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EJC Bolivian Partner Announces Local Winners of WAN-IFRA “My Dream Interview” Competition

31 August 2012 | PROJECT NEWS


In early July, newspaper readers across Bolivia encountered a new take on the standard journalism interview. Published in the pages of 12 of the most respected print media in the country were interviews developed and carried out by students between the ages of 11 and 14. Among those interviewed were the Bolivian president, a gay rights activist, former boxer, and a catholic priest. Organized by the Fundacion para el Periodismo (FPP), the only criteria students had to follow was that the interview had to be a person that they felt has contributed significantly to the building of Bolivian society through hard work. 

Part of the world-wide competition “My Dream Interview Festival”, the program is supported at the global level by Fundación Acindar as part of its 50th anniversary observance and conducted in cooperation with WAN-IFRA’s World Editors Forum

The Bolivian adaptation included teacher-led student teams from 11 participating schools selected from over 75 submissions by a jury consisting of FPP reps and local journalists. A strong motivating factor was guaranteed visibility for the story on the highly visited FPP website but also the possibility in Bolivian print media where in fact all stories were picked up by national and local media for publication.  

FPP received recognition from the Bolivian Education Commission of the Chamber of Deputies for its overall contribution toward education through the program. The WAN-IFRA international selection committee awarded FPP special mention for its successful efforts in securing publication in 12 leading newspapers as well as for arranging interviews for a group of students with the Bolivian President, Evo Morales who confessed in the interview that as a young boy his first impulse was to study journalism. 

“We wanted to do two things with this project,” said Aralynn McMane, Executive Director of Young Readership Development at WAN-IFRA. “Most important was to offer a fun way to introduce youth to the practice of professional journalism, as only newspapers can provide. But it was also a way to encourage newspapers to work closely with, and listen to, young people. From the reactions of teachers, students and newspaper people worldwide, we know that both missions were accomplished. Put another way, the contest results simply offer great frosting for a cake that is already very, very satisfying.”Other published interviews included boxer Walter “Tataque” Quisbert, the mayor of La Paz, Luis Revilla, gay rights activist Maria Galindo, and singer Emma Junaro. 

“We are extremely impressed with the high level of interest and enthusiasm for the program and motivation shown among Bolivian students and teachers” said Renan Estenssoro, director of FPP in La Paz. “I see this as an initial step toward further education for young people in Bolivia to become sophisticated consumers of media and understanding the important and central role played by the journalist.”

Participants in the competition—teachers as well as students—reported that their experience opened new opportunities for more interactive and practical teaching methods. “The competition was a great and original idea, because it helps to know and meet the person we have always admired,” said one of the winners of the contest, Gonzalo Fernandez, a student at Ave Maria school of the city of La Paz. 

Part of the EJC’s five-year Netherlands Foreign Ministry funded project Press Freedom 2.0., the “My Dream interview Festival” in Bolivia is the first collaboration among EJC, FPP and WAN-IFRA that targets youth and issues of media literacy.For more information please contact EJC Project Manager Marjan Tillmans.

Bolivia: Press Freedom, Journalism Training, and Media Literacy
The EJC is engaged in three different media projects, each of them aiming to bring change to Bolivia’s media environment. Focusing on press freedom, mainly through the protection of journalists’ rights and media ethics, journalism training, and media literacy, the projects are designed to answer the needs and expectations of both media professionals and civil society activists in the country.

MFSII - Press Freedom 2.0
A five-year, international media development initiative, Press Freedom 2.0 aims to support democratic development by empowering civil society, citizens, and local media organisations through the implementation of local media projects. Conducted by a Dutch consortium, the Press Freedom initiative offers a range of trainings and activities specifically tailored to the needs of 11 selected countries.