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Building capacity of journalism apprentices

Year when project approved: 
Approved budget: 
US$12 000.00

None of Belize’s junior colleges or universities provide formal journalism training, despite a growing demand for journalists. Consequently, most of the country's journalists enter the profession with an education in a different field and may not possess the skills and competencies required to be competent journalists. The Organization for the Promotion of Youths in Journalism (OPYJ) is concerned about this situation and has been working with interest youths to help them secure scholarships to study journalism abroad. However, due to limited resources, it has only been able to secure such scholarships for five students. In order to help a larger number of students, OPYJ is requesting partial funding for its journalism training programme, which will equip apprentice journalists with the skills and knowledge required to effectively gather, analyze and disseminate information.

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Project details
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Beneficiary name: 
The Organization for the Promotion of Youths in Journalism (OPYJ)
Beneficiary description: 

The Organization for the Promotion of Youths in Journalism (OPYJ) was formed in August of 2010 to assist individuals who wish to enter the field of journalism with the necessary skills and knowledge to build their journalism career. This organization is a resource center where aspiring journalists could come and obtain resources on journalism, journalism training programs and scholarships to study abroad. In terms of its management structure, the organization has a president, secretary, and treasurer, all of whom have been elected by its membership to serve for a period of two years. The organization’s mission is to promote and elevate the standards of journalism in Belize through the education of young journalists.

Beneficiary address: 
32 Mahogany Street

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Project contacts: 

Dr. Bernard Watler, OPYJ

Project place: 
Belize City
Follow-up and achievments
Summary of the project implementation: 

The project was carried out as per schedule with a training programme that consisted of four modules. In total six (6) male and nine (9) female participants were trained. The four modules of training have been completed. The modules are Introduction to Journalism; Business and Financial Journalism; Women and News; and Ethics of Journalism. In addition to these modules there was a practical component in the project where the participants went on two field trips one to a radio station and one to TV station to observe the operations of the entities.
The Introduction to Journalism module was designed to (a) survey the various forms of contemporary journalism, with an eye toward helping students make career choices, and (b) critique those same forms, with an eye toward helping students become better journalists and more engaged citizens. The underlying goal of this module was to introduce students to the field of journalism and provide them with a solid understanding of the importance of reliable journalism. Here students were required to visit a series of radio and television stations, produced and recorded shows, read news, and learned to operate various production equipment. The module also examined the current status of quality of Journalism in Belize, lack of participation of youths in national discourse and in Journalism, and samples of stories in the media that were deficient, sensational, and loaded with negativity.
The Business and Financial Journalism module introduced students to the techniques of business journalism. Business journalism has grown rapidly over the past decade and promises to be one of the most interesting, lucrative areas of journalism in the future, particularly on the Web. In this course participants developed competencies in financial informationgathering and writing, and demonstrated those skills by preparing articles for publication.
The Ethics in Journalism module examined ethical issues in the media through class discussion, films, and journalistic writing such as editorials and analysis pieces. Ethical questions in a variety of contexts were considered – for example, is it ever ethically acceptable to lie to a source, your boss, your client, your employee, or your reader/viewers? How much information should the mass media provide about the private lives of public figures and private figures? What is appropriate news coverage of “needy causes”? What is and should be the influence of competition and the profit motive on news? Do broadcasters have different responsibilities than print journalists?
Finally, the Women and the News module explored women’s relationship to news both historically and currently and the role of the news media in reinforcing and/or challenging prevailing stereotypes and attitudes about gender. It focused on women both as producers of journalism and as subjects of media portrayals.
This project is a success story as it has achieved both its immediate objective which was to train a cadre of young Belizean Journalists particularly those who were apprentices in media houses. This training course is on track for satisfying the developmental objectives by laying the foundation for more long term intervention from NGOs such as the Organization of Young Journalists and tertiary institutions in Belize to provide tertiary level training and certification in Journalism.

Overtime this should begin showing up in better quality reporting in Belize, both in broadcast and print media and even social media as well, as a cadre of young Belizean journalist both men and women are now trained to deliver high quality media reporting.