MU Director Tutors Moroccan Journalists in Avoiding Pitfalls

Twelve eager journalists from across Morocco returned to a Rabat workshop to present work they had produced following earlier intensive training led by BBC Media Action.

Analysis of Moroccan journalist's EU-related article

Analysis of Moroccan journalist’s EU-related article

The March 2014 training, conducted by BBC veteran Jim Fish and Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil centered on a review of print and online articles, as well as radio and television reports covering crimes, the controversial Sahara issue, protesting judges, and projects funded by the European Union (EU), to name a few.

BBC veteran Jim Fish (far right) with pointers on good reporting for Moroccan journalists

BBC veteran Jim Fish (far right) with pointers on good reporting for Moroccan journalists

The trainers went over several samples of work, critiquing content, sourcing, accuracy, style, presentation, and ethics.

They also cautioned participants to avoid bias, focus on the real story, sidestep long-winded rhetoric and remember the context.

Jim Fish (left) & Magda Abu-Fadil (right) with Moroccan journalists

Jim Fish (left) & Magda Abu-Fadil (right) with Moroccan journalists

The journalists hailed from Rabat, Sale, Casablanca, Meknes, Tetouan, Laayoune, and Sidi Ifni.

The workshop 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.”

Abu-Fadil to Journalists: Differentiate Between News and Views

Arab journalists should differentiate between news and views and should not ignore context in their online and traditional outlet stories, said Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil.

She told Morocco’s Al Roaya News young reporters are impatient and often ignore journalism basics like proper sourcing, research and media ethics.

She urged journalists to enroll in training workshops on a regular basis to upgrade and update their knowledge and skills and to fall back on critical thinking in their endeavors.

A [PDF] of the interview is available here.

Social Media & Wars

Social Media & Wars

In another interview, with Lebanon’s daily Annahar, Abu-Fadil described how media disseminated news of the country’s 1975-90 civil war as opposed to the ubiquitous use of social media today that parallel and compete with legacy media in covering local and regional conflicts.

She said journalists should not be misled by incorrect or doctored information from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and should be diligent in checking all sources.

A [PDF] of the interview is available here.

MU Speaks Out on Need for Better Journalism Teaching/Training at Dubai’s 11th Arab Media Forum

Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil told participants at an Arab Media Forum (AMF) 2012 workshop that academics must get up to speed and not deride the importance of social media.

Some panelists and members of the audience said online media users could not be described as journalists since they don’t have the requisite academic and professional qualifications.

Magda Abu-Fadil (second from right) during AMF2012 workshop on instinctive online journalists (Courtesy of DPC)

But, Abu-Fadil argued, many Arab journalism schools lacked resources and because of their poor curricula were turning out functional illiterates by not providing students with the knowledge base and skills for today’s exploding media market.

Additionally, faculty members were often below par and incapable of keeping up with the times, hence their aversion to digital advances, social media, and inability to incorporate them in their programs.

Media Unlimited featured at Arab Media Forum 2012 in Dubai (Courtesy of DPC)

The workshop — which preceded the two-day event’s official opening — focused on whether social and online media users had become journalists by instinct.

Talk show host Zeina Yazigi (Twitter @zyazigi) of Dubai TV interviewed Abu-Fadil on her show “Al Shari’ Al Arabi” (The Arab Street) to discuss the impact of online and social media on Arabs in the wake of revolutions gripping the region and whether citizen journalists posed serious competition to traditional media.

Read details of the 11th Arab Media Forum organized by the Dubai Press Club May 8-9, 2012.