did not miss the event, either. Mentors congratulated their former trainees on the courage and perseverance they showed in this not at all simple attempt of exploring the media. They also urged them to do quality journalism, to build a good reputation in media and to translate into practice the things they learned at the School. Namely…

    From Diana Railean and Elena Robu young people learned what questions a news story should answer; Nicolae Pojoga told them the secret of a successful photo. Together with Ludmila Andronic students created their own magazine, and Vitalie Dogaru explained what an informative, investigative, interpretative and analytical interview is. Alina Radu initiated them into long articles and explained, step by step, how to conduct a journalistic investigation. From Tatiana Puiu they learned what a subject of public interest is and when a child can be interviewed, and with Nadine Gogu young people discussed journalistic ethics and deontology.

    Together with Liliana Nicolae, Diana Railean and Vasile Botnaru they discovered the specificity of radio journalism and learned how to “create” images in listeners’ minds. From Denis Rusu and Dumitru Marian they learned everything about the camera and mastered video editing software. Together with Dorin Scobioala, Oxana Iutes and Andrei Cibotaru they got a first-hand experience of being a TV reporter and made their own newscast. Liliana Barbarosie and Tatiana Etco talked about the peculiarities of online journalism, and Dumitru Ciorici taught them to combine original content with maximum speed.

    Lucia Bacalu-Jardan, Adrian Petcu and Dorin Scobioala explained how to launch and manage a media business, and Ina Grejdeanu – how to develop and manage a media project. Ion Chislea taught them to “humanize” figures in economic journalism; with Anatolie Golea, Alina Turcanu and Sorina Stefarta they discussed the latest events on the domestic and European political arena. With Lilia Curchi students explored the environment; from Elena Cioina they learned how to correctly cover sensitive topics; Cristina Mogaldea taught them grammar; and with Petru Macovei young people made a newspaper about and for the inhabitants of Saiti village in Causeni district.

    If you want to become a part of this big family called the School of Advanced Journalism, to learn from professionals and to enter the exciting world of the media, we remind you that admission for academic year 2017-2018 at the SAJ continues. But only the year is academic; the rest is a lot of practical work, field exercises, open discussions on the most diverse topics, because this is how journalism is learned and done.

    Details about the procedure and criteria of admission can be found on www.scoaladejurnalism.md and on our Facebook page.

  • SAJ Trainers Participated in the Second Stage of Training for Trainers

    After in mid-June they tested various teaching techniques and learned how to better capture future students' attention and how to teach journalism in an accessible and interactive way, SAJ trainers met for the second stage of the training of trainers. The event was held between July 6 and 9 in Targu Neamt, Romania. Trainers worked along with Cristina Lupu, program director at the Independent Journalism Center from Bucharest, and Vlad Ajder, actor and director from Galati, Romania.

    The second part of the training focused mainly on learning and testing various presentation techniques. Trainers learned how to start a presentation memorably, how to structure their speech so as to keep students "connected" to the topic, and how to use their voice and non-verbal language.

    The coach of the training, Cristina Lupu, presented trainers with some techniques for controlling emotions. "Use various games or interactive exercises. Ask questions and try to find out what expectations students have. You could also tell them short stories from your professional experience. The most important thing is to keep visual contact with each student," the expert suggested. 

    How to speak clearly and say everything we want in a very short time? For this exercise each trainer had 60 seconds, during which he or she had to describe the course they are teaching and to say what they wanted to change or improve in it. After this test, trainers understood how important it is to structure a speech and learned how to emphasize important words and avoid the ones that are inessential: "Speak clearly and to the point. Use various audio and video techniques for your presentations. And don't forget about feedback."

    And since the quality of speech is extremely important in any presentation, the last day of the training was dedicated to this aspect. Trainers went through a real trial by fire, being tested on diction, breathing and ... attitude. Actor and director Vlad Ajder showed them various practical exercises and taught them to correctly pronounce words, syllables and sounds. "What you say is not the only thing that matters; the way you say it matters, too," he said.

    At the end of the training, participants discussed about the findings of the report on the assessment of the School of Advanced Journalism curriculum, which was produced at the end of 2016 by Laura Kelly, an expert in journalism education from the United States. Together with the School's staff, they discussed every suggestion made by the author of the report, so as to see how applicable they are to the realities of the Republic of Moldova, and came up with their own recommendations for improving the study process. So the school year 2017-2018 can have a strong start at the SAJ!

  • The School of Advanced Journalism Has Welcomed its 12th Class of Students

    Young, curious, full of enthusiasm, optimism, and desire to contribute to the improvement of media in Moldova, a new group of young people started the 2017-2018 academic year at the School of Advanced Journalism. During the ten months of studies at the SAJ, students will be working at the pace of a real editorial office and will learn the best practices in the field of journalism. Our trainers – the best media professionals of the country – will be by their side.

    The event traditionally began with the welcoming speech of the SAJ team. SAJ Director Sorina Stefarta welcomed the new students, wished them success, perseverance, and a lot of patience in the profession they’ve chosen. “You have 10 months of intense work ahead of you, with the most exciting experiences and events and the best teachers,” she said. In her turn, social journalism trainer Elena Cioina, manager of www.E-Sănătate.md, encouraged students to never be disappointed. “This is an interesting and captivating profession, and if you grow to love it, it will bring you much pleasure.” Nicolae Pojoga, trainer of photojournalism, shared this opinion. The expert in the art of photography promised students to teach them make not just very good, but also ethical photos. “We’ll do photographic news stories,” concluded the trainer. 

    Two graduates of the class of 2016-2017 also came to welcome new students. Already as reporters of the Ziarul de Garda newspaper, Liliana Botnariuc and Maria Svet told about their experience of study at the SAJ and encouraged the new students to make full use of all that the school offers them. “We had the opportunity to master the profession from the best journalists and media experts of this country. In the ten months we learned everything – from the rules of writing news to the production of our own journalistic investigations and even a real newscast. It was not always easy, but I'm glad I didn't quit. And today we are working for one of the best media outlets of this country,” said Maria Svet.

    The School of Advanced Journalism is a project of the Independent Journalism Center (IJC). It was launched on September 4, 2006 to prepare journalists for Moldovan media. Since 2006, this post-university educational institution has been graduated by more than 160 young journalists. Most of them work in the country’s media outlets.

  • Learning to Teach: Training Program for SAJ Trainers

    Academic year 2016-2017 ended with a training program for... the trainers of the School of Advanced Journalism. Between June 13 and 17 they attended a training of trainers. In five days, the best journalists and media experts, who in the course of the year teach at the SAJ, found out about current trends in the field of adult education and learned how to develop their skills in order to become successful trainers, how to catch students' attention and how to communicate their knowledge to others. The training was guided by Cristina Lupu, Program Director at the Independent Journalism Center from Bucharest, Romania.

    The training began with a short presentation of the principles of adult education. Trainers learned how and why adults learn differently than children, how to catch their attention when you feel you are “loosing” them and they are no longer listening to you, and what modern techniques could be used during classes at the SAJ. “You have to find an individual approach to each student. Ask questions that would not inhibit them, encourage them to speak, and give everyone equal opportunities,” suggested Christina Lupu. According to her, to achieve better results, every trainer should set clear rules and requirements from the very beginning. They should also tell students about their expectations. “Unlike children, adults are more resistant to change. Some of them face difficulties and become more timid than their colleagues. Treat your students as adults who already have some life experience. Try to identify it and help them to use this experience in their professional activity," she added.

    According to Cristina Lupu, to achieve the best results, every trainer has to adapt to new information technologies and use a variety of teaching methods. “Keep up with the needs and interests of your students. Be interactive. Try to use different means of data presentation, such as video, radio, various mobile platforms, group exercises and discussions, debates. Combine several elements to make the course as dynamic and interesting as possible. Go into social media,” the trainer said.

    Another intensely discussed issue was the need to listen to students and to have feedback, which is essential in the training process. SAJ trainers learned to how better control their emotions, how to draw students’ attention, and, most importantly, how to motivate students. “First, try to see what was done well. Then move to comments and tell what could be improved in your students’ material.”

    Since theoretical knowledge is best mastered during practical work, SAJ trainers were not an exception. During the entire training they participated in various group activities and did exercises that strengthened them as a team and offered them new tricks for the work with their future students.

    SAJ trainers were impressed by the course. They said that the training helped them consolidate the skills they had and discover new things and methods which they will surely apply in practice. Everything is for the good of the students who will come to study at the School of Advanced Journalism.

  • Career Days, a First Employment Opportunity for SAJ Students

    The end of April brought the end of courses at the School of Advanced Journalism. After eight months of study during which students learned to write news, reports, interviews, journalistic investigations, etc., young journalists met with the managers of several Moldovan media outlets and discussed with them about employment offers, wages, and opportunities young journalists have on the Moldovan media market. The meetings were held within Career Days, which are organized at the SAJ annually.

    This year the School’s disciples met with Dumitru Tira, owner of the “Realitatea” online media group, with Cristina Gutu, general director of TV 7 channel, and with Cristian Jardan, director of UNIMEDIA news portal. From these guests the students found out about the working schedule of a reporter, about the jobs they offer, and, certainly, about the salaries they can provide. The three guests said that the Moldovan media market needs professional journalists who would produce powerful materials and would abide by ethical principles and rules of professional conduct. “You should do your job so as not to be ashamed to look at yourselves in the mirror in the morning”, said Cristian Jardan, who is also a successful graduate of the School of Advanced Journalism, 2007-2008 graduating class.     

    To see how news and journalistic materials are actually produced, students visited several media outlets. The first stop was at the office of PRO TV Chișinău television. Students had the opportunity to see the studios of such shows as “În PROfunzime” and “O seară perfectă”. There they also found out how film editors work and made a few pictures at the news anchor’s desk. Then, young people spoke with reporter and anchor Sorina Obreja. The journalist recommended to her future fellow professionals to love this job, to be passionate about what they do and ... to read a lot of fiction. “A good journalist must know grammar and write correctly in the Romanian language,” said Sorina Obreja.

    Radio Free Europe in Chisinau was the next. Students saw the studios where shows are filmed and recorded, discussed with reporters, and met their trainers – Vasile Botnaru, Diana Railean, and Liliana Barbarosie.

    Beginning on May 5, the students of the School of Advanced Journalism will work on their own, guided by a tutor chosen from among trainers, to produce their final projects. Their public presentation will be held on May 30 and 31.

  • Mihai Avasiloaie: “I could write a story about the SAJ teachers...”

    He always knew he would do journalism. But still, initially he studied law. He says he never regretted this choice, because all the knowledge he got over the years helps him today in journalistic work, which he succeeds in. First, however, was the School of Advanced Journalism, which he entered in the spring of 2013, becoming one of the 15 students of the eighth class of graduates. After the School, he worked as a reporter for PRO TV Chisinau and then as an editor of www.protv.md. Now he is a political analyst for the Agora.md news portal, and in early July he has become the host of the “OffSide” show – a new online media project launched by the Agora team. We are talking about our graduate Mihai Avasiloaie.

    Today, three years after graduation, we decided to ask Mihai about the advantages of studying at the SAJ. Here is what the journalist pointed out.

         1. During the ten months of study at the SAJ, you do not just study journalism, you also practice it

    “Whether your materials are read or viewed by 2 or 20,000 people, every journalistic product is like a child that you educate step by step: from documentation to planning and from production to “packaging.” You learn all these things at the SAJ – perhaps the only place in Moldova where high-quality journalism in taught within a relatively short period of time and where some of the best media professionals share their knowledge, flair, and experience. You just need to wish and take what you are given… I think that the biggest advantage of the School – its strength I'd say – is a successful combination of theory and practice instead of boring lectures. At the SAJ you are explained what a news story or a report is, how to write it, and how do an interview or investigation, and then you are given a recorder or a camera and you just do to the scene of events to work on your material. There is also a lot of team work, exactly like in a real newsroom.”

         2. You will learn precisely what you need from reputable specialists

    “I could write a story about the SAJ teachers. They are the people who come and tell you how to edit, shoot, and cut journalistic materials. They are people who do journalism on a daily basis and know exactly what news should look like to be included into radio or television newscasts. I had a great opportunity and a great honor to work together with Vasile Botnaru, Alina Radu, Nadine Gogu, Artur Corghencea, Angela Ivanesi, Dorin Scobioala, Dumitru Marian, Liliana Barbarosie, Petru Macovei, Liliana Nicolae, Nicolae Pojoga, and many others. The most important thing is that many of the SAJ teachers are also the managers of media outlets, so you may be hired immediately after graduation. After leaving the School, you can be anything: reporter, editor, cameraman, photojournalist, or host. You can work on television or radio, you can write for a newspaper or magazine, or, why not, even run your own media business. It's perfect, isn't it?”

         3. At the SAJ you learn to be a universal journalist

    “From news to creation of your own community newspaper – that's the journey of every SAJ student. Some start from nothing, others have certain knowledge in this area, but all are equal to teachers. We learned to be universal journalists. We know how to shoot and cut a TV report, edit a material for radio, make a newspaper layout, create infographics, and make creative photos of good quality. A proof of that is the fact that I use everything I learned at the School in my daily work.”

         4. You master the tools needed to obtain information of public interest

    “They say that an informed person is a protected person. At the School of Advanced Journalism I learned what rights I have as a reporter and how I can get information, especially information of public interest.”

         5. You will make new friends and lasting relations

    “I think I am not the first nor probably the last graduate who says that the SAJ is the place where not just strong professional relations, but also lasting friendships are made, and... even destinies are joined. I am proud to be part of the large family of the School of Advanced Journalism, of over 160 graduates now.”

         6. Between opportunities and sacrifice

    “Journalism means plenty of opportunities, but it also requires certain sacrifices. In addition, if you do not have the right attitude, then journalism is not for you. Journalism must bring to light problems and improve the world we live in.”


Success stories

“I could write a story about the SAJ teachers...”
“The lessons learned at the SAJ helped us be good in our job”
„Journalism does not tolerate laziness and fear”