Reuters Foundation (www.foundation.reuters.com), the training, education and humanitarian trust owned by Reuters the global news and information group, brought 22 journalists from around the world to meet face-to-face with renowned health experts in a five-day workshop from November 7th to 11th, held in New York. The workshop examined reporting challenges and a range of global HIV/AIDS issues. This was the third workshop of its kind; previous ones were held in South Africa (2003) and Brazil last year.
The journalists, who came mostly from developing countries in all the continents, write on development issues, health and HIV/AIDS. The distinguished speakers included Dr Seth Berkley, founder and CEO of the International Aids Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), Prof Jeffrey Sachs, the leading development economist and Director of the Millennium Project, Dr Wafaa El-Sadr, Director of the International Centre for AIDS Care and Treatment Programmes at Columbia University and Zackie Achmat, the HIV-positive campaigner from South Africa.
The workshop provided time for participating journalists to interact with each other and exchange information about the rapidly spreading infection within their own regions. Many journalists made presentations on the HIV/AIDS scenario in their countries and made comparisons with the situation in other countries. Every interaction with a guest speaker boiled down to reporting exercises and a newsroom situation. Possible story ideas were discussed and reports were written every day. The participants also wrote an editorial on US watchdog, Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), which is currently debating allowing a home-testing kit that will allow people to test themselves for an HIV infection.
A highlight of the workshop was a high-powered panel discussion on the theme 'Combating HIV/AIDS