Palestinian Diplomats Hone Digital Communication Skills

Foreign service officials must master the art and science of digital and public diplomacy if they’re to be effective abroad, but equally if they’re on home turf dealing with media, diplomats and foreign visitors.

This is doubly important for Palestinian diplomats who face tremendous odds representing a homeland under occupation in a truncated landmass and whose movements are severely restricted.

Trainers, trainees and administrators at Turin workshop

Constraints notwithstanding, Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil co-trained a group of 10 Palestinian officials at a weeklong workshop on “Communication Skills & Media Relations for Diplomacy” in Turin, Italy in August 2017.

The event, organized by the International Training Center of the International Labor Organization (ITC-ILO), with funding from the Italian Consulate General in Jerusalem, was the second in which she participated as a journalist/trainer along with Abdulhamid Abdeljaber, a journalist and faculty member at Rutgers University.

 

Journalists use multiple means and sources to obtain information

Abu-Fadil and Abdeljaber showed the participants how to think like journalists and understand what media look for in news.

This included familiarizing them with converged, digital media priorities, hardware, software and applications used by journalists, skills needed to produce and publish content, cautionary notes on fake news and misleading information, sourcing, and news value.

They put the diplomats through two sets of separate rigorous on-camera interviews.

Interview skills

 

Other sessions focused on organizing news conferences, briefings and news event planning.

One of the most animated sessions was a news conference simulation with feedback from the trainers-cum-journalists and participants.

 

White House news conference simulation with Ghada Arafat, Abdulhamid Abdeljaber and Hanan Jarrar

Abu-Fadil also trained the diplomats in the art of writing news releases. The workshop was conducted in Arabic and English.

MU Director Addresses Online Youth Violent Extremism at Beirut Conference

Reforming religious curricula is incomplete in the Arab world and must be revisited, Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil told a Beirut conference during a panel on incitement to violence on social media and youth radicalization.

 

Religious teachings and academic curricula need revisiting

“There’s an urgent need to change and modernize school and university curricula in the Arab world,” she said about media, information, news and religious literacy. “We should encourage critical thinking at all levels, particularly in the use of social media.”

Abu-Fadil was speaking at “The International Conference on Youth and Information and Communication Technologies: Preventing Violent Extremism in Cyberspace” in May 2017.

 

Magda Abu-Fadil urges curricula reform and modernization

It grouped academics, media, security, development, and other specialists to discuss, recommend and share tangible solutions to the spread of aggressive behavior in reality and through various online platforms.

Understanding the discourse involves clear definitions of key words and the loaded meanings used to describe what we face, experts said.

 

Key words, loaded meanings

They include violent radicalism, radical Islam, extreme Islamic radicalism, national terrorism, national threat, extreme violence, jihad, indoctrination, terrorism, white supremacy, neo-Nazism, extreme right, extreme left, religious extremism, fundamentalism, anti-Semitism, nativism, Islamophobia, eco-terrorism, inspired by Al Qaeda, inspired by ISIS, and anti-capitalism.

The event, organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO and the Information for All Program, was a follow-up to an earlier conference in Quebec City, Canada, in November 2016 during which Abu-Fadil spoke on female radicalization.

 

Preventing violent extremism in cyberspace conference

Participants hailed from Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, France, Ghana, Grenada, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, the Netherlands, Oman, the Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Qatar.

The conference’s principle objectives were to identify the means and ways the Internet is being used to spread, hatred, discrimination, radicalization and violent extremism.

It also aimed at identifying effective measures to prevent and counter the online propagation of violence, as well as presenting/sharing best practices in using the Internet to promote a culture of peace.

UAE Foreign Aid Organizations Participate in Strat Comm Course

Some 20 participants from United Arab Emirates-funded foreign aid organizations learned how to fine-tune their communications strategies by ensuring better interaction with field workers and disseminating their news through the media.

The participants took part in a workshop on Strategic Communications conducted by Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil under the patronage of Sheikha Lubna bint Khaled Al Qassemi to help them craft their internal and external messages.

Magda Abu-Fadil (center back row) trains UAE-based foreign aid communications  officials

Magda Abu-Fadil (center back row) trains UAE-based foreign aid communications officials

The March 2013 training in Abu Dhabi centered on building bridges with the media, setting priorities, appreciating deadlines for various media, collecting news from the field, ethics in public relations, planted stories and conflict of interest, and, their organization’s visual identity.

Participants worked in groups to map out strategic media plans, practiced writing op-eds, and discussed how to improve coordination between their respective organizations.

Working groups map out strategic communications plans

Working groups map out strategic communications plans

They were advised to think like journalists, and to beef up their online presence through traditional and social media channels.

The workshop was organized by the UAE Ministry of International Cooperation and Development, the Office for the Coordination of Foreign Aid, and twofour54 Tadreeb.

Anba Moscow/Ria Novosti Journalists Upgrade Agency Online Skills

Seven journalists at Anba Moscow’s Dubai bureau underwent intensive training to upgrade their skills for the website maintained in Arabic by the Russian news agency Ria Novosti.

The journalists, who come from diverse backgrounds, attended a five-day workshop in October 2012 conducted by Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil on the needs of an international news agency, evolution of the media, and story structure in an online environment.

Anba Moscow trainees upgrade news agency online skills

Also on the agenda was the importance of solid headlines and leads, sources, types of wire stories and integration of social media into the mix for better audience engagement.

Magda Abu-Fadil with Anba Moscow team in Dubai

Abu-Fadil reminded the journalists of the need to maintain high ethical standards in their coverage.

They were provided tips on crises, sudden events, fieldwork, means of communication, safety measures and coordination between correspondents and their newsrooms.

Not to be overlooked, the Anba Moscow team was encouraged to make good use of infographics, photos, videos and audio clips, and develop interest in multimedia.

Qatar educators learn to integrate media literacy into curricula

Seventy-eight Qatar-based educators from 42 schools took part in media literacy workshops in October 2012 to become more communicative by engaging their students across various platforms.

“I really enjoyed this workshop that helped expand my horizons regarding media literacy,” said Nihal Azmi, one of the participants in the three one-day training sessions organized by the Doha Center for Media Freedom.

Qatar teachers attend first of media literacy workshop series in October (DCMF)

The training by Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil introduced the primary-to-secondary school teachers and coordinators to UNESCO’s “Media and Information Literacy: Curriculum for Teachers,” an invaluable reference available in four languages.

The book, aimed primarily at teachers, features the convergence of radio, television, the Internet, newspapers, books, digital archives and libraries into one platform to define media literacy in a holistic manner.

Abu-Fadil urged the teachers to learn their students’ language and used Lebanese private school International College as a case study of an educational institution that has incorporated media literacy in all its subjects.

Magda Abu-Fadil hands certificate to Media Literacy workshop participant in Doha (DCMF)

Abu-Fadil also briefed participants on the media’s evolution from traditional print and broadcast organizations to online outlets and social media that are the preferred vehicles for students

“The workshop was useful and valuable. I suggest we have one annually to keep up with developments,” said another participant.

The teachers saw a need for more specific training to help them translate their understanding of media and the requisite tools to applicable skills in the classroom with a number calling for follow-up workshops.

Participants and DCMF staffers flank MU director at Media Literacy workshop (DCMF)

Links to coverage by the Doha Center for Media Freedom:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKcDAC_KkwY&feature=plcp    

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTMr-fMTJgA&feature=plcp    

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1CV8lfpFx0&feature=plcp

KUNA Journalists Learn How to Become Foreign Correspondents

Six Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) journalists were plunged into an intensive workshop on how to become foreign correspondents, including risks involved, news priorities, the organization and management of foreign bureaus, and how to tie their overseas coverage to local events.

KUNA's future foreign correspondents

Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil conducted the five-day course in October 2012 at KUNA headquarters in Kuwait during which participants also learned about the importance of being multimedia reporters able to handle photography and video journalism.

Not to be overlooked are social media that should be incorporated into the mix, Abu-Fadil told her charges, to secure greater audience engagement.

Magda Abu-Fadil with KUNA trainees in Kuwait

The reporters were also briefed on how to build their list of foreign contacts, databases, equipment needed for assignments, communication gear, sources, safety measures during crises and attempts to censor them by foreign governments.

They learned the key to a smooth operation is good coordination between the correspondents and bureaus, and, the newsroom.