No trainers and trainees, just colleagues learning from each other

Text by Sasa Lekovic
Freelance investigative reporter and trainer

”It’s difficult to explain in short how much we learned from you; the mindset of the group has now changed. My colleagues and I will be forever grateful for that.“

When one receive letters containing those words it is the best “pay off“ ever.

I received it just a few days ago, sent by a fellow journalist from The Daily Star, newspaper based in Dhaka. The English Daily with the biggest circulation in Bangladesh. My main task according to the contract was to train a group of journalists in investigative reporting techniques and help them to develop their own story ideas giving hand to the editorial staff to establish TDS investigative reporting team.

That went great but we have done much more than that. Mahfuz Anam, Editor-in-Chief and co-owner of TDS understood my intention and gave me support to make my work there widen. He wisely took from me all what he could (but from his team too) to strengthen capacity of TDS newsroom.

First of all, he gave me the opportunity not just to work with designated journalists but also to be in the newsroom constantly having unformal discussions with each reporter or editor willing to do so during my stay there.

Equally important steps were meetings with reporters and editorial staff who were not trainees. I, together with group I have trained, informed the rest of the newsroom regularly what we are doing and discussed about it. That way I was trying to pull them in and have them think about how to improve their own participation in the process.

 

Final goal was to reorganize workflow in the newsroom in a way that investigative reporting team creates synergy with the others and have everyone getting as much as possible from the others.

Feedback has been and still is – fascinating. Up to all we did fulfilling project agenda finally Mahfuz Anam agreed with me that TDS has do have its own Code of Ethics. Looking forward to read it very soon.

Coming back to the beginning of the article I am sure my colleague from TDS is honest being grateful to my work there but it is absolutely not a one-way road.

To be the best trainer/consultant/mentor…name it… you must have freedom to organize tailor-made approach rather than to transfer just generic material at “dry“ trainings. On the other hand, there is no real success without the trainees’ commitment. Fortunately, I got both from Fojo Media Institute as well as The Daily star. It was a win-win situation.

Fojo Media Institute
Fojo is an independent institution at the non-profit public Linnaeus University, one of Sweden’s biggest universities. In this capacity, Fojo stands free from commercial and political interests, free to make independent decisions on how to serve journalism, freedom of expression and democracy. Fojo works to promote free, independent and professional journalism around the world.