CIIAN is pleased to announce that it is planning to launch a new peacebuilding project, entitled Networking the Gap (NTG), which is aimed at developing workshops that will bring together journalists coming from conflict-affected areas. However, participants will not be war correspondents, but journalists who cover culture, health and other non-conflict related matters.
By participating in regional workshops, reporters will establish contacts, which they will then draw upon when writing day-to-day articles. Thus, NTG, will help to counter familiar narratives by covering unexpected topics. Consequently transforming the foreigner (or "other") into a neighbor.
The workshops aspire to enhance dialogue among journalists and to seek the 'self' in the 'other.' These objectives are achieved by creating a forum in which journalists from opposite sides of the conflict can convene to share story ideas. The hope is that journalists on one side of the conflict will give voice to human-interest stories from the other side. Collaborative articles are strongly encouraged. After the workshop, an Internet forum will be provided and regional gatherings will be organized to encourage ongoing networking.
Presently, peace journalism workshops are targeted at war correspondents or young journalists in developing countries. NTG however, would cater to non-war covering journalists. The aim is to bring them together so they would establish connections with each other. In the wake of a Middle-East workshop, for example, an Israeli journalist would use his new contacts to interview a Palestinian Facebook user when writing an IT article on social networking. Currently, both sides are profiled in the other nation's media in articles primarily associated with violence . The proposed article might help the average Israeli reader relate to the Palestinian on a more human level.
Besides yearly workshops there will be a dissemination of the template to media/peace organizations (e.g. West African Journalist Association), thus empowering them to run the workshops easily and independently.
The first workshop will cater to 10 Middle East journalists. The workshop's program will include five-day classes during July 2010 held by leading journalists as well as seminars aiming at networking among participants, while lodging together in the Sauvé mansion in Montreal. The participants will be prominent and moderate journalists as well as promising young journalists (e.g. with popular blogs).
For more info, contact: Tomer Avital
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