Covering Elections: The Challenges of Training the Watchdogs
CIMA is pleased to release a new report, Covering Elections: The Challenges of Training the Watchdogs, by Rosemary Armao, a veteran journalist and journalism educator. Election training for journalists has been something of a sideline in most media development programs. Programs aimed at improving election laws, structures, and processes may include a journalism component, for example. Or efforts to boost investigative reporting might focus on elections in a particularly sensitive year. Where specialized election coverage programs have been mounted, they have tended to be short term and timed directly before elections, with faulty recruiting of participants, little focus on skills to be imparted in the rush, and no follow-up.
Election trainings could be strengthened with some attention to a few opportunities currently being missed. Among these is increased cooperation among U.S. and Western European donors in both funding long-range journalism training and improving the content of training. Intensive, practical training in the use of technology so that reporters can take advantage of social networking, cellphones, and computerized graphics is overdue.