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Venezuelan Journalist: Center's Media Training 'An Instrument of Democratization'

For Jordan Bracho, editor-in-chief at Telesur TV in Venezuela, attending The Carter Center "Journalism Beyond Print" workshop in August 2009 led to an immediate improvement in his work and allowed him to develop relationships with colleagues that he wouldn't have otherwise been able to in Venezuela's current media environment.

Partisan reporting by Venezuela's media exacerbates the growing chasm between those who support and oppose President Hugo Chavez; The Carter Center recently completed a series of trainings to address the need for a less politicized media.

"The program for strengthening journalism has created a space for safe debate between colleagues in the media, which is where the political battle is carried out in my country," said Bracho. "The training reinforced my beliefs that a good journalist should present reality in as objective a manner as possible, work in the name of the truth, and not shrink away from a complicated story – just the opposite – this makes the story even more valuable and interesting."

By providing technical support to reporters from key media outlets and by engaging opinion leaders on important but politically neutral topics of journalistic professionalism, the Center encourages more responsible, balanced, and accurate reporting. It also promotes dialogue between media professionals from both public and private organizations.

"The workshop I attended led to an immediate change," said Bracho, who previously worked as a photographer and reporter for a newspaper in Panama and the National Assembly Channel in Venezuela. "I have been able to strengthen my stories and add human warmth to my work."

Through its workshops, the Center trained an important group of Venezuelan journalists drawn from a wide variety of organizations, covering critical areas for the practice of the profession such as investigative journalism, techniques for media monitoring, coverage of electoral processes, journalism ethics, and planning and production of multimedia projects. In all, more than 100 journalists attended the workshops from throughout the country.

Journalists often maintained friendships and networks after the workshops they attended; one group has even created a blog to support each other in their dedication to the practice of good journalism in spite of ideological gaps. View the blog >

"I believe that the Carter Center's workshops give us the tools to modernize journalism in Venezuela, which has been held hostage in the hands of a small group for a long time," said Bracho. "It serves as an instrument of democratization for journalism."


Watch a video on the Carter Center's journalism workshops (Spanish):

Jordan Bracho (right) reporting in Venezuela.
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