Google, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the World Bank Institute jointly organized a unique digital journalism training for Arab media professionals


The training convened 25 young journalists committed to reinventing the way that media work in the region

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and Google, in partnership with the World Bank, delivered a two-day training on web tools for newsgathering and reporting across cultures to 25 social media editors and web journalists from 11 countries—including Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, Syria, and Libya among others

Given recent events in the Arab region and the growing role of bloggers, Amman appeared to be a natural place to train young web savvy journalists and bloggers on reporting across cultures, on web tools, and on journalism ethics. The Amman training follows an earlier joint UNAOC-Google training in Tunis in November 2012.

Underwritten by Google and the UNAOC, the two-day training was led by a team of experts from both organizations, the World Bank Institute, and other high-level media experts. Over 700 journalists applied for the training, which was also livestreamed. The Jordan Media Institute in Amman, which is where the training was held, organized a similar workshop for its master’s students the next day.

“We are moving away from a world where a single source disseminates to many to a model where multiple sources disseminate to an ever growing number of people. To that end, keeping the Internet open, free, and most of all, accessible is key. To me, the magic of information and communication technologies is that they enable people who would never have otherwise met to have a conversation, and maybe even, to know and understand someone else’s story,” said UN High-Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.

“Google supports journalists in the Arab world with training on how to use the internet to tell better informed stories. Today’s journalist in MENA relies on a digital toolbox to find, analyze and share data with the public. Working with the UNAOC and World Bank, the high demand and positive feedback from participants in this program has demonstrated how the web has become powerful mechanism for information sharing”, added Maha Abouelenein, Head of Communications for Google in the Middle East and North Africa.

The training concluded with a competition on developing a social media strategy project. One such project was called “from Boston to Baghdad” that will look at citizen responses to acts of violence and terror, both similarities and common ground to better understand each other.

Follow-up meetings will be organized over the coming months via Google+ Hang Out between participants and trainers, who will play the role of mentors to continue their engagement with trainees.

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