Parliamentary journalists hone skills

Journalists representing print, broadcast, and on-line media struggled with budgetary matters, legislative details, and ethical issues at a five-day workshop organized by AUB’s Journalism Training Program (JTP) and funded by the London-based Westminster Foundation for Democracy in cooperation with the Thomson-Reuters Foundation.

“It was a short and useful workshop and provided us with ample information, while drawing comparisons with Britain’s parliamentary system,” said Tamam Hamdan of the National News Agency.

British Ambassador Frances Mary Guy was on hand to launch the training and encourage the journalists.

Trainers included Lebanese media expert Fatima Issawi, a longtime reporter and editor dispatched by Thomson-Reuters; TV correspondent Denise Rahme-Fakhry, and JTP Director Magda Abu-Fadil in November 2009.

Participants also benefited from the experience of veteran Ahmad Zein of Assafir, former AP correspondent and Daily Star editor Mona Ziade, now at the World Bank, and her economist colleague Wael Mansour.Although accredited to parliament, the journalists from Addiyar, Al Liwaa, Al Mustaqbal daily, the National News Agency, Al Anwar, Tele-Liban, Al Manar TV, Future TV, MTV, and Al Nour Radio had to overcome basic assumptions, relearn rules governing legislative procedures, figure out committee responsibilities, and tackle complex fiscal and monetary policies that stump experts.