The US Embassy and the Guyana Press Association (GPA) are collaborating on a training session for new and aspiring journalists, aimed at teaching them the basic skills needed to accurately and objectively report news and events.
Professor Hampden H Smith III, of Washington and Lee University, will be conducting a two-day workshop on Friday, October 7 and Saturday, October 8, at the Georgetown Club.
The workshop will cover issues such as the components of a good news story, how to conduct interviews, how to research background information, how to report objectively, and how to conduct investigative reporting, the US Embassy said in a statement.
Smith will also provide information about which material is appropriate for release, utilising writing resources, and online journalism.
Books on media law and independent journalism will be provided to participants.
“The programme will serve to provide inexperienced reporters in Guyana with the skills to accurately and objectively report news and events,” the Embassy said. “This will help to better inform the voting public and will strengthen accountability for public figures. It will also provide young Guyanese with marketable job skills,” it added.
The GPA, in a statement, welcomed Smith and encouraged media houses to support the initiative by allowing reporters the necessary time off to attend the sessions.
The sessions will run from 10 am to 12:30 pm and from 1:30pm to 4pm on both days.
GPA noted that many reporters may have also benefited from training conducted by Canadian Journalist and Consultant Nick Fillmore in March. The GPA said it had organised the session with the Association of Caribbean Media Workers. “This new training programme will only build on that and offer even more perspectives,” it added.
According to the US Embassy, Smith has been a journalist – as reporter, editor, consultant and teacher – for more than 40 years and he holds a Bachelor of Arts from Randolph-Macon College and a Master of Arts from Boston University.
He has held three Fulbright lectureships in journalism ethics and practice, at Moscow State University in 1992, the American University of Bulgaria in 1998-9 and the University of Tirana, Albania in 2004.
He was also a member of the committee that developed new accreditation standards implemented by the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
Smith is also a trustee of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and is a recipient of the George Mason Award for service to Virginia journalism from the Richmond Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2003.