FIU SJMC Faculty Coach Diplomats in Federal Foreign Policy Training Workshop


From January 6th to 8th, 2016, the FIU School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC)‘s Professor Teresa Ponte (Chair of the Department of Journalism and Broadcasting), Professor Lilliam Martinez-Bustos, and Professor Leonardo Ferreira participated in the second Spanish-Speaking Spokespeople Training Workshop with the US Department of State.

The workshop took place in North Miami Beach and at the FIU SJMC studios. Eight spokespersons from the US embassies in Bolivia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Nicaragua participated in this workshop, as well as officers of the State Department and USAID in Washington, D.C. Also in attendance was the Media Hub of the Americas, which is a forward-deployed press operation for Latin America. The Media Hub of the Americas has collaborated in the past with FIU’s Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center.

sjmcarticleimageThis was the second version of the Spanish-Speaking Spokespeople Training Workshop in which FIU SJMC has participated. The first version took place in May 2015, and, because of its success, was brought back this year by the US Department of State.

The workshop involved training on elements of both foreign policy and public affairs such as on-camera presence, delivering an effective soundbite, and responding to press questions. These elements were emphasized in regards to four types of interviews: studio, stand-up, down-the-line (satellite), and Skype.

Justen Thomas, Director of the Media Hub of the Americas, encapsulated the purpose of the workshop in one statement, “How do you take something in English and turn it into a message that’s convincing for a Spanish-speaking audience?”

All participants of the workshop were US diplomats who work in either Washington, D.C. or overseas. “This workshop trained them to feel better on camera,” said Thomas.

“We were very excited about this second version [of the workshop],” said FIU SJMC Professor Leonardo Ferreira, “because of its importance to FIU SJMC, especially our Spanish language programs in journalism and our future professional and research media activities across Latin America and the Caribbean. We look forward to more and equally splendid workshops.”

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