U.S. Embassy Sponsors Regional Multimedia Journalism Workshop

SUVA – The United States Embassy in Suva organized a four-day regional workshop focused on ‘New Media and Multimedia Reporting’ from August 13-16.  The Embassy brought U.S. expert Dr. Debora Wenger who ran the workshop that included about thirty journalists, editors and media administrators from Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu.  Dr. Wenger has extensive experience as a digital tools trainer, multimedia practitioner and educator as the Assistant Dean and professor at the University of Mississippi’s School of Journalism and New Media.  She is a 17-year broadcast news veteran, co-author of two books on new media and won numerous journalism and teaching awards.

This workshop is the latest cooperative effort by Embassy Suva and regional news organizations to invest in the capacity of professional journalists.  Embassy Suva arranged the workshop after the topic was requested by many news outlets to enhance the capacity of media practitioners on techniques such as curation and aggregation to produce stories, data-driven reporting, story mapping, effective videos and images, and 360 images.

The Public Diplomacy Officer Rebecca Archer Knepper, presided over the opening of the event. In her remarks, Ms. Archer Knepper noted that a vibrant and self-sustaining press is an integral part of a free press.  Ms. Archer Knepper said “By embracing multimedia approaches journalists and news outlets can tell the story in a variety of ways to reach more people and promote understanding.”

In preparing for this workshop, Ms. Wenger said she spent some time looking at the journalism produced in the Fiji region and was immediately struck by the ways in which multimedia could enhance some already solid reporting. “My goal was to offer ideas for expanding the reach and impact of the work of these local journalists through free and inexpensive digital media tools.”

Ms. Wenger said she hopes all of the participants would have found one new storytelling tool whether that’s a smartphone editing application, a 360 image or video capture option or a data visualization platform and they can use it to tell their next story in a way that’s more engaging for the audience.   “Barring that, I hope that some of the research I shared or examples I’ve shown will help improve the solid, ethical journalism they do every day.”