AUBG English for Journalists Program Hosts Engaging Seminars

May 28, 2024
AUBG English for Journalists Program Hosts Engaging Seminars

In the span of two months, April and July 2024, the local journalists, part of the program English for Journalists at the English Language Institute (ELI), had the chance to participate in several workshops led by national experts. These workshops were aimed at enhancing journalistic skills in AI, access to public information, and detecting abuses of public resources and election fraud . During the practical workshops, the participants expanded their skills and knowledge in their professional sphere. 

Exploring Virtual Reality and Digital Security 

The first seminar, led by Mityo Marinov, ventured into the innovative world of virtual reality (VR) and its intersection with digital security. The journalists were presented with a unique challenge: conduct an interview in a war zone using VR technology. This thought-provoking scenario prompted lively discussions and brainstorming sessions. Participants explored alternative solutions and reporting approaches suitable for high-risk environments, highlighting the importance of both innovation and safety in modern journalism. 

One of the participants, Rosinka Prodanova, a national radio station reporter from Blagoevgrad expressed gratitude to AUBG for organizing the program. “This is why we are grateful to AUBG for organizing this course.”.

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Deep Dive into Access to Information and Investigative Journalism 

Led by Alexander Kashumov, CEO at Access to Information Program, the second seminar delved into the critical question of how journalists in Bulgaria access information. The discussion centered on the Access to Information Act (FOIA) and its impact on investigative journalism. Participants explored the act’s effectiveness, including its potential benefits for journalists, privileges it grants, and its overall impact on investigative reporting. They also examined how widely journalists utilize FOIA and the tangible results it yields. 

The seminar also explored the broader topics of access to documents, public data registries, and how these resources can be leveraged for data-driven journalism practices. This session equipped journalists with a deeper understanding of their rights and the tools available for effective investigative reporting. 

“This is the first time many of us attend seminars like these,” said local journalist Maria Blagoeva. “We need these practical and specific workshops, especially in smaller regions like ours. Personal meetings with experts are particularly impactful.”


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Investigating Election Fraud: Practical Techniques and Resources 

The final seminar featured Mario Rusinov and Sofiya Zheleva, experts from the Anti-Corruption Fund. Mario shared real-world case studies of election fraud, delving into the investigative techniques employed to expose these incidents. Sofiya provided journalists with a valuable toolkit, equipping them with practical resources and platforms to utilize in their own investigations into potential electoral fraud. This session underscored the critical role journalists play in safeguarding democratic processes and ensuring fair elections. 

Semester Wrap Up

AUBG President Margee Ensign expressed her satisfaction with the journalists’ involvement in the program.

“Local media plays a crucial role in shaping the community. I am very happy that despite their busy schedules, journalists have invested a lot  of time and efforts  in this project, as the local media is the one that is making the impact,” she said.

The AUBG English for Journalists program’s seminar series proved to be a valuable learning experience for participating journalists. 

Nikolina Radeva, Director of the ELI, expressed her appreciation to all the journalists for actively participating.

“It is through your enthusiasm and commitment that this semester has been so successful in enriching your English language skills, journalistic expertise, and expanding your horizons.”

She also expressed her gratitude towards the work of Yana Manova and Rumyana Popova, for their unwavering devotion and exceptional guidance throughout the semester.

“Their expertise, patience, and passion for teaching have played a pivotal role in facilitating your learning journey. Together, you have made this learning experience truly enriching and rewarding.” 

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