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This week at TrustMedia (22-26 October 2012)

Thomson Reuters Foundation - Fri, 26 Oct 2012 17:35 GMT
Author: Meg Demouth
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Perhaps it’s just the American in me, but Trust Media these past couple of days (and weeks) has resembled a gigantic, multi-layered cowboy operation – with the staff on galloping horses, rustling up speakers for training sessions and lassoing diverse bunches of journalists to pull ever-closer to a pro-media herd. Of course, these cowboys are fuelled by tea, not coffee, and they use PCs and Blackberries to communicate, rather than ‘hollering’– but their days are just as action-packed.

While they push forward with new courses and projects, they’ve kept up with already well-established projects – Aswat Masriya, for example, recently hosted their first Roundtable talk, bringing in famous bloggers from across Egypt to discuss the enduring importance of blogs in the country and the ways they’ve changed or remained the same in the wake of the Arab Spring. (Read a blog post about those discussions here; the consensus seems to be that blogs have become empowering to both writers and readers, but what did the bloggers say about the effects of Twitter?)

They’ve also run courses that have covered more topics than could fit in the ten-gallon cowboy hats they unfortunately don’t wear. In Egypt, they’ve run courses on reporting on women’s issues and finance and business, and ones that covered working for Parliamentary communication teams. They also focused on Parliamentary communications in Beirut, pulling together Arab Inter Parliamentary Union (AIPU) MPs from Algeria, Morocco Palestine, Jordan, Oman, Lebanon and Damascus, and teaching them about strategic media outreach. In Bhutan, the team ran a workshop on photojournalism for local photographers, which yielded some vivid art and some reportedly-changed local perspectives on the role of photography in the media (read and gaze here.)

A bit closer to home in London, the group brought in journalists from Montenegro earlier this week to explore Parliamentary-media relations. After visiting British parliament and meeting with the parliamentary Press Gallery and other communications groups, the journalists did an investigative journalism course and the parliamentary staff undertook communications training.

After all of this, the team still hasn’t succumbed to the draw of the campfire, and I’ve spotted no harmonicas or fiddles thus far. Here’s what’s in the works:

Next week in London, delegates from Maghreb Arabe Presse (MAP, the Moroccan state news agency) will meet for four days with different heads of departments at Reuters to learn about the company’s policies, news management, business practices, etc. The delegates will also visit the BBC’s Arabic service and learn about covering royalty – and mot dans la rue is that they’ll do it all in French.

Also coming up in November journalists from around the world will gather in Istanbul for TRF's annual Global Security Seminar, a course on reporting on international security and terrorism. They’ll learn, among other things, about the confluence of jihadist tendencies, al-Queda presence and militant states’ influence – and what it all means for journalism – from a large range of experienced speakers. For the team, this means hours of organisation (from flights and speaker topics to course materials), which often calls for biscuits when it gets past 18:00. 

Note that the Trust Media team still isn’t riding off into the sunset. Check out which courses we’ve got coming up here, and check out what we’re thinking and reading about here

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