CNN launches Academy in Abu Dhabi to train the region’s next generation of journalists

The first CNN Academy in the world opens its doors for applications today for journalists of the future to learn about multiplatform storytelling.

Starting in January 2021, the intensive learning programme will offer a full-time five-week course with a combination of online learning sessions and in-person workshops that will take place at CNN at twofour54, the home of Abu Dhabi’s media and entertainment industry.

Over the course of more than ten years since CNN first began broadcasting from Abu Dhabi, now one of its major international hubs, the network has continually expanded its footprint, multilingual content, and programming. In 2020 and beyond, CNN is building on its commitment to foster the growth of quality journalism through educational and training initiatives designed to equip youth across the region with the latest journalism and broadcasting skills.

Led by a team of experienced journalists, content creators and production specialists from around the world, academy participants will learn important industry skills including broadcast engineering, field production, interview techniques, how CNN gathers information, verifies sources and creates content across all platforms.

Becky Anderson, Managing Editor of CNN Abu Dhabi and Anchor of Connect the World will lead some of the curriculum and take the academy into CNN’s state-of-the-art Abu Dhabi bureau at twofour54. Going behind the scenes of the region’s flagship current affairs show, Connect the World with Becky Anderson, students will gain valuable experience about how the programme and its digital content is produced.

The syllabus will also include insights into CNN Arabic and the local media landscape along with digital storytelling, mobile journalism, photography and post-production. By the end of the course, students will have learned a wide range of journalism and production skills and be able to develop a raw story idea into a broadcast-ready short film with accompanying digital and social media content. The best work created by students will be featured on CNN’s broadcast channels.

“Some of CNN’s most memorable and important journalism has taken place here in the Middle East, a region which has continued to grow in importance to our network through Abu Dhabi being one of our major global hubs and with the growth of CNN Arabic. CNN Academy is our latest commitment to the region as we foster the growth of quality journalism and champion local talent in Abu Dhabi, a place we’ve called home for almost 11 years”, said Rani Raad, President of CNN Commercial Worldwide.

Becky Anderson said: “CNN Academy Abu Dhabi marks the latest step in CNN’s continued support of local learning and development and supplements our internship schemes, community work and partnership with the ZHO around People with Determination. With 40 years of newsgathering and over a decade of producing and broadcasting in the Middle East, CNN is able to offer extensive insights into the culture, economics, innovation and global impact that the region has. I’m proud to be involved in encouraging and supporting more upcoming journalists here.”

The twofour54 training hub, which houses its Creative Lab and Image Nation’s Arab Film Studio, will provide facilities and infrastructure including equipment, learning resources, student liaison and outreach along with the graduation ceremony.

Applications for CNN Academy Abu Dhabi are now open to applicants from the UAE and across the region over the age of 21. Entry requirements include a one-minute video demonstrating suitability for the course and a written pitch outlining a story idea for the CNN audience. The closing date to apply is 31st October.