On Wednesday the 12th of October, all the members of the team as well as the translation team attended a press conference aimed at “Young reporters at the UN”. It consisted of advice and explanations given by professional journalists to help us young journalists participate in press conferences: some tips for writing an article, what sort of questions we could ask, amongst other useful things. This information will help us during the two subsequent press conferences we will attend this year. Three journalists spoke. First, we listened to Gunilla von Hall, the Genevan correspondent for a Swedish newspaper. Gunilla is often on the move, she writes about all conflicts involving the UN and she is currently in the field, in the heart of the action. Notably, she has been to Iraq, Columbia, Rwanda, Iran and Greece. She covers mostly terrorism, refugees and war. For her, a good journalist must always maintain a certain distance from what they witness, and must not be too personally involved.
Next, Laurent Sierro, UN correspondent for Swiss Telegraphic Agency took over. The purpose of a press agency is to publish raw information as fast as possible so different media can then publish it. But with the rise of the internet, every second counts and they have to be as quick as possible when releasing news. Verifying the accuracy of swiftly changing information has become a priority for them. For our press conferences, Laurent recommends we remain critical, and to check all information provided.
Finally, El Hadji Gorgui Wade Ndoye spoke. He created his own newspaper in Africa, called “Continent Premier”: he is at the same time journalist, editor-in-chief and the head of publishing. According to him, his mission is to show the world a different side of Africa, not the one we all know with AIDS, famine, etc. He wants the world to understand that Africa is not a country, but a continent made up of a multitude of culturally rich societies (54 countries). For him, a journalist must be free to write what they think, they must “be as objective as possible in expressing their subjectivity”.
Finally, we were able to ask questions to these journalists, who have all marked us a great deal. It emerged that a good journalist must always check their sources and that they must search within the superficial to find what is essential. The next press conference will focus on “Sport for Development and Social Cohesion”: it is time for us to read up on the subject to be able to ask relevant questions!
Translation: James Cradden