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Global Corporate Governance Forum

Practitioners Meet in Vienna to Plan Roll-out of Media Training Guide


 

Journalists, media development organizations, IFC and Private Sector Advisory Group(PSAG) members gathered in Vienna in June 2012 to discuss the Forum’s strategy for strengthening media reporting of corporate governance issues.

 

Business journalists need to understand how modern companies are directed and controlled, the conditions necessary for their success, and the challenges and issues they confront. Since launching the Media Training Program in 2007, the Forum has conducted training for journalists in emerging markets and developing countries worldwide. For most of these workshops, the Forum worked with partners such as IFC, Thomson Reuters Foundation and Agence France-Presse Foundation.

 

Based on this experience, the Forum joined forces with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) to produce Who’s Running the Company? A Guide to Reporting on Corporate Governance.  This publication covers key corporate governance topics and provides case studies on investigative journalism. These topics include the media’s role as a watchdog; how the board functions; what constitutes good practice; what financial reports reveal; what role shareholders play; and how to track down and use information to shed light on a company’s inner workings. Each chapter helps journalists acquire the knowledge and skills needed to recognize potential stories in the companies they cover, dig out the essential facts, interpret their findings, and write clear, compelling stories.  (The guide to be available for free download at our website shortly.)

 

The guide was very positively received by the workshop participants. “This is a great resource that we will include it all our courses on business journalism,” said Corina Cepoi, Director of the Chisinau Schools of Advanced Journalism.

Over two days, participants discussed ways media training organizations can utilize the Guide and introduce segments on corporate governance into their training programs on business and financial reporting. They also advised the Forum on how it could utilize partnerships to further expand the reach and impact of its media training workshops. PSAG members Peter Montagnon, Senior Investment Advisor, Financial Reporting Council, and John Plender, Lead Writer for the Financial Times, led the discussions.

 

“It was an excellent opportunity to discuss common issues and challenges we face in equipping the media with the necessary tools for quality — objective, balanced, factual – business reporting,” said Roukaya Kasenally, Director of Communications and Knowledge Management for the Africa Media Initiative. 

  

Participants emphasized that building a sustainable media training program requires targeting the right business journalists for training, motivating business journalists to write quality articles about corporate governance after the training, reaching out to media leadership to support the trained journalists’ work, and establishing long-term engagements to support business journalism. During the meeting, the Forum outlined several potential partnerships with leading media support organizations to address these needs. The objective is to reach a much broader media audience, build regional and country-level ownership of the training activities, and develop sustainable networks of reporters interested in covering corporate governance issues. 

 

The initial steps forward include translating the Guide into French in partnership with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and AFP. With its partners, the Forum will localize the guide with case studies and use online tools to build effective collaboration and long term support to journalists.

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