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Water Journalism Academy - Middle East and North Africa
Organized by KAS - REMENA and cewas
The online program comprised of a four-module training and co-creation workshop bringing together participants with key stakeholders of the water and environmental sectors on constructive water reporting, follow-up coaching and a regional competition, the Blue Peace Open Eye Award, that awarded 3 meaningful media pieces.
The 40 selected journalists and media professionals from the MENA region started the first module on August 17, 2020, of the Water Journalism Academy (WJA) by discussing with 6 key water experts in the region to set the ground for possible water-related challenges and opportunities in the region. They discussed on with the experts on topics of Energy use in water services, wastewater treatment and reuse, gender and WASH, water technology and innovation, and water scarcity and peace. Participants were given the task of writing a one-sentence summary of a water story they wish to develop as their media piece.
During the second module, August 24, 2020, participants worked in teams to define audience personas and the role of clearly identifying the target group has on shaping the media piece. Participants also were introduced to innovative ways of storytelling and journalism with vivid examples and tips on how to reach the target audience using different innovative media formats. As a task, participants had to identify the audience persona and format for their own water story.
For the third module, August 31, 2020, participants had input from two regional senior journalists on how to interview experts and pitch your media piece to editors. They also had the chance to practice interviewing three renown water experts from Europe and the MENA region. They were provided with feedback on their interviewing skills and were offered individual coaching sessions with the two senior journalists on their media pieces.
Participants who submitted a media piece for the Blue Peace Open Eye Award had the chance to pitch their water story on the final module, September 21, 2020. A total of 10 journalism/storytelling and water experts served as jury members. The jury went through the submitted media pieces and listened to the pitches by the participants. The first stage of the jury shortlisted 5 media pieces with the following projects:
- Water in Iraq between Drought, Pollution and Salinity, by Farah Al-Rubaye from Iraq;
- “Khettara”, the Past & Present Treasure in the Haouz Region, by Errachid Montassir from Morocco;
- Egypt Turns to Science to Mitigate Water Crisis, by Mohammed El-Said from Egypt;
- In the Test of Sudan Flood, No One Succeeded, by Rehab Abdelmohsen Bakr from Egypt;
- Sewari Water “the Thirty Years of Disagreement is being Solved by Women”, by Sahar Al Shameri from Yemen.
The second stage of the jury chose three winners, Mohammed El-Said from Egypt and Errachid Montassir from Morocco as a tie for the first place with the prize of a fully funded trip to an international water event and Sahar Al Shameri as a run up with the monetary prize of 500 USD.
Water Journalism Academy (WJA)’s participatory format and cross-institutional interdisciplinary approach provided participants with an opportunity to tackle innovative ways to water story coverage, build new relationships and learn from exchanges with other environmental journalists and media professionals from the MENA region.
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