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Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 04:58 pm

ARMENIA CONNECTION

Illinois Times helped to sponsor a week-long workshop for 14 early-career reporters in Armenia, an emerging democracy and former Soviet state that is nestled between Turkey, Iran, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

The intensive workshop, held last week, aims to develop political and economic reporting skills and contains ethics components focusing on fairness and accuracy. Armenia’s independent media, though plentiful, have had to work hard to develop a base of balanced, insightful coverage to match the country’s democratic aspirations. Journalists labor under poor pay conditions; most are driven by a calling to the profession and little else.

Armenia boasts a highly educated workforce but has struggled to develop economically since independence in 1991 due to lack of competitive industry and infrastructure and an unresolved border conflict with Azerbaijan.

With support from IT, the workshop was organized and cosponsored by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the Media Initiatives Center. Thomas Atkins, who worked as an IT writer from 1988-89 and again in 1993, led the workshop. He now works as a full-time journalism trainer for Reuters News in Europe and the Middle East.
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