ISTANBUL—Twenty-eight journalists from 16 Arab countries participated last week in a workshop intended to focus on the power of great journalism on the subject of education.
The workshop sought to improve the quality and increase the quantity of reporting on education within the Arab region.
Journalists from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Syria, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia and Yemen met at Koç University in Istanbul to discuss how to find education story ideas, how to write about them in ways that attract readers and how to dig deeper into educational topics.
Afterwards, the journalists said they emerged energized and eager to attack educational topics. They described the workshop as “career-changing” and “some of the most important days in my life.”
During three days, the participants talked about how to write about academic research and how to go beyond interviews and use data and public documents. Mentors discussed writing news stories about education and writing the longer and more analytical stories that educational topics sometimes require.
“The training met a very urgent, missed topic in Arab media, which is education,” said Ahmed Mubarak Al Darmaki, a radio and television reporter from Oman. In addition to covering primary and secondary education, the workshop highlighted the importance of covering higher education. “It’s an important topic that should be covered more seriously and deeply in Arab outlets,” said Al Darmaki.
Saba Abu Farha, a freelance journalist from Jordan who participated in the workshop, said “Unfortunately, most of our Arab media focuses on political and economic issues. No one cares about education, which could be the reason for most of the region’s problems.”