Students gain business, economic journalism skills in specialized media course

Twenty-five media graduates celebrated the end of a 125-hour course in business journalism, organized by Birzeit University’s Media Development Center together with the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), in a ceremony held on campus on Wednesday, July 31, 2019.

The three-week course, aimed at fresh media graduates from all Palestinian universities, is part of a series of courses and workshops organized by the media center to equip graduates with the skills needed to succeed in and develop Palestinian news media organizations and to bridge the gap between academic outputs and the job market’s needs. 

Featuring 15 media and business journalism experts from the Media Development Center and other Palestinian media institutions, the course introduced students to print, audiovisual, and digital media production skills and techniques that are relevant to business and economic journalism. 

In his welcoming remarks, President of Birzeit University Abdullatif Abuhijleh emphasized the university’s efforts to develop and advance the Palestinian community and to build the capacities of Palestinians in all academic and professional areas. The university’s 11 institutes and centers, he explained, lead the university’s community engagement efforts, offering courses, workshops, seminars, and programs that meet the needs of the Palestinian community. 

Abdelhadi Yousef, AFESD’s project coordinator, stressed the positive impact of the course on the capacities of media students, saying that such results neatly align with the fund’s aims of developing the capabilities of students across all majors, enabling them to better meet job market needs. 

Mohammad Abu Awad, head of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction, highlighted the need for specialized development programs to advance and invigorate the Palestinian economy. He added that business journalism is needed to keep abreast of local, regional, and international economic developments. 

Nibal Thawabteh, director of the Media Development Center, praised the course’s female student turnout — 22 participants were women — and noted that such a number points to a positive development in specialized media fields in which women traditionally have been underrepresented in Palestine. 

Khalid Saleem, the Media Development Center’s editor who also coordinates the business journalism courses, said that the three-week program focused on three main areas: economic indicators, data journalism, and economic news production. 

Saleem added that the media center cooperated with several business journalism organizations as well as with public relations and communication departments at large financial firms in order to set and calibrate the goals of the course to better fit the needs of the Palestinian job market.