Abu-Fadil Trains Journalists for Saudi Daily

Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil put eight young journalists for a Saudi Arabian daily through the paces of reporting, writing and editing as part of a an intensive workshop to upgrade their skills and catapult them to the next level.

The training in Dubai in August 2019 involved exercises based on presentations and discussions that “seasoned” writers sometimes take for granted: leads, headlines, photo captions, grammar, punctuation, story components and structure, to say nothing of contextual background information like history, geography, numbers and visuals.

Saudi newspaper journalists hone their skills

The materials included relevant videos, assignments, tools, online research and news tests.

A key session focused on media ethics, notably in today’s world of alternative facts, disinformation, deep fakes and artificial intelligence-generated news.

Other sessions concentrated on interviewing techniques, the AP style guide, long considered the industry standard, as well as coverage of speeches, meetings and news conferences.

 

During the long afternoon sessions, she helped the trainees sharpen their writing proficiency with a mix of topics including housing problems, oil spills and their environmental impact, and the hospitality industry.

One afternoon was dedicated to visiting Bloomberg’s Dubai hub for a briefing on the newsgathering and editing operation, including automation and artificial intelligence (AI).

Riad Hamade and Nayla Razzouk explain workings of Bloomberg’s Dubai TV studio

Riad Hamade, executive editor for the Middle East and North Africa at Bloomberg News, gave them a rundown on his organization’s workings.

Hamade, along with Nayla Razzouk, Bloomberg News Team Leader for Energy and Commodities in the Middle East & North Africa, and Claudia Maedler, the Gulf bureau chief (excluding Saudi Arabia), took the group on a tour of the very impressive newsroom and TV studio.

Media Ethics, Violence Against Children on Rotana’s “Sayidati”

Ethics came to the fore again – this time on the topic of violence against children and how much of it should be covered by the media.

In an interview on the Rotana Khalijia channel’s program “Sayidati,” Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil stressed the importance of drawing red lines where children are concerned and urging media to abide by guidelines for good journalistic practice on issues related to violence.

Magda Abu-Fadil discusses media ethics and children on Rotana’s “Sayidati"

Magda Abu-Fadil discusses media ethics and children on Rotana’s “Sayidati”

The show’s segment related the cases of the body of a naked child splashed on TV screens, a girl stricken with AIDS being visited by celebrities, and a boy whose parents abused him.

Abu-Fadil said it was important to create awareness through the media about such incidents but that it was equally critical to ensure that one does not cross that very fine line between reporting and sensationalism.

“Sayidati,” co-hosted by Saudi presenter Maysaa Al Amoudi, is broadcast live from Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia.