Part of InternewsNext, a series highlighting 30 youth-led media initiatives.
In 2009, more than a year before the Arab Spring, Internews began Citizen Journalist, a project for a group of young, newly graduated journalists in the West Bank and Gaza. Ten young men and ten young women were trained in multimedia production and the use of blogs and social media in reporting.
In Gaza, the youth found they had less and less space to voice their concerns. The defacto government shut down the main youth organization in Gaza and arrested bloggers and Facebook activists. With no other means of expression, the Citizen Journalist program became the outlet for telling their stories.
With the support of Internews, the trainees formed a club and began to report, not on politics but on the social issues affecting their daily lives. Their stories were picked up and broadcast by radio and TV stations in the West Bank and in the region.
Two of the young female journalists became the reporters from Gaza for a women’s radio station, Nisa’a FM in Ramallah. Another was asked to report for a Japanese TV station.
The program was so popular that Internews repeated it again in 2011 with a new group of young graduates, using members of the first group as training assistants. This new group, which is 90% young women, has been equally active and has created news reports and Public Service Announcements on pressing social and safety issues in Gaza.
“The most interesting part of this training is that it is a hands-on training, I have never produced any video report. Thanks to Internews, I am able to write for TV reports, film and edit my report. I am very proud of myself,” said Maram Al Musaddar, a young journalist trainee.
Internews has reached an agreement with the recently launched Palestine Youth Radio to create, produce, and broadcast their own programs – for youth and by youth. The young journalists trained by Internews have been allotted their own program time slots by the station and Internews will now be working with them to design their radio productions.
The Facebook page Citizen Journalist-صحافة المواطن - Internews Network has grown in popularity as this young group of journalists also began to advocate for the recognition and professional treatment of young journalists. The page now has members not only from the West Bank and Gaza but also from Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt as well as countries outside the region.
Internews’ work in the West Bank and Gaza is supported by USAID.