BIRN Celebrates Media4All’s Success at Project’s Final Conference in Tirana

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BIRN celebrated the success of the project Media4All during the regional training conference “Independent Journalism Matters” held in Tirana from 9-10 March.

The conference gathered journalists and young people interested to become journalists, media workers and organisations from the Western Balkans involved within the project’s activities to talk about new trends in journalism, fact-checking and the importance of support and cooperation in journalism.

Representatives from BIRN involved in the project participated in the conference and shared success stories from its implementation in the past six months.

Together with representatives from the local media outlets supported for engaging in citizens reporting and for using the ECR tool developed by BIRN, they highlighted the importance of mentorship and support provided for local media for the production of quality fact-checked news. The need for continuous capacity building as an approach to countering disinformation was also highlighted.

“The ECR tool has helped us be closer to our audience. It supported us in establishing a sustainable two-way communication street with our audience.” Geri Emiri from Amfora, an ECR grantee from Albania, said.

Eleven mentors/editors from BIRN supported 28 local media outlets and enhanced the local journalists` skills in engagement journalism and raised their editorial standards, with a focus on storytelling, data analysis, verification and fact-checking, contributing to the fight against misinformation and disinformation.

Journalists from 46 media outlets included in the project were given training in fact-checking skills intended to combat misinformation and boost independent reporting.

“BIRN`s editors/ mentors provided comprehensive support for local media outlets for engaging citizens in their reporting, thus enabling direct communication with them and production of quality content. Through BIRN’s developed ECR tool, during the past six months, over 1,000 citizens from all Western Balkan countries were involved in the work of 28 local media outlets proposing topics of their interest and local importance that were further investigated and fact-checked by the local media outlets. Support for countering disinformation and misinformation and fact-checking was also provided through a set of training activities organised by BIRN,” Milka Domanovic, BIRN Network Regional Director, said.

The Conference agenda included discussions and presentations about gender and youth and discources on Digital Dis/Misinformation, Understanding Meta Algorithms and TikTok Distribution, Core Values as a Compass for Media Professionals, Gender Disinformation and other issues.

Key successes on using social media and engaging with audiences and relevance of the content were shared. Speakers also presented tips and tricks on why journalists should use TikTok, the strategy and context on TikTok, profiling the audience and the power of journalists’ creativity on TikTok and the importance of your community.

The Media for All project is being implemented in six countries in the region: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. BIRN is working in partnership with the British Council, Thomson Foundation and Intrac on the project, which is funded by the UK government, with special attention to engaging the public in reporting and fighting fake news.