IJF Program Philosophy


The Independent Journalism Foundation (IJF) is a not-for-profit organization, in operation in Eastern Europe since 1991 and in Southeast Asia since 2001.  IJF is committed to promoting the development of high professional standards and skills for journalists. IJF works with practicing journalists to develop specific editorial skills – research, writing, editing, photography and design, to use modern technology effectively – digital cameras, design software and on-line publishing, and to use marketing, advertising and distribution to better serve their audiences. 


The basic premise is that for journalism to serve society, it must be both credible and accessible. Readers, viewers and listener must believe that the information presented is accurate and honest. But it is also the duty of the journalist to present even important stories in an interesting or entertaining way because a story is of little social value if no one pays attention to it.  IJF has no political agenda, and only seeks to provide journalists with the tools they need to make their stories credible and interesting.


In its 13 years of existence, the IJF has developed systematic training for working journalists in practical journalism and effective business practices, creating a model for others seeking to do media training. The focus of that model has been to teach fact-based reporting and research methods essential to raising standards of journalism in developing and transitional economies


In order to insure that its training is relevant to local conditions and needs, IJF programs are developed through an active exchange of ideas and resources with the Foundation, the local media community and course participants.  Consultation with local media and community leaders helps IJF to teach skills which are appropriate for the conditions in each country and therefore contribute to long term sustainability of responsible media outlets. Veteran journalists and media business managers from all over the world form the faculty of the Centers. All of the courses taught follow the principles practiced by responsible journalists worldwide.


The founders of the Independent Journalism Foundation -- James Greenfield, former foreign editor of the New York Times, and Donald Wilson, former correspondent and vice president of communications for Time Inc. -- were motivated primarily by their desire to pass along the lessons they learned in their distinguished careers. This is also the reason top-level media experts donate their time to these programs. Most journalists learn through their experiences and through the guidance of older colleagues, and working as an IJF trainer offers veteran journalists an opportunity to repay their debt to the people who taught them. But the eventual goal is to identify local journalists who can become trainers and to give them the teaching skills and materials they will need to help their colleagues attain higher levels of professionalism.


IJF Accomplishments in Eastern Europe

 IJF maintains permanent training centers in Budapest and Bucharest. Among its many accomplishments in that region, IJF has:


                    Introduced systematic training for working journalists in practical journalism and effective business practices, creating a model for others seeking to do media training

                    Taught fact-based reporting and research essential to raising standards of journalism in developing economies

                    Taught Eastern Europe’s first courses in how to use the Internet for news gathering

                    Published the first journalism review in the region

                    Instituted forums for journalists, government officials and experts to engage in public policy debate, both on the record and off

                    Helped struggling media enterprises by bringing in experts on modern business skills and practices

                    Offered summer journalism workshops and year-long training for secondary school students both in our countries and around the world

                    Assisted universities in developing journalism curricula that reflect actual practices, not just theory:

o       Developed and implemented a master’s degree curriculum for graduates of other disciplines in journalism skills; the curriculum has been replicated at several institutions

o       Trained young professors in skills based teaching techniques and facilitated their integration into regular university programs

o       Trained university economics graduates to become business journalists

o       Created a third year skills based curriculum for university students

                    Produced A Media Relations Handbook for NGOs which has been translated into many languages



IJF in Vietnam


IJF has conducted numerous workshops in Vietnam in 2003 and 2004 as guests of such organizations as Vietnam News Agency, Vietnam Investment Review, the Saigon Times Group and Vietnam Economic News.  The success of these efforts are supported by the fact that all of those organizations – and others – has asked IJF to provide additional training this year and next.

In Vietnam IJF has primarily offered two-week workshops on topics such as Basic Reporting (including field reporting, interviewing techniques, writing hard news, feature and human interest stories), Business Journalism, Health and Environmental Reporting, Photography, and Design. In addition to the workshops, IJF offers one-on-one consultation to media organizations to improve media management skills, marketing and distribution techniques, and effective advertising. All of IJF’s services are provided for free, though the host organization provides meeting facilities and translation services.

 IJF Accomplishments in Vietnam

Even before the first workshop in Vietnam in 2003, the IJF had already provided three-month, intensive journalism training courses over the past four years for over 80 young Vietnamese journalists at facilities provided by the Royal University of Phnom Penh. And in the past year, the IJF has already: 

                    Conducted two-week journalism workshops at the Vietnam News Agency for more than thirty mid-level and senior staff, including a course on training trainers attended by directors of the Foreign, Business and World News Services Departments

                    Cooperated with the Training Department of the Vietnam News Agency to develop training materials in Vietnamese which can be used throughout the country

                    Provided business consulting services for VNA magazines as well as for publications like Vietnam Economic News and Vietnam Investment Review

                    Provided graphic design consulting services for VNA magazines as well as for publications like Vietnam Economic News and Vietnam Investment Review



IJF Plans in Vietnam


Initially IJF will rely on visiting experts to provide services to the media outlets and to conduct appropriate needs assessments with the heads of those organizations.  It will hire a local representative to handle day to day operations and to maintain close contacts with Vietnamese partner organizations until such time as a permanent presence is warranted. The goal will be to conduct training sessions for Vietnamese media organizations that can demonstrate a need for such assistance and an ability to make long-term use of it.


The Vietnam News Agency will continue to be our key partner, while we also offer programs to other organizations as well.  During the final months of 2004, IJF will offer two workshops in Basic Reporting to VNA, one in Hanoi and one in Saigon.  In addition, IJF will offer courses in specialty reporting in the areas of Health Reporting and Environmental Reporting.  In 2005, IJF will offer additional editorial workshops, exact content to be determined after consultation with VNA and others.  It will offer a workshop and consultation to VNA on editorial design and will offer assistance to business managers of various publications.


During 2004, IJF expects to have spent approximately $ 60,000 for programs in Vietnam.  For 2005, IJF has approximately $175,000 earmarked for work in Vietnam.  IJF depends on grants for its work and invests a good deal of effort into finding support for its activities.  If our current fund raising efforts are successful, the total available for programs in Vietnam could be substantially higher.


IJF Funding


IJF receives no funding from the United States Government. It is tax exempt under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Support for IJF programs comes from a variety of individuals and organizations which share our goals.  As our name implies, these contributions allow us to be independent. These include:


                    The Freeman Foundation

                    The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

                    The Open Society Development Fund

                    The Mollie Parnis Livingston Foundation

                    Dr. William Scheide

                    Donald M. Wilson

                    James L. Greenfield and Ene Riisna Greenfield

                    The Correspondents Fund

                    Mr. and Mrs. D.Euan Baird

*           Mr. and Mrs. Alex S. Ward



IJF Organization




James L. Greenfield retired as a member of The New York Times' editorial board. Formerly, he was editor of the paper's Sunday Magazine and assistant managing editor and foreign editor. In 1972, he was the editor in charge of the Pentagon Papers for which The Times won a Pulitzer Prize.


Donald M. Wilson is publisher of Business News New Jersey, a biweekly newspaper he  co-founded. He retired from Time Inc. as corporate vice president-public affairs. He was a  Life correspondent for twelve years.


Nancy Ward is responsible for IJF's management of the Centers. She has a background in international research and has extensive experience with non-profit groups.


Barabara Crossette and Richard Hornik coordinate IJF’s activities in Southeast Asia. Ms. Crossette was a correspondent and editor for the New York Times for 30 years. Mr. Hornik was a correspondent and editor for Time Magazine for 24 years. Both have extensive experience in Southeast Asia


IJF headquarters are located at 875 West End Avenue, Apartment 8A, New York, New York 10025-4953. Telephone: 212 865-0431  fax: 212 864-7201  e-mail: nnw@ijf-cij.org.