Skopje: New Courses in Journalism and Public Relations
The newly-inaugurated UNESCO Chair in Media, Dialogue, and Mutual Understanding at the School of Journalism and Public Relations in Skopje gave its first courses for public relations (PR) and journalism professionals from 11-12 July and 14-15 July 2011, respectively. These courses sought to foster effective intercultural communication and to promote inclusive and interactive journalism. The UNESCO Chair in Media, Dialogue, and Mutual Understanding was launched as one of the key initiatives of the UN Joint Programme “Enhancing Inter-Ethnic Community Dialogue and Collaboration”, which was established in July 2009 to promote diversity, tolerance, and democratic coexistence.
The implementing organizations UNDP, UNESCO and UNICEF identified media as a crucial factor in overcoming prejudices and discrimination in the country’s society. A partnership with the School of Journalism and Public Relations was established to strengthen the links between media and higher education and to empower future and present media professionals. “These courses for journalists and PR professionals”, says Zojka Naskova, UNESCO National Professional Officer in The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, “are among the first activities of the UNESCO Chair and we are excited to provide high-quality hands-on trainings that can support social cohesion and a pluralistic democracy”.
The two-day course for PR professionals began with a round table of senior PR experts who discussed the role of public relations in the context of international and intercultural communication, including the use of innovative communication tools. This round table was followed up with a workshop for junior professionals who collaborated to craft a strategy for effective PR communication in multiethnic societies. Emphasis was given to public relations as an engine for open dialogue and mutual understanding.
The subsequent course for journalists focused on the issues of diversity reporting, interactive media, and civic journalism. Again, the two-day course followed a hands-on approach including working sessions to generate ideas for new media content and products spanning from print and photography to radio and television. At the heart of the course was the question of how journalists can work with a better understanding and awareness of ethnic, religious, and cultural differences.
These courses contribute to the professionalization of the country’s media education. They are just one of the various activities foreseen by the UNESCO Chair for the next months, among them, the development of new curricula for postgraduate studies, the launch of an online platform for knowledge-sharing among journalists, and the building of a network on inclusive reporting and peace journalism. Recognizing the importance of these initiatives to contribute to interethnic cohesion and social progress, UNESCO looks forward to continue its technical support under the Joint Programme.
The MDG-F Joint Programme on “Enhancing Inter-Ethnic Community Dialogue and Collaboration” in The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is a three-year programme financed by the Spanish Fund for the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG-F). It is jointly implemented by the three UN agencies UNDP, UNESCO, and UNICEF.
UNESCO Chair in Media, Dialogue, and Mutual Understanding
School of Journalism and Public Relations
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