BIRN Holds Training on Data Journalism, Digital Security, in Georgia

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As part of the project exploring foreign influences in the Balkans, South Caucasus and Central Asia, Balkan Investigative Regional Reporting Network and its partners organized a workshop in Tbilisi, Georgia, to boost skills and foster networking among participants from the three regions.

A three-day training on storytelling, digital security and data journalism took place in the Georgian capital on February 21-23, gathering around 20 journalists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Georgia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The workshop is part of the project “Spheres of Influence Uncovered, jointly implemented by BIRN, German NGO n-ost, Uzbek’s Anhor and Georgian JAMNews media outlets.

The workshop aimed at equipping participants with journalistic knowledge and skills needed not only for the sake of the project – during which they will map foreign influences and produce country-based and cross-border stories – but in their everyday work as well.

During the storytelling training, held by the managing editor of BIRN’s Balkan Insight, Dusica Tomovic, participants learned about what makes a good story, what are major reporting phases and the importance of knowing your audience.

BIRN journalist and digital security trainer Milica Stojanovic walked the participants through security of communication, types of danger, encryption and useful apps. Aleksandra Shalibashvili, a researcher and a project coordination at Tbilisi-based ForSet, an enterprise strengthening change-makers is use of data, design, and technology, talked about using data in an effective manner, must-have data tools as well as data visualization.

Apart from the official training sessions, participants spent time sharing experiences and spotting similarities between their three regions in relation to China, Russia, the EU and other actors. Part of the workshop was also a guided walking tour around Tbilisi, focusing on the various influences on Georgia over time, as well as on the current foreign direct investments and foreign economic activities in the South Caucasus country.

The project “Spheres of Influence Uncovered” aims to contribute to a better understanding of the roles that three key international players – the EU, Russia and China – have on the seven project countries’ economies. In the course of this, participating journalists will map economic activities among these three players and identify the main challenges and consequences for their countries. This project is partly a follow-up on BIRN’s previous work in the sphere of foreign economic activities, explored in the interactive map China in the Balkans.

In the coming months, more skills-building activities will take place in the Balkans and Central Asia, while the first country-based and cross-border long reads are to be published soon.