The Broadcasting Board of Governors’ Office of Strategy and Development worked closely this October with the American Embassies in Costa Rica and Nicaragua to develop a training program for reporters and editors from print, radio, and television networks with an emphasis on ethics and investigative journalism. Designed to address the challenges and responsibilities journalists must face in today’s crowded media environment, the training also focused on the incorporation and implementation of new technological tools and platforms.
One of the main topics discussed with the participants was the importance of strengthening capacity and promoting responsibility in the work as a journalist, as well as evaluating traditional journalistic concepts such as ethical standards of conduct, use and protection of sources, and balance and accuracy within the framework of new multimedia platforms including webcasting, television, radio, social media, and blogs.
The training took place at the headquarters of the Costa Rican Colegio De Periodistas de Costa Rica’s National Journalism Center, which also provided audiovisual equipment and subject-matter experts. Colegio President José Rodolfo Ibarra formally opened the training and welcomed all participants. Daniel Baldizon Chaverri, Special Senior Advisor to the Costa Rican President Mrs. Laura Chinchilla, provided a very important on-the-spot one-hour session to discuss journalistic protocols while attending Presidential press conferences, as well as his vision for the discussion of critical national issues and media responsibilities.
Participant feedback gathered though exit surveys was highly positive, particularly concerning the importance of considering ethical issues as an essential part of the reporter’s professional life. Paramount to the training were two sessions on copyrights, the challenges and obstacles when using unauthorized material, and the potential damages to the media entity and the reporter’s professional image before the audience.
The participants’ responses indicated a strong desire for continued training with affiliate stations, particularly on issues pertaining to ethics, web news, new media, dealing with intimidation from official sources, branding, copyrights, and political/social reporting.