Course Syllabus: Reporting on Labor Migration


COURSE PREREQUISITES: Journalism Practices and Principles; News Reporting and Writing

The course will inform and educate journalism students on labor migration, help them generate story ideas, and enable them to report and write/produce news stories that uphold professional and ethical standards of journalism. It will introduce students to international instruments and national laws for the protection of labor migrants and familiarize them with guidelines on labor migration reporting.

At the end of the course, the student will be able to:

  1. Report and write/produce news stories accurately, adequately and with fairness on migrant workers and their rights, as protected by international instruments and national laws
  2. Give voice to the stories and perspectives of migrant workers and their families
  3. Apply professional and ethical journalism principles in reporting and writing/producing news stories on labor migration
  4. Employ knowledge and skills in reporting that contributes to informed debate on labor migration, at a local, national or global level


The course will use a combination of lecture-discussions, guest lectures by migration journalists and migration experts, video presentations, individual writing exercises, group exercises, and field work with course-relevant outputs. Digital and online activities may be added for blended teaching-learning, including consultations. The teacher will act as facilitator and collaborator of an interactive and participatory teaching-learning process.

For completely remote teaching-learning, if the situation so warrants, a learning management system (LMS) will have to be provided by the school. The LMS will be used to host course materials, share supplementary resources, communicate formally with students, and receive student assignments. Synchronous and asynchronous sessions will be held.


Introduction: Role and responsibilities of media in reporting on labor migration issues

a. Give adequate media coverage since labor migration is a relevant social phenomenon

b. Recognize that reporting on migration presents difficulties in sourcing information

c. Expose the truth about migrants without causing unnecessary harm to them

d. Strike a balance of perspectives, between those of migrants and those of local communities or countries of destination

e. Avoid sensationalism, stereotyping, generalizations, underreporting

f. Observe fundamental principles of journalism, including seeking the truth, acting independently, avoiding harm, pursuing transparency and engaging the community

ILO toolkit on forced labour and fair recruitment – Introduction

General overview of labor migration

a. General overview of labor migration a. Facts, figures and trends of labor migration

b. Key definitions and basic concepts related to labor migration, including definition of “decent work”

c. Opportunities and challenges of labor migration

d. The recruitment process

e. Other forms of contemporary migration (e.g., forced migration, irregular migration, climate change induced migration), including human trafficking

ILO Global Estimates on International Migrant Workers – Results and Methodology–en/index.htm

Panos Europe Institute and UNAOC (2014), Media-Friendly Glossary on Migration.–en/index.htm

General principles and operational guidelines for fair recruitment and definition of recruitment fees and related costs–en/index.htm


Rights-based approach to labor migration

a. The international legal framework

b. The national legal framework

c. Most common violations

Timeline of International Labour instruments

National legal framework/policies


The economics of migration

a. The economic agents of labor migration: migrants, employers, recruiters, intermediaries

b. The economic impact of labor migration: remittances, migration and development

c. A sectoral approach to labor migration, overview of the main activities related to labor migration: construction, fishing, domestic work, agriculture, etc

Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development


Labor migration and society

a. Labor migration in culture and the art

b. Social and political impact of migration


Introduction to labor migration reporting

a. Identifying good and bad practices in current labor migration reporting

b. Ethical journalism and recommendations from the field

ILO (2018). Fair Perspective: Stories of Filipino Migrant Workers in the Media.

5 principles of ethical journalism

Finding a story on labor migration

a. Getting prepared

b. Do’s and don’ts in doing research

c. Story ideas

ILO toolkit on forced labour and fair recruitment – Finding the story

Getting the story

a. Working with sources of information (survivors, stakeholders, abusers)

b. Resources: documents and statistics

c. Safety and security

d. Reporting on sensitive issues: forced labor, child labor and human trafficking

ILO toolkit on forced labour and fair recruitment – Getting the story

DART center for journalism and trauma

IFJ Safety mission

Visual journalism

a. Photography in labor migration

b. Videography in labor migration

c. Other graphical tools, e.g., typography, illustrations, cartoons, maps, infographics

Telling the story

a. Choosing your medium/platform

b. Writing/producing your story

c. Editing your work

d. Collaborating with others covering the same beat

ILO toolkit on forced labour and fair recruitment – Telling the story


a. Course synthesis

b. Submission of Final Course Outputs and Course Assessment