The Russian government controls and censors news outlets and severely restricts  internet usage, leaving independent journalists in the critical position of providing the public with transparent, meaningful information on national and international affairs. 

Further, independent news outlets have been either seized or trampled out of existence following the Snow Revolution, anti-government protests that swept Russia between 2011-2013,  and, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues unabated, state-controlled tv channels inundate viewers with propaganda. 

Given this backdrop, young and aspiring Russian journalists have few opportunities to receive training and mentorship and have limited exposure to internationally accepted professional and ethical journalism practices. 

In response, PEN America, in collaboration with educational platform The Order, developed these compelling training videos, featuring  Philip Gourevitch, Staff Writer at The New Yorker and award-winning writer of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families (among others) and Alexander Kotlowitz, journalist, filmmaker and award-winning author of There Are No Children Here (among others). These virtual workshops offer lessons related to the practice of journalism and crafting impactful nonfiction prose.

Alexander Kotlowitz is an American journalist, author and filmmaker. A former staff writer at The Wall Street Journal, his work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and on This American Life. His four books include An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago, recipient of the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and the national bestseller There Are No Children Here selected by New York Public Library as one of the 150 most important books of the twentieth century. His focus is on telling stories of everyday people that reveal the fissures in the political and social landscape. The Bigness of a Small Story is a training designed to build the skill in telling “small stories” that speak to how society does and doesn’t work, that illuminates how people wield power and how people abuse it.

Watch the full series here.

Philip Gourevitch is a long-time Staff Writer at The New Yorker and former Editor of The Paris Review. His books include We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families and The Ballad of Abu Ghraib; his work has garnered numerous awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, the George Polk Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Award, and in England, The Guardian First Book Award. War Here And Now is a training is designed to for participants to engage in questions around reporting and storytelling around conflict and its aftermath.

Watch the full series here.