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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • For the Third Time, the SAJ Students Visited Several Media Outlets in Bucharest



    One of the nice traditions that has been launched at the School of Advanced Journalism in recent years is the study visit to Bucharest. This year’s students were not an exception, and on April 22-24 they got to see the most important editorial offices in Romania. The visit lasted three days, during which emerging journalists and some of the former graduates saw how various media outlets across River Prut work. The young people met several journalists and sought to hear professional secrets from them.

    On the very first evening, the SAJ students met journalists Ana-Maria Luca (Balcan Insight) and Ana Poenariu (RISE Romania). Discussion focused mainly on war journalism and on the ways to cover armed conflicts in the media. “In this field, it is not about courage, but more about the journalist’s curiosity,” said Ana-Maria Luca, who had been reporting about the situation in the Middle East a few years ago and had gone through real moments of horror. Ana Poenariu, in her turn, shared ideas on how, when you talk with authorities, to ask questions in such a way that you always get the necessary answer.

    The first working day began with a visit to DIGI 24. The SAJ students saw LIVE work on the radio DIGI FM, saw how a DJ works in a live broadcast, and found out some secrets from the hosts of the morning entertainment show “Morning’s cool with Ramona and Coțofană” on Radio PRO FM. Then, students visited editorial offices and television filming sets, saw what happens behind the cameras, and met the hosts of a morning show, its producers, cameramen, and editorial staff.

    The next stop was Radio Romania. Students visited the most important departments of this public station: News, Digital Archive, Radio Library, and Radio Theater. Here, young journalists found out how radio sounds and noises are recorded and what work is done to record a play. Next, they had a meeting with journalist Maria Țoghină, a member of the Board of Administration of the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Company. She talked about the specificity of a radio journalist’s work, about the importance of impartiality, and, together with the School’s students, pointed out the challenges of the profession and how quality journalism is done. “Journalism needs to be done with passion. If you don’t care about what happens around you, you are not doing journalism. If you don’t dream news, you can’t write news,” Maria Țoghină said. Students wanted to know how classical radio resists in competition with online media in the age of digitalization. “We are trying to adapt to new information technologies. The thing that was lost in the battle with the Internet is the quality of news,” concluded Maria Țoghină.

    The next stop was the National News Agency AGERPRES. Here, Alexandru Giboi, the outlet’s general director, spoke with students about the agency’s mission, the purpose of the press, the trends of tomorrow’s journalism, and “survival” on the media market. The young journalists found out that today it is no longer enough to be very good in just writing news. A modern journalist who is just starting in the media or who already works should adapt to changes and accept challenges. According to Alexandru Giboi, on the labor market there will always be demand for a journalist who can write, film, edit, take professional photos, and, last but not least, have entrepreneurial thinking. “Promotion of an accomplished journalist is the pinnacle of the profession,” he said. At the end of the meeting the SAJ student watched and analyzed a fragment of the film “The Great Union – 100 Years of Romania,” produced by the AGERPRES team.

    In what direction does journalism move? What media do young people “consume” today and what will the profession of journalist look like tomorrow? The SAJ students discussed these questions at a coffee with Cristina Lupu, program director at the Independent Journalism Center in Bucharest. The expert underlined that the press will survive only with the help of new technologies, as, in her opinion, the journalist of the future cannot exist without minimum programming skills. “A modern journalist has to master several forms of journalism. You will not be able to practice this profession without technology. Use social media in you favor and try to see new technologies as your allies, not enemies,” Cristina Lupu said.

    The second day brought us to PRO TV Bucharest, where our host was reporter Vitalie Cojocari, who began his career at Pro TV Chisinau and used to be a trainer at the SAJ. He led us to the newsroom, showed us the studio where La Măruță show is filmed, and made us a great surprise – a meeting with the well-known presenters of the morning news – Mihai Dedu, Lavinia Petrea, and Florin Busuioc. The young journalists wanted to know at what time PRO TV stars begin their working day, how they manage to fight sleep, and what their professional secrets are. All three presenters mentioned that journalism is not only what you see on TV, but it is a titanic work that you do behind the screen, and “the success or failure of a newscast depends on each reporter in part.”

    Before saying goodbye to PRO TV Bucharest, Vitalie Cojocari told the students that the most important thing for a journalist is to know how and where to find news: “The other skills needed to a reporter will come with time, I am convinced now.” Vitalie encouraged students to stay in the media, not to give up before starting the big battle with the profession, and to keep getting better.

    Next, we went to one of the oldest news portals in Romania, Ziare.com. Bogdana Boga, editor-in-chief, told us about the changes and transformations the website had gone through in recent years, and about the need and importance of adapting classical journalism to new information technologies. Discussion also focused on the importance of quality media: “It is better to issue news later and not be the first, but to make that news accurate and of good quality.” Students further addressed the issue of fake news, highlighted the importance of using social media, and analyzed the trends of modern journalism. “Always choose reliable sources,” said Bogdana Boga at the end of the meeting.

    We then went to Adevărul Holding, where we were met by Dan Marinescu, editor-in-chief, and Monika Krajnik, editor for foreign events. The journalists discussed with the SAJ students about the “battle” between print media, television, and online media, about the slow but sure fall of print media, and analyzed the website Adevărul.md, which had been for over two years managed by a graduate of the SAJ’s 2015-2016 class, Iurii Botnarenco. Monika had only words of praise for our former student, mentioning his professional growth. The students wanted to know how to keep your image, maintain a brand in time, and create quality content. At the end of the visit, Dan Marinescu and Monika Krajnik offered to beginner journalists some advice on how NOT to do journalism. “Never mislead the public. Give accurate and quality information to the reader. Finally, try to do everything out of passion,” the journalists added.

    The last destination in Bucharest was Radio Europa FM. Together with our host, journalist Liliana Nicolae, who is also the trainer of the Radio Journalism course at the SAJ, the students visited the outlet’s studios, spoke with its team of reporters, and stopped for a discussion with Teodor Tiță, director of News Europa FM. He asked the students why they chose to come to journalism – a job that “involves responsibility and conscience.” In his opinion, you cannot be a journalist if you don’t seek news as soon as you wake up and are not interested in what happens around you at every moment. The students wanted to know about trends and what will happen with tomorrow’s radio. At the end of the visit, young people noted some tips from Teodor Tiță. “Read more. Be at the center of the world and amid events. Look at what foreign journalists do and learn from the best ones. In journalism, you must matter,” said the director of News Europa FM.

  • 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.

  • The Students of the 12th Graduating Class Received Their Certificates of Studies



    Ten months – this is how long it took for the ten young men and women who came to the School of Advanced Journalism in 2017 to learn everything they needed so as to add to the new generation of journalists in Moldova. At a festive ceremony on July 6, 2018, they saw their dream come true and received their long-awaited and well-deserved Certificates of Studies from the SAJ team.

    The event started with a welcome speech from the School’s Director Sorina Stefarta. She congratulated the new graduates for the perseverance, curiosity and courage they demonstrated during the studies and urged them to remain in the profession regardless of any difficulties and obstacles and to contribute, together with their fellow colleagues, to the improvement of the Moldovan media.

    The people who guided the young people and taught them the profession – the SAJ trainers – also attended the ceremony. They encouraged the students to build a career in journalism here, at home, and to do that by adhering to professional ethics. “Although the temptations are many, don’t give in to manipulation. Go to serious outlets, where you will be able to do fair and professional journalism,” Liliana Barbarosie, reporter of Radio Free Europe, told the fresh graduates. The idea was supported by Vasile Botnaru, the director of Radio Free Europe. Alina Radu, the director of the “Ziarul de Garda” newspaper, added that Moldovan media need fair people and encouraged the former students to do professional journalism and to carry out as many investigations as possible “Don’t be afraid of anybody or anything,” she said. The event was also attended by the trainers Nadine Gogu, Ina Grejdeanu, Cristina Mogaldea, Corina Cepoi, Tatiana Puiu, Olesea Solpan-Fortuna and Mihaela Gherasim.

    The graduation ceremony culminated in the handing of the Certificates of Studies. Three of the ten students – Andrei Cebotari, Georgeta Finaru and Elmira Rosca – have graduated with merit, and other three of their colleagues – Diana Petrusan, Ion Ciobanu and Alexandra Bodarev – with outstanding merit. After receiving their certificates, the graduates thanked the SAJ team and all the trainers for their patience, encouragement and professionalism.

    The School of Advanced Journalism (SAJ) is a project of the Independent Journalism Center, launched in cooperation with the Missouri School of Journalism (USA) and the Paris-based Journalism School and Training Center (France). The School was designed on the basis of the graduate programs for advanced training of journalists and was created in accordance with the highest international journalism standards practiced in Europe and the United States of America. This year, the SAJ benefited from the financial support of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED/USA) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

  • 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.

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”