TRAINING FORMULA, RESULTS ACHIEVED
Our training is based squarely on the needs of journalists in
the region -- as expressed by themselves, their editors and others in the
Changes and refinements to our basic formula are made on the basis of
evaluations by students, instructors and the IMMF project director after
each regional training course. To better understand the region's media
needs, refine our programmes and more clearly define the role of the IMMF,
a second media assessment was carried out in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and
Vietnam during 2001. Valuable insights resulted from this exercise
and recommendations have been acted on wherever possible.
Our regional courses are held in Thailand with students based at
either Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University, Chiang Mai University in
northern Thailand or The Prince of Songkhla University in
the South. The atmosphere at these institutions is conducive
to learning and the cost of accommodations and classrooms very reasonable.
Thailand, we believe, is an ideal learning laboratory for our regional training. It
is endowed with a vigorous, competent and open media sector and offers resources
ranging from United Nations agencies to grass-roots non-governmental
organisations to academic experts on virtually every subject.
For better and worse, it is ahead of its neighbors:
its economy is sophisticated; its countryside is beset by environmental
problems. Thus visiting journalists can take back to their own
countries a greater understanding of how to deal with issues that will be
affecting them in the near future.
Although classroom work and speakers are integral to every course,
great stress is placed on field work and the actual production of
articles, photographs and radio reports. Visits to rice fields,
factories and stock market trading floors, interviews with hill-tribe
people, fishing families and business executives are featured.
Hard work and sometimes spartan conditions are the
norm. Participating journalists share sleeping space with rural dwellers, conditions which help break down
any initial cultural barriers and forge a feeling of family. Bond and
friendships formed are usually so strong that rarely does a course end
without tears being shed.
Graduates gain a clearer understanding of issues affecting the whole
region, of the ethics of good journalism and the importance of balanced
reporting. Journalistic techniques and skills are sharpened.
Many of our alumni have risen to positions of higher responsibility and
been given opportunities to take up scholarships abroad, attributing their
success at least in part to their IMMF training. Alumni have been
offered further education by The Freedom Forum of the United States, The
Thomson Foundation in the United Kingdom and City of London University,
United Kingdom. Some have started clubs, talk shows and columns in
their newspapers on topics such as the environment and dealing with
The products of each group of 16 journalists reach an
audience estimated at three million people. Radio journalists find an even
far larger audience. Potentially, their work has enormous