Over 50 hours of live seminars, 92 participants representing major news agencies from countries including Brazil, Spain, India, Mexico, the Caribbean, and CNN staff from across the world were brought together virtually for the CNN Academy’s Post-Pandemic Journalism Course, June 21-25, 2021.
The intensive week long virtual training course gave participants access to discuss and learn from senior directors, news anchors and correspondents across the CNN team. We participated in live seminars, breakout sessions with course participants, live discussions, we asked questions, received feedback and heard from CNN experts on how they operated a newsroom during a pandemic.
Live seminars ranged from news gathering workflows, open-source reporting, social verification, audience and consumption trends, digital and broadcasting programming, technical workflows, media consumption trends, reporting from the field, and post-pandemic media landscape. It was such an insightful, inspiring and educational experience for me to hear and learn from these world-class creative professionals as well as the journalistic voices of this generation.
I was extremely impressed by the enthusiasm and passion of my fellow course participants, the questions they asked and conversations held to help them ensure they can continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic as journalists as well as anticipate the highs and lows of post-pandemic journalism. I was pleased to see how we were all presented with unique challenges, but having this platform assured us we can overcome them. It’s important to also note that for someone who loves to travel, I did not have to pack a suitcase, nor leave the comfort of my home, and still had the opportunity to meet so many people from across the world in one week.
My biggest takeaway was as journalists, we are still invaluable players in how stories get told, and for journalists, the COVID-19 pandemic remains an unprecedented news story. COVID-19 is one of the worst crises to hit our world in generations and it has changed human lives, the global economy and efforts are being made every day to stop the spread of this virus. Misinformation, disinformation and rumors are spread far and wide, and as journalists, we have a responsibility to ensure fair, accurate, and verifiable reporting of information. It is important to ensure that news is right, not always first. The public’s trust in the media is on the line more than ever and it is important to constantly equip ourselves with the tools and information to do our jobs effectively. In addition, the ever-changing world that we live in calls for us to examine closely the role we play as media as well as the new, innovate ways we must adopt for our audience.
The highlight of the training session for me was Thursday’s Technical Workflows session with CNN Supervising television Photojournalist, Christian Streib. The interactive and engaging session focused on practical advice to support journalists as they navigate working from home. He gave us insight into his transition from the office to home, the importance of innovation and creativity, and the importance of taking breaks. With strong filming, editing and organizational skills, Christian spoke on how he was able to get his family and colleagues suited for reporting live from their homes and how collaboration is key to performing better. My favorite part of the session was course participants getting a quick makeover of their own home/remote work setup. I was one of the few participants chosen for the makeover where he looked at my work space and found simple ways to enhance the look should I be required to join Zoom calls, press conferences or go live for reporting.
The week-long course was intensive, fast-paced, but I am grateful that I was able to be a part of such an amazing experience. Thanks to the CNN Academy team, my News Director, April Cummings and Management of Radio Cayman for the opportunity.