Media Foundation 360 organised a three-day training session on ‘Investigative journalism through public records’ in Larkana on October 26-28, 2017. As many as 11 journalists from various regional and national media groups attended the sessions.
The focus of Day one of the training was mostly to get to know the participants of the training and to gauge the amount of depth and detail required for this particular group.
Majority of the participants filled out the pre-test without exceptional difficulties while our trainers Moayyed Jafri and Shiraz Hasnat guided them wherever they had confusion/difficulty.
The trainees, majority of whom were from local/national print media were trained on how to funnel down a focus area for an Investigative story from a broader story idea.
Mubasher Bukhari took over for this crucial part of the training and explained the concept.
A number of participants were keen on doing stories on sensational political statements, however, they were sensitized to the importance of doing stories with public-strife at their core.
After extensive training on how to formulate the best focus statement and exhaustive tuning of focus statements of every participant, the trainers discussed sources of information which led into the RTI portion of the training.
The participants had very little idea about the RTI Law. They were detailed on the process on how to file an RTI request. More importantly they were trained on the entire hierarchy of the RTI processes and officials and how to most efficiently pursue their RTI requests.
The trainers made sure that every participant understood their rights vis-a-vis public information and government accountability.
Because of the RTI Commission Sindh not established as yet, the trainees did not have any experience of interacting with a PIO. However, they were thrilled with the concept and appeared to be intent on filing RTI requests.
In the last section on Day-One was extended because the participants had very little idea about how to distill information from Data-sets and tables. Therefore, repeated exercises were practiced till the trainers were satisfied that they had put through the concept.
Day two was dedicated to identifying sources for the respective stories of the trainees while some of them needed special attention because they had changed their stories.
The second day focused mostly on the art and methodology of conducting the perfect interview that gets maximum relevant information. Best questioning techniques, improvisation, follow-up questions and all connected concepts were trained in detail by Shiraz and Moayyed, using their extensive professional career examples.
The questions prepared by the participants were scrutinised on the criteria discussed and coached while the entire group worked together punting out flaws and offering corrections. The same was done vis-a-vis follow up questions.
The trainers and the participants revised the topics, discussed on the first and second days. The participants were able to prepare a complete worksheet/story pitch form around the ideas of their respective stories.
In the end, the participants were given the PTT (post training test) to fill out.