Jordanian journalist applies digital course lessons and gets results
By Bassam Sebti
When award-winning Jordanian journalist Abeer Abu Touq saw a fallen street sign – on the ground for months in Amman’s famous Jabal Al Hussein shopping district – she decided to take action. She pulled her camera from her bag, took some pictures, and interviewed people about their opinion of the municipality’s neglect.
Al Maani (@mayorofamman) tweeted back, promising the sign would be fixed. In a few days, Abu Touq recalled, it was repaired and up again.
Thanks to ICFJ Anywhere’s online course “Freedom of Expression in the Digital Age,” Abu Touq said, she was able to capture a local issue, expose it to local officials, and see them take action.
“I felt I have done a great thing,” said Abu Touq, who is currently working as head of the “Dialogues” section on Jeeran Amman, a website that specializes in news of the Jordanian capital. She has also worked for other Jordanian news organizations, such as the Ain Jo electronic newspaper, Amman.net and the Urdun Mubdie website.
As part of the digital-age course in 2009, Abu Touq and the other participants learned the skills used in producing multimedia content, including writing and blogging for the Web. They also learned to manage online communities so that they attract constructive, responsible dialogue. And through an exploration of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, participants learned how social networking is now used in news coverage.
“ICFJ Anywhere courses fit the topics on which we are in dire need of training, such as investigative journalism and digital journalism,” said Abu Touq, who had also taken a 2008 ICFJ Anywhere course on investigative journalism.
After graduating from the “Freedom of Expression in the Digital Age” course, Abu Touq was selected to produce short news videos for the website of the Amman-based Radio Al Balad. “This would not have happened, if I hadn’t had the basics of video reporting that I learned in the course,” she said. “It also helped me increase my monthly income!”