Mentor Training of Journalists

October 15 and 16, 2015

An intensive learning opportunity for aspiring journalists and reporters from print and broadcast media in Pakistan

Mentor training is continuation of engagement with the journalists who have been trained under EVA BHN project. A group of seven journalists has been selected as mentor on the basis of their work, capacity and motivation level.

The mentor training specifically aims at strengthening capacity of the selected journalists for transferring knowledge and skills to district based journalists on right-based approach for health reporting. This training focuses on clear understanding of different ways of developing story ideas, focusing on a specific issue and making the story relevant to their audience (whether public or policymakers or both). It also provides clear understanding of how to brainstorm possible topics for any given subject matter and emphasizes on basic interviewing skills needed to collect personal stories on difficult topics especially related to mother and child health.

Mentors Workshop

Peter Roberts from John Hopkins Center for Communication, Anjum Rahman and Atif Ikram from Center for Communication Programs Pakistan were the resource persons and facilitators. After the introduction and discussion on objectives of the mentor training, Mr Atif Ikram explained Right-Based Approach to Journalism saying understand how human rights were defined by the United Nations. The six key features associated with human rights included: inherent, universal, inalienable, indivisible, interrelated, and interdependent. There were five principles for working with rights based approach: participation, accountability, non-discrimination, empowerment, and linkage to human-rights standards (PANEL).

Mentors Workshop

This exercise was taken a step further by applying the social-ecological model. The model was applied to the news stories. It was explained that the model was very useful and if applied correctly it would simplifies story writing. This was followed by doing Pattern Analysis exercise was done on each news story. This analysis entailed listing down all actors/stakeholder involved in a story and marked rights and responsibilities against each other in a matrix form. This would helped in understanding rights and responsibilities of different actors/stakeholders.

In next session, Peter Roberts spoke on interview skills and explained five Ws. He further said that What, Where and When could be asked in starting an interview and later Why and How questions could be asked after building trust of respondents. There was a group exercise, one person was the interviewer, other was interviewee and the third person was the observer.

Each group was made to do an interview and the observer told everyone what they observed while the interview was being conducted. Peter talked about the importance of readability of a story. He mentioned that it was very crucial that a story should be written in a manner that usually grade 07 could read it.

Day two started with presentation of stories followed by comments and feedback of participants and resource persons. Then Anjum Rahman spoke to participants about advocacy of stories for getting it published or broadcasted. The discussion was made on quality and features of a breaking news, what makes a story exciting and what are news element in a story. It was also discussed that how facts and figures were important and personal stories could be effective method of making story more interesting.

Mentors Workshop
In an interactive session, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis was made for assessing what were the strengths of journalists and limitations and what were the opportunities for doing more health stories. In the last session, next steps and way forward was discussed. The participants also identified their preferred districts where district based journalists will be engaged and mentored. They also extended suggestions for preparing Term of Reference for mentors and developing their action plans.

Annette Fisher, Technical Manager and Ihtasham Akram Policy Advisor of EVA BHN project also attended the last session of the training and distributed certificates among the participants on the end of the training.

Center for Communication Programs Pakistan is a sister organization of Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs based in Baltimore, Maryland and registered in Pakistan as a nongovernmental and nonprofit organization under the Societies Act XXI of 1860.
You can learn more about the worldwide network of Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs by visiting: CCP Worldwide Network