Around 30 BIRN reporters and editors from across the region participated in the intensive, practical training course in Belgrade from December 3-6, which was aimed at giving them the knowledge and skills to enhance Balkan Insight’s multimedia coverage and improve its ability to report news and communicate with audiences in the digital era.
Murray Dick of Newcastle University led training in writing for the web, focusing on best practices in producing stories for online audiences.
Dick explained the principles and practice of search engine optimisation for news, explored online analytics and search metrics, and looked at techniques to help Balkan Insight increase its online readership and audience engagement.
He also introduced the reporters and editors to online interactive resources and methods of communicating data within stories, such as the use of infographics.
Alen Mlatisuma of Voice of America then led two days of training in video reporting techniques using smartphones.
The training covered the use of software and gadgets for video filming and editing with smartphones, and highlighted best practices for shooting news reports.
This was followed by a hands-on exercise in visual story planning, practical advice for shooting high-quality video reports and editing the finished product.
“In addition to raising the skills of our journalists, we hope that the most important benefit of this training will be a wider audience reach,” said Balkan Insight’s editor-in-chief, Gordana Andric.
“Considering the poor media environment in many of the countries in which we work, and the fact that mainstream media are mainly closed to independent and especially investigative reporting, we must find ways to bypass these obstacles, reach readers and provide information,” Andric added.
“Amidst a cacophony of news, fabricated scandals and propaganda, we need to attract their attention in innovative ways and enhance our methods of communicating important stories,” she said.