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Robert Hernandez, InquireFirst board member and USC Annenberg professor reminded journalists of the "rules of the road: journalism first, technology second. We always follow our ethics. Social media does not replace good journalism." Photo by Luis J. Jiménez/InquireFirst

Digital Storytelling: Latin American journalists learn to take the lead in an ever-changing reporting environment

SAN DIEGO -- The future of journalism lies in being able to tell stories visually.

“If your intention is to be a leader you have to think of new ways to tell your stories,” Raghu Vadarevu, Editor of Digital Storytelling/Global Enterprise for The Associated Press, told journalists from Latin America and the Caribbean who attended an Aug. 21-25, 2017, workshop organized and directed by InquireFirst on Digital Storytelling.  “We can’t lose site of this: we’re still trying to tell stories.  We just have to use all the new tools at our disposal to do that.”

During an intensive session with Vadarevu, journalist participants learned about cutting edge approaches to telling their stories online. Vadarevu talked about using new techniques such as cartoons to tell a complex news story.  He described how The Associated Press used illustrations to tell the story of a girl who ran away from ISIS, detailing her treacherous journey with beautiful and moving drawings.

Raghu Vadarevu, Associated Press editor of digital storytelling/global enterprise, told journalists, "If your intention is to be a leader you have to think of new ways to tell your stories.” Photo by Luis J. Jiménez/InquireFirst

“You need to learn to communicate with people who can produce the visuals,” he said.

Vadarevu walked journalists through the steps for telling a digital story.

Discuss opportunities for digital elements before field reporting, he said.   And remember that “we don’t need an elaborate website to tell a story.  We’re gearing a lot of our content to the mobile experience. We can tell it in pieces on social media,” Vadarevu said. 

He reminded journalists that “telling a story doesn’t end with publication.  It continues on social media. With social media, there’s a lot more opportunity to engage with readers and users.”

The workshop, organized by InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker and held on the University of San Diego campus, provided journalist participants with tools and techniques for reporting on multiple platforms as well as financing methods and organizational advice for their online media organizations. Journalists attended the program from México, Honduras, Bolivia, Ecuador and Cuba.

Robert Hernández, InquireFirst board member and USC Annenberg professor of professional practice, demonstrated low-cost and no-cost apps that journalists can use to tell their stories more effectively and deliver them to audiences real-time. But Hernández reminded the journalists of the “rules of the road: journalism first, technology second.  We always follow our ethics. Social media does not replace good journalism.”

Walter Baranger, a journalism professor at California State University, Fullerton, and former senior editor of news operations at The New York Times, spoke with journalists about cyber security and measures that reporters and photojournalists can take to protect their work and their equipment from private and state-sponsored hackers.

Walter Baranger, a journalism professor at California State University, Fullerton, and vice president of InquireFirst, spoke with journalists about cyber security and measures reporters and photojournalists can take to protect their work from private and state-sponsored hackers. Photo by Luis J. Jiménez/InquireFirst

Janine Warner, co-founder of SembraMedia, reviewed effective strategies for economic sustainability of online news organizations. She cited her recently completed study, Inflection Point, that showed that Latin America’s online organizations are strong and expanding. 

There are more than 600 online news organizations now operating in Latin America and Spain, Warner said, and 49 percent of those news organizations have been operating for more than four years, a clear sign of sustainability.  About 66 percent of those organizations had four or more sources of funding, demonstrating a diversity of funding sources which is key to economic stability.

The Digital Storytelling workshop organized by InquireFirst served to strengthen the resolve of journalists to launch or expand online news organizations, which are an effective means of reaching the population – especially young people – and delivering credible, precise, thorough reporting on the important events taking place in their countries.

At the conclusion of the workshop one journalist wrote, “I am leaving with a new idea to start my own online news site.”  Another said, “You can be sure that everything I learned will be shared with others to improve the information we provide to our audiences.”


19 Latin American journalists attend inaugural InquireFirst symposium

Eileen Truax, InquireFirst journalist and author of "Dreamers: An Immigrant Generation's Fight for Their American Dream," spoke with reporters and editors at the November 2016 international investigative journalism symposium. Photo by Luis J. Jiménez/InquireFirst

SAN DIEGO -- Journalists from Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Panama, attended InquireFirst’s inaugural international investigative journalism symposium Nov. 14-18, 2016, in San Diego. The program, organized and directed by InquireFirst Executive Director S. Lynne Walker and conducted entirely in Spanish, focused on investigative journalism in the digital age.

Nineteen Latin American journalists met with prestigious U.S. journalists and professors who offered in-depth instruction on digital reporting, data reporting and visualization of data, video reporting and economic models for conducting investigative reporting on a limited budget.

A panel discussion with Susan White, executive director of InquireFirst who has edited three Pulitzer Prize-winning projects at three U.S. media organizations, focused on techniques for reporting and writing a prize-winning investigative project. White was joined on the panel by Dave Hasemyer, an investigative reporter for InsideClimateNews who is a winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize and a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize.

Erik Olsen, West Coast video correspondent for Quartz and former senior video journalist for The New York Times, taught a half-day session on new techniques for reporting and editing news documentaries for websites and mobile devices. Photo by Luis J. Jiménez/InquireFirst

Robert Hernandez, associate professor of professional practice at the University of Southern California and InquireFirst board member, instructed a three-hour workshop on digital journalism and low-cost and no-cost digital tools available to journalists to enhance their reporting and website presentation. Erik Olsen, West Coast video correspondent for Quartz and former senior video journalist for The New York Times, talked about techniques and equipment for producing visual news reports.

Danielle Cervantes, InquireFirst journalist and professor of investigative data journalism at Point Loma University in San Diego, taught a workshop on data research.

Eileen Truax, InquireFirst journalist and author of Dreamers, An Immigrant Generation’s Fight for Their American Dream, spoke with journalists about ways to conduct investigative journalism with limited resources.

Walker taught a half-day session that provided journalists with practical techniques to gain access to credible and confirmed information when official channels to information are blocked. This interactive session encouraged journalists to stretch beyond the typical search for news sources and to think analytically about ways to conduct investigations without putting their lives at risk.

Danielle Cervantes, InquireFirst journalist and professor of investigative and data journalism at Point Loma Nazarene University, showed reporters and editors how to mine data to conduct in-depth reporting. Photo by Luis J. Jiménez/InquireFirst

During the workshop, journalists met in Tijuana with Adela Navarro, co-publisher of the weekly newspaper Zeta, and her investigative team to discuss freedom of expression and the risks and responsibilities of reporting in dangerous conditions. They discussed border issues with San Diego State University Professor Victor Clark Alfaro, director of an independent center in Tijuana, the Bi-National Center for Human Rights. And they spoke about public security issues with Vicente Calderon, founder of the online news site TijuanaPress.com and editorial coordinator of Newsweek Baja California.

The journalists also engaged in a discussion with four regional experts on post-electoral implications for issues such as immigration, the bi-national relationship and the U.S.-Mexico border.

As a result of the InquireFirst symposium, journalists proposed several projects for reporters and editors in their own cities as well as for university journalism students, creating a multiplier effect for the training provided during the program. Their intent is to ensure that the experience and knowledge they gained extends beyond the confines of the San Diego classroom and into newsrooms and journalism organizations throughout Latin America.

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2017 Symposiums

InquireFirst Executive Director S. Lynne Walker will organize and instruct journalism symposiums in 2017 on investigative reporting and safety protocols, digital storytelling and science, health and environment coverage in Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The symposiums will be presented in Spanish.

Rocio Gallegos, editorial director of El Diario, looks at a map of Ciudad Juarez marked with the areas of the city where the worst outbreaks of drug violence have occurred. Photo by S. Lynne Walker/InquireFirst

 

May 15-16, 2017
Cuidad Juarez, Mexico
Investigative Journalism & Journalist Safety

During the two-day Investigative Journalism workshop for print, online, radio and television reporters and editors, Walker will focus on the urgent issue of journalist safety.

Walker will meet with the directors of media organizations to discuss the risks they face and ways to conduct investigative coverage without putting reporters’ lives in danger. She will also lead conversations with journalism students at two universities in Ciudad Juarez about the fundamentals of fact-based reporting as well as answering their questions about daily reporting.


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June 12-16, 2017
Quetzaltenango and Guatemala City
Tools & Techniques for Investigative Reporting

In Guatemala City,  journalists will attend a two-day Tools & Techniques workshop led by Walker, who will meet separately with journalists in Quetzaltenango. The program will focus on developing investigative news stories, techniques for finding and interviewing sources, writing investigative reports and the ethics of investigative journalism.


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June 19-23, 2017
San Pedro Sula and Comayagua, Honduras
Engaging Audiences with In-Depth Reporting

In San Pedro Sula, Walker will lead a two-day workshop on accurate sourcing and producing thorough, balanced investigative journalism that results in greater transparency and good governance. Walker will also conduct intensive reporting workshops in the colonial city of Comayagua.


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August 21-25, 2017
San Diego, California
Digital Storytelling  in the 21st Century

This five-day workshop will focus on multi-platform storytelling as well as the dissemination of information through new media. The program includes discussions with specialists on the issues of accuracy and credibility, libel and other legal questions, reporting ethics and the sourcing of information in electronic media. During training sessions with digital media and social media experts, journalists will engage in hands-on training sessions designed to provide new reporting tools that will allow them to present immediate and accurate information in this new reporting environment. The workshop will be offered in Spanish.


Photo by Luis J. Jiménez/InquireFirst

September 1, 2017
Virtual session from San Diego, CA
Advanced Investigative Journalism 

This virtual session focuses on every aspect of investigative journalism — from idea to planning to reporting and writing and finally to follow-up stories.  More than 100 journalists will be attending the session from Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, Durango, San Luis Potosi and Zacatecas, as well as the border cities of Nuevo Laredo and Tamaulipas.


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September 25-29, 2017
Asunción, Paraguay
Investigative Reporting & Access to Information

Journalists in Asuncion, Caacupe and Itaugua, Paraguay, will attend a three-day workshop instructed by InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker on investigative reporting and techniques for accessing information for in-depth reporting.
Paraguay is readying for party primaries in December and a presidential election in April 2018. Walker will meet with journalists at Asuncion’s leading news organizations about access to information and government accountability. She will also meet with government officials and employees to discuss stategies for responsible disclosure of federal and local government activities.


October 25-30, 2017
San Francisco, California
Bridging Science and Societies

InquireFirst and Mexico City-based Fundacion Ealy Ortiz will bring together 50 science journalists for a October 25 professional development workshop to present practical, hands-on training sessions to sharpen reporting skills on the most pressing science, health and environmental issues in the Western Hemisphere.

The 2017 Latin American Edition of the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop workshop is designed to promote excellence in science, health and environmental coverage in Latin America and the Caribbean and to underscore the need for deeply reported science coverage by local and regional media organizations.

This year’s workshop is being organized as part of the World Conference of Science Journalists 2017 (WCSJ) in San Francisco, California. Journalists attending the workshop will also participate in the WCSJ, which will host 1,200 reporters and editors from 70 countries.


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November 9-11, 2017
La Paz, Bolivia
Investigative Journalism in the Digital Age

Reporters and editors in the capital city of La Paz will attend a 14-hour workshop instructed by Walker on Investigative Journalism in the Digital Age. The workshop, organized by the Fundacion para el Periodismo, is being offered to journalists studying for a Master of Journalism degree.

 

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December 7-8, 2017
México City, México
Technology, Innovation & Journalism

Executive Director Lynne Walker will participate as a trainer in a México City TechCamp organized by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs.

The TechCamp aims to increase the digital literacy, media safety and investigative journalism skills of almost 60 participants from México, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The participants are working as independent journalists, as part of investigative units or in traditional media outlets on issues where they face censorship or physical harm.

 

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