Workshop 1:  Human interest reporting.  Ethics in journalism and international standards of journalism. The following topics were addressed during the 3 days of work:  How to use freedom of speech.   Independent mass media – what does it mean and what does it depend upon?  International journalistic standards.  What is a documentary?  Where does one collect material for a documentary?  Limits of free speech – rights and ethics in journalism.  Newspapers as guardians of the law and defenders of the rights of the average citizen. 

Workshop 2:  Human interest stories.  How to write articles that encourage readers to solve local problems. Interventionary journalism.   During the 3 days of work the following topics were addressed:  Basic principles.  Readers as a source of information.  Letters to the editor.  Topics, ideas and sources of information.  Obtaining and verifying sources.  How to write a story after following your leads.  Descriptions of people and places.  Series of articles.  Ethics of intervention:  who are we working for and why are we intervening? 

This topic was of particular interest especially in a climate of such limited free speech, where interventions de facto become investigative journalism.

Workshop 3:  Press photography and advertisement in the mass media.  The focus of the 4 days of work was:  what is the difference between regular photography and press photography?  Technical details of a “good” press photo.  What are the subjects of press photos?  Photo documentaries.  Pictures of people and events.  “Layout”.  Public relations as a means of increasing readership and paid advertisement. 

The resulting photo exhibit showed real progress in the quality and topics, so much so that several could pass as professional.  Participants shared their knowledge with the staff at their local newspapers or radio stations thereby multiplying the beneficiaries of the course.   A competition for the best human interest story and best photo documentary was organized by AYLA and prizes were awarded.


  • 59 newly trained regional journalists
  • 11 articles and 23 photographs submitted to the competition
  • A photo exhibit which also contained the 3 best articles and the 3 best photo documentaries
  • A raised interest in readership in publications, noted at, in phone calls to the editors, to the Ganja Media Center as well as in public discussions on controversial topics as introduced by the journalists
  • A positive reaction by local authorities to the report on the abandoned city park.
  • 300 beneficiaries who learned about professional journalism from their peers
  • 10,000 individuals who experienced renewed interest in reading the local press and watching their local television.

We had the unexpected opportunity to invite NGO representatives to participate in the workshops which allowed both sides to examine the factors which make cooperation between the third sector and the media difficult.  It is a first step in the normalization of their relationship and towards resolving their differences.

On our behalf and that of our partner AYLA, we would like to thank the Polish-American Freedom Foundation and the Foundation of Education for Democracy which administers the RITA program for their support of free speech and strengthening the role of the media in Azerbaijan.