Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Last week Free Press Unlimited in cooperation with Al Khatt organized a StoryMaker training for fifteen young citizen journalists from across Tunisia. The training took place over eight days and was held during the World Social Forum – an annual gathering of NGOs, civil society organizations and activists from across the globe.

Blog by Bethel Tsegaye, Project Officer StoryMaker

Just days before the training was scheduled to start, the tragic terrorist attack happened at the Bardo museum killing 22 people. The event shocked not only Tunisians but the whole world. Tunisia has been up until now one of the few countries in the MENA region that has managed to stay relatively stable since the Arab Spring. The attacks were a stark reminder that terrorism knows no boundaries and the unexpected can happen at any moment.

Despite the attacks, thousands of people flew into Tunis to attend and participate in the World Social Forum. Free Press Unlimited also decided to not let terrorism stand in the way and go on with the StoryMaker training. The results were magical.

The forum kicked off on Tuesday with an anti-terror march through the city in honor to the Bardo museum victims. Although rain fell steadily the whole day, participants still showed up to show their solidarity.

StoryMaker participants scattered through the crowd wearing their bright colored Free Press Unlimited t-shirts interviewing activists, delegates and others who traveled all the way to Tunis to be part of the World Social Forum.

The training focused on mobile journalism with sessions on digital and physical security, what it means to be a citizen journalists, techniques of a good story and more interventions from guest trainers during the forum. The citizen journalists participating in the training were being trained to produce content for Jaridaty, a youth focused citizen journalism platform that will launch this summer.

A group of citizen journalists from France, who are part of a citizen media called Altermondes joined the StoryMaker training to learn about how citizen journalists in Tunisia are covering issues that matter most.

A spontaneous discussion erupted between the citizen journalists from Tunisia and France showing the cross-border similarities between the youth community of Muslims in France and Muslims in Tunis and the solidarity that exists no matter the boundaries in the fight against terrorism. The debate can be found here.

At the end of the training participants began to publish their stories on their Facebook, youtube and other social media. Stories can also be found on the Jaridaty Facebook page.

The trainees will work on their stories with mentors on the ground and reconvene in May for the followup training.

The StoryMaker app is currently in Beta 2.0 and is available through the Google + community.

For more information about our partner Al Khatt, please visit their website.