The Justice for All in Albania project (JfA) continued its important work with the University of Tirana Department of Journalism (UT DoJ) to strengthen the teaching of journalistic skills in Albania and further strengthen the capacities of the country’s future journalists, with a particular focus on court and crime-related topics.
Twelve faculty members and more than 70 journalism students benefited from three ToTs and eight training sessions focused on the topics of investigative reporting, data journalism, fact-checking, investigating financial crimes, and reporting on organized crime. Moreover, 16 students attended and accomplished a 14-week online course on court and crime reporting, which was developed with JfA support. In total, the Project organized 23 training and workshop days for UT DoJ during the 2019-2020 academic year. A separate ToT for UT DoJ faculty members focused on building the capacities of full-time lecturers and guest lecturers in the Department, including in relation to teaching methodologies for investigative journalism and the finalization of syllabi and course materials. The faculty members will use the skills gained to implement a master’s program in investigative journalism, which is being established at UT DoJ with the support of the Project. The workshop sessions with journalism students (called investigative clinics) were focused on equipping the students with the practical skills need to conduct investigations and simulating a ‘day in the life of an investigative journalist.’ Students had the chance to work in groups, complete practical work, pursue investigative stories, draft investigative stories for publication, and present their ideas to their professors and peers and receive constructive feedback.
The Head of the Department of Journalism, Mark Marku, expressed his appreciation for the support provided by JfA by assessing the quality of these trainings as excellent and very helpful for UT DoJ faculty. Students also expressed gratitude for the quality of the practical knowledge and skills they gained during these trainings. “Teaching methods used by the experts and trainers were very interesting. I really appreciated the fact that most of the case studies that they used in the workshop were from their real work experiences” (student, third year Bachelor).
All of the capacity building activities organized at UT DoJ during the past academic year helped introduce a new approach to teaching in the Department, which now has the knowledge and skills to focus on practical skills and student-centered learning.