Single title

Programme for Training Syrian Journalists in Amman

by Nils Wörmer, Lucas Lamberty

KAS and Syria Direct organise training programme for young Syrian Journalists

Access to reliable, well-researched information is crucial to any functioning civil society, even more so in countries plagued by conflicts and war. The work of journalists in this context is as complicated as it is important, and upholding the principles of good journalism while reporting from conflict zones is a major challenge. From September until November 2016, the KAS Syria/Iraq office and its partner Syria Direct held a workshop for 12 Syrian journalists between the ages of 21 and 26 in Amman, Jordan, in order to train them in the fundamentals of independent journalism.

All 12 Syria Direct trainees successfully completed a two-week classroom course in Amman, Jordan, covering journalism principles. They were then paired with American reporters who served as mentors and collaborators in the day-to-day operation of Syria Direct's Amman newsroom. Beyond the technical skills of research and story structure, the Syria Direct training programme aimed to emphasise critical thinking, which is the basis of any professional journalism. Trainees learned how to ask questions, verify facts, and further the public’s understanding of the Syrian civil war. Using this skill set, they produced and will produce daily news items published in Arabic and English on events in Syria as well as weekly in-depth news analyses, placing the conflict in its context.

All participants published at least four articles on Syria Direct’s media platforms. Participants moved progressively from interviews to hard-news stories to feature reports, mirroring the principles covered in the classroom portion of the training. Over the course of the programme, this trainee-produced content reached more than 166,000 individual readers. Besides this, the professional outlook of the young journalists was improved by providing them with a portfolio of published work and networking opportunities, since the final goal is for trainees to find employment in the Syrian media sphere following the training programme. Therefore, following graduation, Syria Direct trainees were inducted into the organization’s alumni network which provides access to additional training and career opportunities.

Participants during a class in Amman
Participants discuss between the classes