Off-The-Record Interviews Give The Right Answer

Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division in the Department of Public Information at the United Nations

Before this month-long training in New York City I had never taken the United Nations and its activities into consideration in my work. I did not really know what the UN was doing in the Palestinian Territories, or how they were addressing the Palestinian issue on the international level. These past few weeks I have learned about the past and current efforts of the UN in Palestine. I have been able to interview officials openly, although many of their answers have been off-the-record.

For me, the unofficial interviews provided the most information. I might not be able to quote my interview subjects, but I learned not only about what these officials really thought, but also about the limits and redlines at the UN. I learned a lot about how the UN really works. According to Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division in the Department of Public Information at the UN, this is one of the main goals of the training– to show Palestinian journalists the roles and functions of the UN and it’s various agencies.

Mr. Nasser pointed out the far reaching possibilities of a training programme specifically for journalists, saying “If you just bring 15 people, then you are only reaching these 15 people…if you bring 15 journalists– they are reaching a much much larger segment.”
Even off-the-record, we have learned many things that will add to the stories we report.

*Why don’t people in Palestine know more about the UN and its work there? How else can the UN publicize its programmes?

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