Local TV producer trains journalists worldwide

November 10, 2012
Libya, Syria, Lebanon top list of assignments

(This article on newsnet5.com is a profile of Internews journalism trainer Carolyn Robinson.)

Cleveland - Her current United States passport has had extra pages added four separate times. It is filled with colorful visa stamps from countries around the world. Many are places most Americans would avoid.

But Carolyn Robinson has made a career of visiting and working in far-flung and exotic locales. And as a media trainer she has helped to spread the concepts of a free and fair press in nations where such freedom has traditionally been limited.

"There's basically three large American media development organizations that train journalists around the world. Internews , the International Center for Journalists and another group called IREX ," said Robinson. "I've worked with all three of them on different projects. Some through the State Department or U.S. Aid -- some private foundations that give money for this cause."

The list of Robinson's assignments - and passport stamps - rivals that of fictional secret agent, James Bond: Libya, Syria, Russia, Indonesia, Lebanon, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Jordan, East Timor, Tunisia, Qatar, The West Bank and Albania are just some of the places Robinson has taught news reporting and broadcast television production.

In early 2012, Robinson was in Libya as factions inside the country struggled for power after the downfall of long-time Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. She spent time in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, working to train new journalists.

Robinson showed NewsChannel5 personal cell phone video of heavily armed militia members on the Libyan roadways. She said the later attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi did not come as surprise to her, considering the readily available armament and unstable nature of the various militia groups.

In 2005, Robinson said she worked in Damascus, Syria - again teaching basic journalism principles to untrained but eager students.

"I wonder all the time about the journalists I trained in Syria," sighed Robinson. "Because I'm sure... a lot of them are facing difficulties if they are even still with us," she continued, in reference to the civil war currently ravaging the Middle Eastern nation.