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18 students, most of them high-school age. It’s a 3-month training course at kloop.kg, and I kicked it off as the trainer for the first 5 days. My posse of translators (assistants, co-teachers, jokesters, coaches) were AUCA journalism students: Batyr, Elina and Masha. We talked in English, Kyrgyz and Russian about the who, what, when, where, why. And how. We talked about what it takes to be a journalist, what journalists do, what makes a story.

Today was Day 5: distributing press badges, rewriting Little Red Riding Hood into a news story (Hunter Saves Girl and Grandmother; Kills Wolf), breaking into story teams and going after the story topics they chose–homelessness, Bishkek’s construction boom, a look at how the city maintains its parks, safety issues for roadside food vendors, bicycle vs. car transport, a move afoot to ban cars with steering wheels on the right-hand side.

Why did I come to Kyrgyzstan? For this. For the everything of this.

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“In summary I can conclude that foreign media usually cover issues about Kyrgyzstan in negative side. And it is still unclear why external journalists, especially from USA try to cause cordial dislike by their coverage. But, of course political reason is the most exact and important in this problem.”

~ from a student paper about external media in Kyrgyzstan