Friday, June 21, 2024

San Pedro Sun reporter Dion Vansen invited to attend Investigative Journalism Fellowship in Jamaica


From Monday, April 21st through the 25th, the Media Institute of the Caribbean (MIC) hosted an Investigative Journalism training in Kingston, Jamaica, with 23 journalists from across the region. Belize was represented by The San Pedro Sun’s Senior Reporter Dion Vansen, along with colleagues Hipolito Novelo and Marion Ali from News 5 Live. The intense fellowship touched on areas like professional development, interview techniques, data journalism and using visualization tools, organizing story ideas, storyboarding, and exercises, among other essential activities. The workshop ended with the distribution of certificates.
The MIC is a non-profit training institution that trains Caribbean journalists. The United Kingdom International Development also supported the program in Jamaica. The first session on Monday started with a welcome address by the British High Commissioner to Jamaica. She congratulated the selected participants and wished them the best in the training. The following daily sessions included a set of presenters and veterans in journalism. Some of them included former CNN International correspondent and anchor Jim Clancy, award-winning Trinidadian journalist, media trainer, and press freedom campaigner Wesley Gibbings, Editor of the British Virgin Islands or BVI Beacon Freeman Rogers, researcher, trained facilitator, and advisor Sanne Stevens, and MIC Co-founder and President Kiran Maharaj.
The lectures and exercises walked reporters through interview techniques, building rapport, and asking tough questions. Other presentations included finding, cleaning, and preparing data for analysis. Insight Crime Reporting, storyboarding, and how to expose corruption were also discussed. The verification process in data gathering was also addressed along with paper trailing, documentary making, podcasting, digital security, best practices for writing impactful stories, mobile journalism, and multimedia reporting.

The training sessions were designed to be highly interactive, with participants divided into groups and assigned mentors. Each group was tasked with a regional project, applying the skills learned practically. The journalists are expected to use this collaborative reporting to illuminate issues affecting their communities. The fellowship also included activities outside the conference room, fostering further journalist interaction and offering a taste of Jamaican culture.
The organizers deemed the workshop successful and thanked the journalists and media houses represented. They highlighted the rigorous selection process, with the 23 journalists chosen from a pool of 300 applications. The group was a diverse mix, including reporters from Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Suriname, Guyana, Grenada, Montserrat, and Trinidad and Tobago, further underscoring the competitive nature of the fellowship.

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