Promoting Transparency through Journalism Education Partnerships
The Promoting Transparency through Journalism Education Partnerships program strengthened the ability of media in the Middle East and North Africa to play their full role in promoting good governance, transparency, and accountability by providing university journalism educators from across the region with new tools to teach students the skills required for sustained, probing, and responsible journalism.
It was a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.
This project is now closed.
• Provide journalism educators in the Middle East with professional development, training, and collaborative work opportunities with their U.S. counterparts.
• Prepare the next generation of Middle East media professionals through updated journalism curriculum, instruction methodology, and training materials.
• Promote good governance, transparency, and accountability through the support of an independent and professional regional media.
For the Arab media to play its role effectively, it needs a cadre of young and aggressive reporters who understand the role of the media in demanding government accountability and transparency, who can uncover corruption and provide probing, sustained reporting that goes beneath the surface of critical issues. These new journalists must be equipped with the skills to obtain, assess and convey information from governments and work with the sources, documents and new technology that are necessary for investigative reporting.
To support this process, Middle East journalism faculties must integrate into the global education community through the building of partnerships with counterpart faculties abroad and the ongoing two-way exchange of experience and expertise. Only with new teaching methodologies and materials can these educators reach the young people who will make the future media of the Middle East strong enough to promote government accountability and transparency.
The program realized the following successes:
Establishment of Joint Master’s Degree Program between Kent State University and Ahram Canadian University: One of the more exciting outcomes of the Promoting Transparency project is a signed letter of intent between Kent State University (KSU) and Ahram Canadian University to create a joint Masters of Arts degree program. The program was designed so that it will serve the needs of students at both institutions. Current plans are to have graduate students at ACU take one-third of their courses at ACU, one-third of their courses at KSU, and one-third via distance learning from KSU.
Signed letters of intent to expand journalism instruction methodology between Lebanese University (LU), Lebanese American University (LAU), and Emory University: An unexpected result of the Promoting Transparency project are signed letters of intent by LU, LAU, and Emory to develop specialized reporting curricula, encourage more professional journalism in Lebanon, and to promote the development of student media on campuses, including new students newspapers, and online websites and newscasts.
Continuing collaboration between University of Tennessee and Yarmouk University on journalism education: As part of IREX’s strategy to maximize program impact, the University of Tennessee and Yarmouk University have agreed to continue to partner under the USAID-funded Jordan Media Strengthening Program (JMSP) to expand and continue the work started under the Promoting Transparency project. The University of Tennessee is helping develop student media and use that to improve the practical elements of journalism education at Yarmouk.
Development of replicable curricula: Throughout the life of the Promoting Transparency project, the development of replicable course curricula focusing on investigative journalism has been the primary goal. IREX and its U.S. partner universities have facilitated the design of a “Public Affairs Reporting” class, and an advance production and digital editing curriculum. In addition, the University of Tennessee prepared sample syllabi for each professor to take back to their respective university, while Kent State and Emory have provided the MENA educators with a number of “hands-on” teaching modules that the MENA professors were able to insert into their existing classes.
Enhanced student-run media: LAU inserted a workshop class into its curriculum that produces a daily student-run newspaper, one of the first of its kind at an Arab university. The newspaper, The Daily Tribune, features campus news as well as national and international developments. ACU also published its first independent student run newspaper. In addition, the partners discussed further development of an online student radio station and student television station.