Video Journalism at Karam House!

Pamela Kesrouani, a journalism and reporting professor at the American University of Dubai led a week-long Video Journalism workshop for students at Karam House in Reyhanli, Turkey. Students learned how to create short reports using a smartphone.

During the workshop, Pamela taught students how to write a script, how to take different shots, and filming. She challenged students to come up with creative ideas for reports, and showed them the different types of angles when taking pictures.

Pamela provided smart phones for students who did not own one, and provided them with free applications to use for video editing, trimming, camera effects, and voice overs.


In the beginning, Pamela said she did not know what to expect since it was her first time at Karam House.

“I felt happy and proud of what those young girls and boys achieved in such a short time. I also felt how much the students are eager to learn and discover new skills and horizons which was reflected by their interest in the workshop, their questions and their work. This enthusiasm gave me a sense of achievement and that I manage to make a change (no matter how small it was) in their lives even though we didn't have time to go deeper in many aspects of the workshop.”

The students paired up in groups of two and brainstormed ideas for video reports, then filmed, edited, and presented their final project.

A pair of students filmed a short report on holistic healing, where they interviewed the only naturopathic physician in Reyhanli.   

Another group of students created a short video on the Musical Interventions workshop at Karam House. They filmed the students creating sound installations for the new playground Karam will build in Reyhanli.

Many of the students had previously attended journalism workshops with Hala Droubi, a former journalist with the New York Times, and the lead journalism mentor at Karam Foundation. Those who attended had a more basic understanding  of news writing, while Pamela focused more on shooting, angles, voice over, and over all production.

“Having students who didn't attend the first journalism basics workshop made it a bit harder as many didn't know the basics so we could focus on mobile journalism more but I manage to adapt the workshop so they could learn the maximum,” she mentioned.

Pamela explained that she was surprised by the student’s enthusiasm and determination to learn something new and make the effort to attend everyday of the week regardless of exams and school preparations

17-year-old Kifah had attended a journalism workshop the year before. She explained that there is a difference in the workshop she attended before, in which she learned the media ethics in journalism and news writing, while this workshop taught her how to create a video report using her phone.

“I’m very passionate about journalism and that’s why I made sure to attend both workshops. It brought me to the realization that I don’t want to choose it as a career path but as a hobby" she said.

“In ninth grade I was sure that I wanted to become a journalist, but I was shocked by the reality that there is no such thing as press freedom. I realized this after keeping up with the news coverage on Syria, that the truth is not always spoken of. Journalists should be held accountable to speak the truth, but channels control what they say according to their agenda. Hopefully I’ll study engineering,” she said.

Kifah and her partner filmed a report on Intensive Training courses designed for students who have missed years from schooling, so they can jump right back into their year, and also a report on the naturopathic physician.

“I learned many things from the workshop. It’s the first time i learned that you can use your phone to film a documentary, which is pretty cool since many people interested in this field cannot afford cameras. I can now practice freedom journalism, using my phone to film reports on matters I believe are important.”

"We all use the camera on our phone on a daily basis, but Pamela taught us how how to use the camera in very cool ways I didn't know before,” she added.

Pamela reflected on her experience as a Karam House mentor:

“The whole week was a memorable experience because it showed how much those kids who suffered a lot, who live in a city where options are limited, who have so little, can teach you a lot about resilience, the love of life and the willingness to look forward and embrace every new chance to make their lives better,” she added.