by Deborah Mesce, program director, International Media Training
Twelve women journalists from around the developing world came to Washington, DC last month to join PRB’s global media network called Women’s Edition and participate in their first seminar. They traveled from Africa, South Asia, Eurasia, the Middle East, and Central America. I always look forward to these Women’s Edition gatherings, but especially the first one for a new group. That’s when I can finally put faces to names and CVs, and it’s when the dynamics of the group become clear: Will they be talkative or reticent? Will they get along? Will they have interesting stories to share? Will they find the seminar informative? The content of the seminars can be as important as the quality and enthusiasm of the journalists, and this new group didn’t disappoint. They were lively, interesting, and curious, and they didn’t hesitate to ask questions or to offer their opinions.
Deborah Mesce (standing), greets journalists on the first day of the Women’s Edition seminar. Photo credit: ©Eric Zuehlke/PRB
For those who don’t know about Women’s Edition, it’s a unique project that USAID has funded for 10 years aimed at increasing the quality and quantity of news covering reproductive health issues. The new group brings the total of journalists who have participated in the network to nearly 60. Every two years, PRB sifts through scores of applications and selects 10 to 12 women with senior-level positions at influential news organizations in developing countries. They attend four seminars, about six months apart, on different aspects of reproductive health; when they return home, they produce for their news organizations stories about the seminar topic in the context of their own countries.
We hold a group’s first seminar in Washington, DC and focus on the basics of family planning and maternal health, but the other seminars can be anywhere else, consistent with the theme of the seminar and, of course, financial resources. For example, last May we took the previous Women’s Edition group to