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close this bookThe News Media and Humanitarian Action - Trainer's Guide - 1st Edition (Disaster Management Training Programme, 159 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentTrainer’s guide
View the documentThe basics
View the documentThe specifics
Open this folder and view contentsWELCOME, INTRODUCTION AND ICEBREAKERS
Open this folder and view contentsPART 1: COMPLEX EMERGENCIES, HUMANITARIAN ACTION AND THE CRISIS TRIANGLE
Open this folder and view contentsPART 2: ANALYSIS OF MEDIA INFLUENCE AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE INSTITUTIONS OF THE CRISIS TRIANGLE
Open this folder and view contentsPART 3: MEDIA RELATIONS

The basics

Look over all of the material available and try to augment it with items that are “closer to home” for the audience. Related articles from local newspapers and magazines can strengthen the points and increase their relevance for individual participants.

Discussions may diverge from the material presented. This is not necessarily a problem, as long as the discussion covers areas that are of concern to the audience which relate to the main points of the module. Sometimes you can use more narrowly focused discussions or specific examples as links to bring the discussion back to material you still want to present. It will be up to you to decide if the material being covered is of value to the group. Time is always in short supply and should be used to the advantage of all. To make these decisions, you will have to be familiar with the material to know which parts can be left out or covered very quickly with your particular audience.

One technique for balancing participation is to ask all participants to reflect alone for a minute on the discussion questions or exercise assignments prior to sharing responses with the rest of the group of participants.

Make workshop site arrangements

The physical environment of the training can either strengthen or weaken your presentation. When properly attended to, small matters of detail can make a training session run smoothly. The following are a few of these “small matters” which should not be overlooked:


Secure meeting room space that includes a main meeting room that will be large enough for plenary sessions as well as provide adequate space for small group sessions.


Look over the central meeting space and be aware of window and door locations, especially considering room temperature and ventilation.


Identify the location of electrical outlets.


Decide on a room setup arrangement that best facilitates presentation and discussion.


Arrange the screen and projector to allow for exit and entry from the room without disruption of the session.


Test equipment before the presentation.


Set up stands and flip charts in each of the small group breakout areas that will be utilized.

Gather and prepare materials


If you intend to use a flip chart for presentations or for group exercises, be sure to have an adequate supply of stands, paper and markers. Make sure the markers are in good working order and that each stand is stable.


Bring tape and pins if you need to attach sheets to a wall.


Make sure you have a blackboard and chalk or appropriate markers for a white board if you do not intend to use a flip chart for plenary sessions.


Make sure you have a screen and overhead projector available with extra light bulbs and extension cords, if necessary.


Bring name tags for all participants, sufficient copies of handouts you intend to use, paper and pencils.

Background on adult learning

The participants in this training session are your colleagues and you have much to learn from each other. Just as you bring knowledge and expertise, they too bring many life and work experiences that may provide helpful examples and insightful perspectives to the workshop materials. The more traditional didactic manner of education will not always be the best method to use. Consider the following points as you plan your presentation:


Participants will learn the material better if they can relate it to personal experience or to daily-use application.


As your colleagues, the participants will be more interested in the session if they can actively participate rather than simply listen.


As adults, the participants are responsible for their own learning, and should be encouraged to ask questions that will provide them with what they really need to know.


The learning objectives of the session should be defined at the outset.


Be flexible, but remember to cover the main points of the session.


Remember that people vary in their preferred styles and methods for learning. A variety of educational formats and activities is more likely to meet the diverse needs of participants.

Training materials


Plenty of flip chart paper and markers


Current newspapers (bring in a variety of newspapers; international, national, local)


Video clips of television news coverage, news talk shows, and “hour news shows” (preferably on topics related to humanitarian assistance, complex emergencies, relief, etc.)


Taped radio news broadcasts (international radio news broadcasts and local news broadcasts)


Video camera to tape “mock interviews”


Training module and trainer’s guide

Small group exercises

Dividing participants into small groups introduces diversity into the training process, facilitates the development of relationships among participants and creates opportunities for them to learn from each other. This trainer’s guide contains many exercises and questions which lend themselves to small group discussion and analysis. Some of the basic types of activities recommended in this module series include:

Example 1

Divide into smaller groups and assign a short question or case study. Have groups identify issues pertinent to the session topic and have them compile by consensus a list of their conclusions. Ask that one of the group members be the reporter who will then present the group’s findings back to all participants. For example, in Part 2 there are six case studies which can be assigned to smaller groups for analysis. Use the case study questions provided in this trainer’s guide to focus the small group discussion. Or, you might split participants into three groups and ask them to identify the interests, priorities, responses and limitations of the “crisis triangle” institutions: the news media, government policymakers and humanitarian organizations.

Example 2

Pose a general question to the whole group and then “brainstorm” answers using a flip chart or an overhead projector to record the results. You may then identify categories of responses which deserve closer analysis in a smaller group. For example, you may ask the larger group to brainstorm the implications of the news media on the interests and operations of humanitarian organizations, in general, or on their agency, in particular. Once these have been identified, you could break into smaller working groups to deal more closely with each of the main issues identified. Again, refer to the trainer’s guide for overhead material, discussion questions and suggested exercises.

Example 3

Work up a possible scenario that might occur in the participants’ day-to-day activities. Have the group break into subgroups which will take on the role of the agencies or individuals responsible for different aspects of the scenario; have them work through the issues in this way. For example, you may ask participants to play the role of newspaper editors. Give them a list of ten competing news stories and ask them to apply the criteria for determining news value as presented in Chapter 4. As editors, they are then responsible for prioritizing the top three stories and defending why these are the “top stories.” (This trainer’s guide contains overheads for this particular role play.)

The process of utilizing small group breakout sessions requires the leader to provide dear instructions regarding small group tasks and to frequently check on progress as the groups are meeting. Suggested amounts of time required for groups to consider the topic or issue they are to address are included in this guide. Without guidance and some time limits on reports, the process can be time consuming and reporting back can become tedious and repetitious. When small groups report back, one method to control the reporting is to ask for one example, one point, or only the major points from each group rather than a full report of their discussion. It is, therefore, important to monitor the effectiveness of this process and not overutilize it.

Beginning the workshop

It is important to start the session with enthusiasm, to generate interest and involvement from the beginning. Introduce yourself and the topic of the day. You may then want to facilitate a quick icebreaker to introduce participants to each other and to make them comfortable in their surroundings. Participants also need to be quickly prompted to take an active role in the training. Two icebreaker activities are proposed in the introduction overheads.

After the icebreaker, you may want to say something about why the topic is of special interest or particular concern to you. You could offer an example of the importance of the news media in humanitarian action. You may give a specific example of how news media coverage has influenced humanitarian action or humanitarian agency operations and then solicit two or three other specific examples from the group. After this, quickly move into instruction; ideally, the simulation will be the next activity.