Providing media training to journalists and, increasingly, to civil society organizations and other actors has been integral to the fulfilment of IPS’ mission since its inception. As the only global news agency reporting on the South “from within”, IPS is all too aware that news coverage and reporting on development issues is very often biased towards a “Northern” perspective, thus failing to really “give voice to the voiceless”. This is due to at least two overarching factors.
- Relatively well-resourced Northern media (notably from North America and Europe) have come to play a driving role in opinion-making worldwide, often with the effect of muting alternative, Southern-based voices.
Even when news coverage is provided by Southern media organizations, most journalists have received training from Northern providers that dominate the training market. Despite their high objective standards, they lack an “approach from within” in terms of background, values and local context. They may also miss opportunities for South-South exchange.
Going against both trends, IPS has been providing journalists from all over the world media training and a wide range of capacity-building tools (see box), thus equipping them with the necessary skills to participate in a critical reflection of the dominant media discourse. We enable journalists to produce news and features from and about the South, which focus on issues and provide context starting from their audiences’ own immediate realities.
Because of its mission and conceptual approach, the community of national, international and intergovernmental donors have come to see IPS as a very important partner in tackling the information and communication needs of development initiatives. For this reason, IPS has been expanding its training and capacity-building activities, to provide training programmes specifically aimed at the unique requirements of communicators in civil society.
In 2007, so far, IPS has organised or co-organised the following training events for a total of 137 journalists in five locations on the following themes:
- IPS Asia – March 2007, Siem Reap, Cambodia, “Peer Review Workshop, Imaging Our Mekong media fellowship programme 2006-07″, with Probe Media Foundation, 39 Mekong based journalists.
IPS Europe – June 2007, Tirana, Albania, “Eco-tourism and New Albania”, with 12 participating journalists from Albania and Europe.
IPS Headquarters – June 2007, Rome, Italy, “Millennium Development Goals and Cities”, with six invited journalists.
IPS Latin America – June 2007, Mexico, “Reporting Climate Change”, 30 Mexican journalists.
IPS Latin America – July 2007, Uruguay, “Reporting the Millennium Development Goals”, 40 Latin American Journalists.
IPS Latin America – October 2007, Mexico, “MDGs and Social and Development Journalism”, 10 Latin American journalists.