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Knight Center to train Venezuelan journalists in electoral coverage

With the next parliamentary elections in Venezuela coming up this September, the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas is offering a special online course for Venezuelan journalists. The course is being offered in partnership with the Carter Center and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with additional support from the government of Canada.

The free course, “Electoral Coverage and Democracy,” taught by renown Colombian journalist and instructor Maria Teresa Ronderos, will run June 28-Aug. 11, 2010. The deadline to apply was extended until June 9 (5 pm, Austin, Texas). There are 40 places available for journalists.

For more information about this training opportunity, see the Course Information Sheet.

“We are very happy with our partnership with the Carter Center and the UNDP. Both organizations have been very active in Venezuela in the last years and are giving an invaluable help to the Knight Center to offer its first program ever exclusively designed for Venezuelan journalists,” said the Knight Center’s director, professor Rosental Alves. “This course has already benefited many journalists covering elections in other parts of Latin America and has always been highly evaluated by the students. Now, it has been redesigned, updated and improved to focus on Venezuela.”

Previsouly, Ronderos has said of the course, “I believe this course in electoral coverage will give participants a variety of instruments to make their work during the campaigns more original, more investigative, more bold, and really more useful for the citizen.”

In addition to the online lessons and discussion forums, this course also will include face-to-face sessions in Caracas. Prior to the course, Ronderos will give a keynote conference followed by a panel of Venezuelan experts, on June 25 in Caracas, in an event organized by the Carter Center.

Also, course participants will attend a workshop Aug. 11-12 at the end of the course.

The course is aimed at helping journalists better understand how to cover elections for citizens (not politicians), how to contribute to the freedom and legitimacy of elections, how to help voters understand candidates’ agendas, and how to use polls properly.

The instructor, Ronderos, is director of Semana.com and president of Colombia's Freedom of the Press Foundation (FLIP).

Electoral Coverage and Democracy is one of several courses offered in Spanish by the Knight Center as part of its distance education program, which also offers courses in English and Portuguese.

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin was launched in 2002 by professor Rosental Calmon Alves. Thanks to generous grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the center has assisted thousands of journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean. For more information, contact the Knight Center’s program manager, Jennifer Potter-Miller at jpotterandreu at mail.utexas.edu or +1 512 471-1391.