After earning a certificate in Mobile Journalism and Digital Storytelling, a United Nations public information officer posted the following.
This was a fantastic course. I discovered that with the right technique and gear one can make high quality, low budget short films complete with soundtrack and text using a simple free app. Thanks @robbmontgomery for illuminating us. Happy Filming ! pic.twitter.com/jVsa6LEfnQ
— Jihed Ghannem (@JGhannem) December 21, 2018
I was hired by the United Nations to lead their Public Information officers in 26 countries in a 6-week online course in Digital Storytelling methods. Read the Syllabus.
The call came out of the blue from Manhattan, and later I learned that I had been referred to them by the dean of a top US journalism school — a mysterious ‘someone’ who has been in cryptic contact with me ever since we launched the Smart Film School project. Maybe one day I will meet the fine professor and thank him personally for this amazing opportunity.
I am no stranger to working for NGOs and delivering mobile journalism training. I have made years of media development work before with IREX and USAID.
(I designed and delivered loads of video journalism courses in Cairo and Tbilisi and even designed the first journalism school studio built entirely around Mobile Journalism.)
But . . . The UN is unlike any other outfit.
They do a lot of vetting before approving you to work with their staff. After a month or so, I finally got a call from New York City confirming that my instructor-led training program was chosen as the top course.
Typically, the UN doesn’t call you.
Institutions like universities and foundations normally submit blind tenders for very specific projects. Applying for UN tenders is the kind of work that the staffs of big-time consulting firms, universities and foundations do to win projects.
Not little old professors like me.
And this is what they chose: This is the online course I led them through over 6-weeks.
The trainees had to make many exercise projects and submit a final project for the group to view.
I was a amazed at the work they did and their final project videos were a joy to watch. Even though we were in 26 countries, we still achieved a private film festival to view all the projects and provide feedback and encouragement.
It was a pleasure to guide them on this storytelling journey.
It is one thing to win the work, and another level of satisfaction to win the validation from the trainees. They all tell me they are already using the training in their work.