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CNN Academy Abu Dhabi Celebrates Inaugural Graduation

The first participants of the CNN Academy Abu Dhabi have completed the course in multiplatform storytelling and gained valuable new skills to help them in their careers. 

The programme kicked off with an intensive virtual training bootcamp including over 50 hours of live seminars from CNN staff around the world and 12 hours of on-demand classes via the custom-built CNN Academy Hub. Students had unique access to learn from and discuss with journalists and production experts across the CNN team who they pitched ideas to, participated in practical assignments, received feedback, and experienced a real-life look into how a newsroom operates. They gained the skills to devise, research, write, produce, film and edit a multiplatform story.

The bootcamp culminated in a live pitch session where each participant presented a story treatment for a panel of CNN journalists to approve. Participants then had the opportunity to shoot and edit their stories with the support of professional photojournalists provided by CNN. These stories ranged from an athlete preparing for the Olympic Games to preserving Emirati falconry traditions, and how small businesses across the UAE are dealing with the impact of the pandemic. 

Rani Raad, President of CNN Commercial Worldwide, said: “I take great pride in what we’ve achieved with the CNN Academy Abu Dhabi.  We’ve worked with twofour54 for over 11 years and built an important international hub for CNN in the region.  The CNN Academy Abu Dhabi is the greatest element of our partnership to date.  It has allowed us to share best in class editorial experience and practical advice to support and empower up and coming journalists, and journalism, in the region and beyond. To the students who have participated and built their skills in multiplatform storytelling, well done and I wish you all the best.”

Becky Anderson, Managing Editor of CNN Abu Dhabi and Anchor of Connect the World, who played a key part in the CNN Academy Abu Dhabi learning experience, said: “The first CNN Academy Abu Dhabi has been a huge success. I was really impressed by the group’s enthusiasm and passion throughout the course and how they applied their learning to produce some great pieces of work. The industry will benefit from the terrific young talent in the region. I’m extremely proud of CNN Academy Abu Dhabi and look forward to following lots of successful careers.”  

twofour54 Abu Dhabi contributed to the course including live seminars focusing on the Abu Dhabi media landscape, student liaison and learning resources to support the delivery of the programme.

Michael Garin, CEO of twofour54 Abu Dhabi, said: “The CNN Academy is opening the door for the next generation of journalistic voices from and for our region. Its first cycle is an important addition to twofour54’s slate of training and development initiatives, which are designed to inspire and nurture a community of world-class creative professionals. I would like to congratulate all the participants on their dedication, ambition and hard work, and look forward to following their future careers in this dynamic industry.”

Previews of the students’ work were showcased during in a virtual graduation ceremony last night.

All the content created by the students has been published on the CNN Academy page where you can also watch a recording of the graduation ceremony.

The next CNN Academy Abu Dhabi will take place in 2022. See for details later this year. 

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