This week, the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia, began the first of 25 week-long media trainings throughout Ethiopia designed to empower and educate journalists on their roles and responsibilities in advance of national elections currently scheduled for mid-2021.
The media capacity project is being conducted in partnership with the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) and Addis Ababa University’s School of Journalism and Communications, will train 500 to 700 journalists across the country. The U.S. Embassy has invested $450,000 in this project.
Journalists will also learn about the election process, which includes educating voters on diverse issues, and monitoring and reporting on electoral activities to increase the transparency and accountability of all parties involved. They will also learn techniques for reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Your role as media professionals is critical in both uncovering and addressing the needs and challenges of citizens, as well as questioning sources, diversifying the types of people you interview, and countering mis- and disinformation as part of your daily responsibilities,” Amanda Jacobsen, public affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, told the journalists at the launch of the project.
The workshops are being facilitated by experienced Ethiopian journalists and professors from leading Ethiopian schools of journalism. An American media specialist developed the curriculum for the five-day sessions. In addition, experienced American media specialists will provide hands-on, tailored training at various Ethiopian newsrooms on investigative journalism techniques beginning next month.