Today, WAN-IFRA Women in News’ Leadership Accelerator programme was launched for the fifth consecutive year in the Arab region. 27 Egyptian women journalists – the largest number from a single country – kicked off activities with the Media Management Training. Created in partnership with the American University in Cairo (AUC) the training was offered online for the first-time in the programme’s history.
Historically, the training was delivered annually at the American University in Cairo and brought together approximately 30 women journalists from across Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Palestine. This year, due to the expansion of the programme and the large number of applicants, the methodology has been designed to be delivered on an individual country basis.. Furthermore, the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in the training being offered virtually. Similar trainings will be organized in other countries in the region respectively throughout the year 2020.
“Despite the current circumstances, we received the highest number of applicants for the Leadership Accelerator’s programme from Egypt this year, resulting in the largest group attending the Media Management Training from a single country. This year is especially significant as it is the first time we are offering the training online. This is to show our insistence on delivering the training despite the circumstances,” said Fatemah Farag, Director, Arab Region, Women in News.
Dina Wafa, Director of The School of Global Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP) at the American University in Cairo, said that media, communication, and gender-related programmes represent a significant portion of the school’s capacity building programmes. “The AUC GAPP Executive Education has been collaborating with the Women in News Leadership Accelerator programme since 2016 in delivering the Media Management Certificate. The programme is designed to provide capacity building for mid-career women leader journalists in the MENA region in Arabic,” said Dina Wafa.
“Teaching and capacity building institutions worldwide have converted to remote teaching methods. AUC was also quick to do so. Many also believe that the current events may have a long-lasting impact on future methods of delivery. Therefore, at AUC we now encourage developing online resources as opposed to simple remote resources. Developing the annual MMC into a full-fledged online programme will help us reach more women across the region,” Wafa added.
Journalists who are attending the training work in more than 17 Egyptian media organisations and will attend the 10-day training from 1 June to 11 June, 2020. The training is provided by a group of qualified trainers and instructors from the AUC who have expertise in areas including: media management, media laws, human resources, data analysis, gender balance in news content, dealing with sexual harassment in newsrooms, financial management, and management and leadership.
"I expect that the training programme will help me build my plan for administrative progress and help me improve my work in the short and long terms. I also look forward to increasing my skills when it comes to managing newsrooms," said Salwa Al Zoghbi, a journalist at Al-Watan newspaper. "I expect that, by attending this training, I will build my capacities to create a new and innovative media platform and to know how to successfully manage the project," said journalist Madeleine Matar from Watani newspaper.
In conclusion, Farag said: “Running this fifth round of training within the context of COVID-19 gives it added relevance and value. Media companies across the board are grappling in real-time with the challenges of a failing advertising model, incomplete digitisation, and the need for innovation and new workflows. The working conditions of all journalists and specifically women professionals have come into high relief. The Leadership Accelerator offers the 2020 WINers timely, professional intense training imparting skills that will not only make them more capable but will also give them an added opportunity to lead the change that is upon us.”
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