The YaLa Academy’s Aileen Getty School of Citizen Journalism - Fall 2016

Publish Date: Jul 26, 2016

Deadline: Jul 31, 2016

Event Dates: from Sep 01, 2016 12:00 to Dec 01, 2016 12:00

About Aileen Getty School

The YaLa Academy's Aileen Getty School of Citizen Journalism invites you to undergo a 4-month online training program (starting in September 2016) featuring journalists and new media experts from the New York Times, the Associated Press, Facebook & more! The program will be held in English and participants must come from, or live in, the Middle East or Africa and be between the ages of 17 and 36.

It's time to make your voice heard! Today's internet allows the voices of civil societies to be heard globally - a power once reserved for only the largest media and news corporations - we must make the best of this opportunity and use it to build bridges for a better, more peaceful future.

The program will train you to become a "citizen journalists" experienced in expressing yourself, telling your stories, writing blogs, taking photos, making videos, using new/social media tools and engaging in cross-border dialogue. The online training program focuses on video lectures by journalists/experts such as Alan Abbey, founder of Ynetnews; Rina Castelnuovo, photojournalist for the New York Times; Joe Federman, Editor of the Jerusalem Bureau of the Associated Press; John Temple, former Managing Editor of The Washington Post; David Fischer, Vice President of Facebook and many more!

During the program, you will be asked to take part in bi-monthly live online chat sessions about the video lectures, to participate in a private Facebook working group where the 4 mandatory assignments are posted and reviewed, and to regularly check your emails. Throughout the program, you will learn how to create content focusing on the issues important to you - such as gender, identity, social justice, coexistence, culture, etc. - and the best pieces will be published on YaLa Press. You will also earn a certificate from YaLa & the Aileen Getty Foundation!

So, what are you waiting for - it's time to meet & hear the stories of young people from across the Middle East & Africa, and to join a network of empowered & informed citizen journalists who are using new & social media to promote understanding and important social causes - be a YaLa Citizen Journalist!

The structure

The School recruited journalism and new media experts to train and engage young leaders (aged 17-36) from across the Middle East and Africa in the following topics:

  • ‘Journalism 101’ – writing, editing, interviewing, and ethical journalism
  • Photojournalism – photography and photo-editing to tell a story through images
  • Video Journalism - shooting, editing and presenting video-based stories
  • New Media – leveraging the power of social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, etc.) to spread citizen journalism blogs, articles, videos and photography.

Peace, coexistence and dialogue are cross-cutting themes within these four areas to ensure that YaLa citizen journalists use media to reduce tensions and create understanding, rather than fanning the flames of conflict as traditional media so often does.

Each year, the School has two four-month semesters, bringing together 400 students per year from Israel, Palestine, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen and all across the Middle East and Africa. The Spring semester is held from March until June and the Fall semester is held from September to December. Through a combination of interactive online platforms, students learn, dialogue, watch video lectures, access resources, and connect with School staff and lecturers.

The School's head office is located in Tel Aviv, where the School's curriculum, students and activities are managed by a staff of 6 coordinators and mentors.

Activities include:

  • A series of video lectures by journalism and new media experts in the four topics
  • Biweekly live online discussions among students and School staff on our interactive online learning platforms
  • Periodic online Q&A sessions between students and lecturers
  • Collaborative assignments in writing, photography and video shared, edited and discussed together by students and Staff in private Facebook working groups
  • Opportunities for excelling students to win prizes and participate in further study
  • Local workshops on citizen journalism topics in five countries (Israel, Palestine, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt)
  • Publication of the best blogs, videos and photos on YaLa Press and YaLa’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, as well as other media outlets such as Huffington Post.

The model

By integrating the citizen journalism lectures, discussions and assignments into the daily social media experience of our participants, the program has maintained student retention rates of approximately 75-80%, well above the norm of any other online education model. For example, according to its founder, Coursera only has 4 to 9% of students complete their online courses.

Pioneered in a pilot program supported by the U.S. Institute of Peace, which took place between September 2014 and January 2015, the School leverages a Facebook-based system of collaborative, peer-to-peer journalism. Every writing, photo and video assignment is posted, reviewed, discussed and edited in closed Facebook working groups facilitated by YaLa staff and mentors. The online lectures, chats, collaborative writing and student feedback all take place through the Facebook groups and YaLa’s Academy’s interactive website.

Like a university campus, YaLa has created a hybrid social and educational space. But quite unlike a university campus, YaLa’s Citizen Journalism program connects the entire Middle East and Africa region online, providing free, accessible and high-level training that breaks down borders, barriers and stereotypes.

Accordingly, our students rate the experience as overwhelmingly positive. When asked to rate the overall program, 92% of pilot program students rated it highly, including 38% rating it as "lifechanging" (awarding it the maximum score of 7) and another 54% rating it as very positive (scores of 6 or 5).

The platform

YaLa's innovative new media platform - YaLa Press - serves as a stage for YaLa bloggers, as well as a collaborative platform for the students of the YaLa Academy's Aileen Getty School of Citizen Journalism to publish their pieces and co-manage the portal. The School’s country chapters in Israel, Palestine, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt will become hubs for local content on the platform and catalysts for local citizen journalism including video, photography and blogs in English, Arabic, Hebrew and French. It is not about “representing” the Middle East through expert analysis, but rather about “presenting” it, simply and authentically. YaLa's unique blogs have been featured on several partner media outlets including a regular column on the Huffington Post.

Over the past three years, YaLa Press has opened a unique window into the lives of young people across the region, publishing nearly 300 blogs written by young people from Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen and beyond. YaLa Press is bringing to the world the human dimension of the Middle East through stories of the real-life experiences of young people in the region.

How to apply

To find the online application form please click "Further official information" below.


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