Wednesday, May 21, 2008

American professor, Indonesian journalist team up for Narrative Reporting course


DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/20 May) – An American professor from the George Washington University and an Indonesian journalist will team up for a “Narrative Reporting” course for print journalists here, the first time this subject will be taught in an island where so many stories are waiting to be written, and written well. 

Janet E. Steele, Associate professor of the School of Media and Public Affairs of the George Washington University will handle the first phase on May 21 to 23 while Indonesian journalist Andreas Harsono, a Nieman Fellow, will do the second phase on May 26 to 28. 

Narrative Reporting, also known as Narrative Journalism or Literary Journalism, was called “New Journalism” by Tom Wolfe in the 1960s and “non-fiction writing” by Truman Capote. 

Nieman Foundation, which has a program on Narrative Journalism says American newspapers have embraced the genre since the 1980s. 

In the team’s syllabus, Steele and Harsono note that “today, almost no one gets breaking news from daily newspapers but from television, internet, radio, telephone or text messages.” The question, they ask, is: “’What should newspapers do?’ How do journalists deal with what Bill Keller of The New York Times called ‘the information tsunami’?” 

Steele and Harsono introduced Narrative Reporting in Jakarta, Indonesia in mid-2001 through a workshop. 

Says Harsono: “It worked well. Newspapers paid their journalists to attend the courses.” 

Until now, Steele and Harsono still teach the course in Jakarta every semester. Harsono attended a conference on media and peace-building here last November and discussed with MindaNews the possibilities of having a Narrative Journalism workshop here. 

The “Narrative Reporting” course is a special feature of the 1st Mindanao Summer Institute of Journalism organized by MindaNews in pursuit of its mission and vision and in observance of its 7th anniversary. 

The course is being conducted in cooperation with the Ateneo de Davao University’s Department of Communications, Humanities Division, College of Arts and Sciences under Dean Jessie Manuta; Harsono’s Pantau Foundation; and the US Embassy in Manila which sponsored Prof. Steele’s visit. Philippine Air Lines, ACT for Peace Programme and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process co-sponsored the visit of Harsono. 

The other courses offered by the 1st Mindanao Summer Institute of Journalism will be handled by MindaNews writers. 

On Saturday, May 24, MindaNews editor and award-winning photojournalist Bobby Timonera will teach Basic Photography from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This will also serve as the launching of the 1st Gene Boyd R. Lumawag Memorial Lectures in honor of the late MindaNews photo editor. Lumawag was gunned down in Jolo, Sulu on November, 12, 2004 while returning to his hotel from shooting the sunset at the pier. 

Also on May 24, Charina Sanz-Zarate will handle Writing Features from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and MindaNews editor H. Marcos C. Mordeno, who worked in Task Force Detainees in the 1980s and early 1990s, will handle Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws

MindaNews reporter and anthropologist Jowel Canuday will give the preliminaries on Reporting the Lumads on Sunday, May 25, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., followed by Father Albert Alejo, a social anthropologist. 

Documentary photography will be taught on the 25th by Keith Kristoffer Bacongco, formerly with MindaNews, now with the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center. Bacongco has just completed the requirements for a Diploma in Photojournalism from the Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University. 

BJ Patino, who taught English and Creative writing at the Ateneo de Manila University and did several posters, book covers and designs for the Ateneo de Manila University Press, will teach Lay-out and Design on Thursday, May 29 at 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Patino transferred to this city last year when he married anthropologist Eizel Hilario, also of MindaNews. Patino also takes photos for MindaNews. 

Walter Balane, editor in chief of the Central Mindanao Newswatch in Malaybalay City and MindaNews reporter, will handle Basic Reporting from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 4 to 6 pm on May 29 and 10 to 12 noon on May 30, Friday. 

On May 30 to 31, web designer Vik Sapar, who did the design for MindaNews’ online publication,, will guide journalists and NGO workers in “Establishing online presence on a shoestring budget.” 

MindaNews’ Penelope Sanz, who is finishing her dissertation for her PhD in Anthropology and who headed the team of the three Ateneo universities in Mindanao on the research on mining, will guide journalists on what to watch out for in Reporting Mining on Saturday, May 31 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon while MindaNews editor Carolyn O. Arguillas will guide journalists on understanding and reporting the Peace Process, focus on the Bangsamoro, at 2 to 5 pm on May 31. 

Venues of the training will be announced shortly. A Safety Training in Hostile Environments will also be held for journalists and NGO workers. Some courses do not require registration fees. College students can avail of scholarships.

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