• 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.

  • 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.

  • SAJ students, full participants at the Media Forum 2018



    The condition of the journalist in the Republic of Moldova, the quality of the media products offered to the public, the access to information and the transparency of the public institutions, the way of improving media legislation – these are only a few of the topics discussed at the Media Forum 2018, with the participation of notable experts and journalists from abroad and from the country, but also the SAJ instructors and students.

    For two days, about 200 participants – managers, reporters and editors from various local media institutions, as well as future journalists – entered into dialogue with famous foreign experts: Aistė Žilinskienė, President of the Internet Media Association of Lithuania; Arturas Morozovas, Co-founder of multimedia agency Nanook.lt (Lithuania); Urmo Soonvald, editor-in-chief of the daily Eesti Päevaleht and of Delfi News Portal (Estonia); Mykhailo Koltsov and Lennart Gerwers from DW Akademie (Germany); Dan Tăpălagă, Co-founder of the independent website G4Media.ro (Romania); Daniel Rzasa, Teaching Fellow, CEE, Google News Lab; Yevgenia Albats, investigative journalist, editor-in-chief of the Russian political weekly “The New Times” (Russia) and others. Thus, in the workshops supported by them, the SAJ students learned from the first source about the pressing problems in the media, as well as about the international trends in this field. Corina Seremet, for example, has many questions related to the future of journalism in the Republic of Moldova. “The fact that the Moldovan press remains politically controlled worries me, especially because the situation doesn’t change”, said Corina. Another student, Lucia Dăscălescu, is pleased to have been able to participate in the adoption of the Forum Resolution, thus contributing to the improvement of journalistic materials of public interest.

    The Forum ended with rewarding the winners of two national competitions: “2018 Journalistic Investigations”, supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (Germany) and “Click for Gender Equality” supported by UN Women in Moldova. Among the laureates of the two competitions are the SAJ graduates. Anatol Eşanu (2013-2014 school year), reporter at “Ziarul de Gardă”, took the first prize for the investigation “Vânătorii de terenuri”, in collaboration with Victor Moşneag, SAJ instructor. Natalia Sergheev (the same school year, 2013-2014), now a reporter at Radio Free Europe, is among the most sensitive media professionals in the country on topics related to gender equality.

    The majority of the SAJ students who participated in the Forum mentioned that they are waiting for new events of such importance. The fourth edition of the forum took place on 29-30 November and was organized by the Press Council of the Republic of Moldova, the Independent Press Association (API), the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) and the Electronic Press Association (APEL).

  • 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.

  • “Long Articles”: How to write argued texts, necessary for people



    Reportage, feature, documentary release and obituary are some of the new journalistic genres that the students of the School of Advanced Journalism have studied at the “Long Articles” course. Guided by Alina Radu, director of the Moldovan Newspaper “Ziarul de Garda”, the young people learned how to produce a good reportage; visited some events and reported about them; created a portrait sketch with great, but less well-known personalities as protagonists and learned the techniques of writing an obituary.

    The course started with a brief information about the journalistic genres that belong to the category of long articles. The students have been familiarized with different types of reportage, their principles and structure, and the instructor insisted on the already known for them questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? Because, as Alina Radu says, whatever he/she writes, a good reporter is obliged to keep in mind these six questions. At the same time, she mentioned that, unlike the news, when producing reportages, the journalist can use various literary techniques, which allow him/her to describe the atmosphere more clearly and in detail. The course was followed by the practical part, and the students had to write a reportage, a portrait and an obituary.

    How to come up with great ideas for reportage, where to find topics and how to write differently, excitingly and at the same in a captivating way? To find answers to these questions, the future journalists participated in various actions and discussed with local people and, in the process of writing the reportage, they took into account its basic elements: the presence of the reporter on the spot, the description of the entourage, the public interest and the collection of relevant data. After reporting, the students experienced their first experience in the feature genre. Due to practical exercises, they learned the characteristics of such a text – namely, the introduction, the expressiveness and the end of a history about a hero of the day.

    The last day of the course was dedicated to the obituary, also called the mortuary announcement. It was discussed the purpose of writing an obituary and its structural aspects, and the students wrote a text in memory of a defunct personality.

    The long articles written by the students were analyzed and evaluated both by Alina Radu and during the Romanian Stylistics Course with Cristina Mogâldea. The trainer said she wanted to teach the students how to make quality journalism by cultivating the thirst to write argued, deep texts, necessary for people. The students, in their turn, have greatly appreciated the work and documentation in the field, but also the freedom to choose and to make their own subjects for reportage.

    The next course to be held at the SAJ is Ethics and Diversity in Mass Media.

  • 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.

  • 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).

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”