Abu-Fadil Trains Yemeni NGO Staffers in Strategic Comms

Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil conducted a mini-course on strategic communications and media crisis management for Yemeni members of NGOs aimed at promoting their respective peace-related messages and mitigating crises.

The intensive three-day virtual workshop in July 2020 required participants to first think like journalists, operate like “mobile journalists” (mojos), and meet pressing news deadlines to appreciate what media needs are.

Elements of a news story

They also learned about the elements of news stories, how not to fall for misinformation, disinformation and malinformation, and, the art of writing news releases for various platforms.

One session was dedicated to organizing news conferences, briefings and events, with all the logistical, technical and editorial details involved in putting them together.

 

Trainees cautioned about disinformation

A key element in dealing with the media is the interview, and Abu-Fadil demonstrated the skills needed to handle questions under pressure, ground rules for attribution, what to wear, how to sit and act in front of a camera, tone of voice, body language, and the need for excellent preparation before any encounter.

 

Interview ground rules

The drills included media ethics, setting up a media office and what the role of a spokesperson is.

Another major element of the training was establishing a strong visual identity and using social media effectively to engage with one’s various audiences across traditional and other platforms.

 

Using fact sheets

The most critical part of the workshop was devoted to handling negative news and crisis communications by being transparent, not disseminating unreliable information, maintaining one’s credibility and multitasking under extreme pressure.

The training ended with tips on how to build a strategic media plan.

The workshop grouped participants representing a number of organizations across Yemen.

It was organized by the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies under the umbrella of the Yemen Peace Forum and was sponsored by the Netherlands government.

Abu-Fadil to Tunisian Journos: Separate News & Views

Don’t report the process, tell the audience what is important and why, BBC veteran Russell Peasgood instructed Tunisian journalists at a workshop to review their output following an earlier course.

Peasgood provided insights on how to improve radio and TV reports, what camera angles are best for what types of shots, indoor and outdoor sound quality, broadcast interviews, and overall content.

Russell Peasgood critiques Tunisian TV report

Russell Peasgood critiques Tunisian TV report

The training was co-conducted by Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil in Tunis and is funded by the European Union (EU).

Abu-Fadil urged the trainees to distinguish between news and views and to separate the two in their reports

She also advised them to simplify the language they use in print, broadcast and online reports and to address themselves to their respective audiences, not to their bosses.

Magda Abu-Fadil explains difference between news and views

Magda Abu-Fadil explains difference between news and views

The trainees represented media based in Tunis, Sousse, Manouba, Sidi Bouzid, Nabeul, Sfax and Djerba.

Tunisian journalists benefit from professional training

The workshop in March 2014 is part of a journalism training project funded by the EU and run by a BBC Media Action-led consortium covering 17 countries in the “European Neighbourhood.”