Practice makes perfect for the students at the Myanmar Journalism Institute (MJI)
Practice formed the central theme of the summer training session held at the Myanmar Journalism Institute (MJI) in Pakokku, central Myanmar, from 11 to 20 June 2015.
During the ten-day session, which marked the end of the year-long part-time training course, the 27 students at MJI were put into professional situations, led by the school's four full-time trainers and supervised by the Director of Studies, Sein Win, and CFI's project coordinator in Myanmar, Eric Glover.
After three days devoted to photojournalism, which were led by Christophe Loviny, a photojournalist and an expert on all things Myanmar-related, the students were divided into three teams, with the first working on an 8-minute long radio broadcast, the second on a 7-minute long television report, and the third on a 20-page magazine.
"The practical aspects of this week spent working in the field were what I liked most about the course. It would be great if future courses could be run along the same lines, with more focus being placed on practical elements and less on the theoretical side of things," says Hnin Wai Wai, one of the journalists who took part in the workshop.
The topic chosen was the environment, or more specifically the drought that is currently affecting the central regions of the country, which has forced many people to abandon their homes and travel to Pakokku.
"This was a chance for me to learn a great deal, especially about issues that I already had some knowledge of, not only from reading newspapers but also from watching television and listening to the radio," continues Hnin Wai Wai. Like the other students, the young woman, who is already a qualified journalist, takes the further training courses offered by MJI in order to advance her career.
When asked to give feedback about the course, one of the participants, Aye Aye Zin, who is also a trainer at MJI, had the following to say: "Much emphasis is put on the need to source your information and make use of actual facts and figures, and not settle for hearsay or unsubstantiated rumours. All this is very new and highly unusual in Myanmar. And hearing Eric Glover repeatedly asking us 'What information have you got?', 'What are your sources?' has really taught me a lot. As a trainer myself, I now feel much better equipped after having taken part in this summer session."
"Those ten days spent working in the field were unprecedented," concludes Sein Win, the Director of Studies. "No journalism training course given in Myanmar had ever guided and supported its students in the field for such a long period of time." The productions will be broadcast during the graduation ceremony on 4 July, which will be attended by Myanmar's Information Minister, the French Ambassador, and most of the country's leading media professionals.
The French trainer Jérome Boruszewski and his Myanmarese counterpart, Zaw Htike,
helping the radio team compile its report.
The written press team hard at work as they edit their report.