”2015: Major Year in Development” was a training course on development for journalists from EU member states that took place in Helsinki between Wednesday 22 April and Friday 24 April 2015.
This was the first training for writing journalists of the Media4Development Project, funded by the European Commission. The objective of the training course, organized by the Finnish Foundation for Media and Development (VIKES) was to increase knowledge about development affairs among media and give inspiration and practical tools for journalist to write about these issues.
|Journalist and senior lecturer Reetta Nousiainen finds topics on development with the journalists.|
14 journalists from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Czech Republic participated in the training. They were selected by the local Media4Development partners. In addition, four communication experts and other staff members from the project partner organizations joined the programme as extra participants.
The idea was to broaden the participants ideas on what we mean by ”development issues”. Thus, over the intensive three-day course, the participants got to learn about a wide variety of topics from post-2015 negotiations and sustainable development to inequalities, democracy and issues concerning climate change and global economy.
|Professor of World Politics Teivo Teivainen discusses about policy influence and direction with the journalist.|
|Environment journalist Kari Rissa describes the world's biggest environmental problems.|
|Mark Doyle, VIKES Executive Director Niklas Kaskeala and reporter Taru Taipale discuss about global economic policy and growth.|
The intensive course also promoted informed and critical debate, based on factual information and the most recent research. The practice-oriented workshop sessions deepened the participants knowledge on the issues and gave them practical tools to pursue the topics of each day.
|VIKES Programme Coordinator Peik Johansson presents common biases on reporting on development during the workshop.|
Thanks to the highly qualified trainers the objectives set for the training programme were met well. The training was unique also because most of the trainers were journalists. This created great possibilities for mutual learning.
The well-known foreign correspondents and photojournalists with real-world experience like Rauli Virtanen and Niklas Meltio also gave the participants inspiration ”to do things better”, as one participant wrote in the feedback form. Many of the participants also found new perspectives on featuring development issues in their stories, even though getting their stories published by leading national media was a joint concern to many of the participants. As one of the participants put it:
”The lack of public and editorial interest are obstacles (for getting the stories published). (Yet), the possibilities are endless, as long as the challenge of talking about these issues in relevant and exciting way is met.”
|BBC’s former Developing World correspondent Mark Doyle has 26 years of exprience from reporting from and in Africa. He is also four times winner of United Nations Correspondents Association Annual Prize.|
|Writer Tuomas Muraja and Professor of Journalism and journalist Rauli Virtanen listen closely as BBC’s former Developing World correspondent Mark Doyle describes his experiences in the Democratic Republic of Congo.|
On the last day of the training, the participants were also given useful practical advise on how to plan and prepare for a trip to a developing country from Mark Doyle and VIKES coordinators.
The feedback given by the participants after the training was very positive. According to the majority of the 14 respondents, the course met their expectations and they gave the course an overall score of 4/5.
The participants were suprised by the level of the discussions and hoped to continue the collaboration with VIKES and the other Media4Development partners in the future. The feedback was also valuable in terms of planning the future activities during the project.
The journalists taking part in the training will be given a chance to go on study trips to developing countries organized by the project partners. Through the contacts of VIKES the journalists can also have chance to work together with local journalists in developing countries to understand better the role of media in development.
The Acting Head of European Commission Representation in Finland Ms. Sari Artjoki also took part in the Media4Development training in Finland. She was very please with the project and the programme of the training and stated that she wished there were more this type of projects in Finland and in Europe.
VIKES also invited the Finnish NGDO Platform to the EU (Kehys) to participate in the training and present their European Year for Development (EYD2015) activities in Finland. Kehys is coordinating the EYD2015 activities in Finland in cooperation with the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
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