Journalist Development

Taboom works to improve media coverage of taboo topics that fuel violence, bigotry and human rights violations.

Our current training, mentoring, editing and publishing programs primarily focus on religion and LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi/Pansexual, Transgender/Gender Non-Conforming, Queer, Intersex, +)/SSOGIE (Sex, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression) rights in Sub-Saharan Africa. As new opportunities emerge, we continue to expand our thematic and geographic foci.

Since 2016, our team has trained more than 150 journalists from more than 30 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa how to better report on religion and SSOGIE issues. Two scoping training weeks in Cape Town helped us identify Zimbabwe, South Africa and Kenya as the most suitable sites for country-specific trainings in 2018/19. Local partners have requested additional workshops in Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria, Malawi and Ghana.

Each engagement includes training and mentoring at least 20 journalists with local partners using our existing resources and curriculum along with newly created country-specific guides. After each training, we edit and publish trainees’ stories to enhance local and international understanding of religion and SSOGIE rights. To ensure sustainability, we mentor trainees for at least one year post-training and assist them in spreading lessons learned throughout their newsrooms and media networks.

Specific training sessions address journalists’ motivations and professional obligations; key concepts and terms around SSOGIE issues and religion; media freedom challenges and opportunities; structural inequalities; story ideas, angles and sources; source safety and sensitivity; and news value and public interest. Trainees also analyze positive and problematic media reporting examples and engage with local faith leaders and SSOGIE activists/community members.

Our panel at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) in Cape Town, South Africa. The November 2017 discussion was part of our second journalism training workshop on covering religion and SSOGIE (sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression) issues in Sub-Saharan Africa.